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Coast Guard Ships Pennant Shadowbox

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Project by Tim_CPWD posted 01-02-2015 02:32 AM 889 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ships pennant display commissioned for the Commanding Officer of USCGC Boutwell. This was presented at his retirement. Made with cherry, red mahogany stain and finished with clear lacquer.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca. http://www.facebook.com/commandperformancewooddesigns





4 comments so far

View ChadRat6458's profile

ChadRat6458

78 posts in 818 days


#1 posted 01-02-2015 04:21 PM

Great looking shadow box. I am in the planning stages to build a few. We have some cub scouts that are about to cross over to boy scouts. We want to put their cub scout stuff in the box. I want to use acrylic for the front. I have some questions about the back. What did you use for the back? How did you cover it? How do you attach the back to the frame? How do you attach the stuff to the back? I want to use curly maple with mahogany splines.

View Tim_CPWD 's profile

Tim_CPWD

306 posts in 709 days


#2 posted 01-02-2015 06:37 PM

I use either 1/4” or 1/2” plywood for the back. The 1/4” stuff is oak or cherry depending on the material used on the shadowbox and the 1/2” is a good shop grade ply that stains up nicely. I finish the back of my shadowboxes as nice as the front. Same stain and lacquer finish. People notice the attention to detail and appreciate it.
For the inside of the back we use velvet. You can use other less expensive things like, crushed velvet, velveteen or felt but we use velvet. You can get any of these at Joanns Fabric. (download a coupon to save $$) If you are looking to keep the price down I would recommend either crushed velvet or velveteen. Velvet looks the best but costs the most. Felt works but it fades over time and if you need to pre-drill for any items you are installing it wraps on the drill bit and is a pain to work with. My wife does all our installation work for the shadowboxes and she hates using felt. To Attach the material to the back you can use 3M Super 77 spray glue. You can get it at Home Depot ($10 a can) and it works great.
Attaching the back to the frame is easy. Simply rabbit the sides slightly deeper than the depth of the material you are using for the back. In other words 1/4+” deep for 1/4” material and 1/2+” deep for 1/2” material. The + is to account for the fabric you will put on the back. This way everything is flush when you are done. Then cut your back to fit inside the rabbit after the frame is together. I usually make the rabbit 1/2” wide so I have some meat to screw into. It should look like this:

Once you get the back cut to the right size pre-drill, countersink and screw the back into the frame so it looks like this (only with all the screws in:):

Be sure to mark your back so you know the orientation of the back to the box when you install the finished product. This way your holes will line up.

Attaching the items to the back is one of those… it depends questions. Many of the things we put in our customers shadowboxes have pins already on them so we pre-drill and use the pins as nails. Word of caution here, if some of your items have pins you may want to go with a thicker back (1/2”) or else the pins will go through. The other option is to trim the pins shorter before installing the item. For other items there are a number of ways to secure them, hot glue, sewing pins trimmed to use as tiny nails, small nails. I don’t recommend super glue, the fabric will absorb it and that looks bad. Unless you have done install before you may not have an appreciation for the effort it takes to do it and make it look good. Sounds like you are going to experience it first hand:) The Eagle Scout shadowbox project I posted was a painstaking install for my wife but I think she did an awesome job. There were many methods of securing items in that one.

As far as using plexiglass, know that it scratches easy and can get foggy/hazy over time. However it is easy to cut on a table saw with a fine blade and it doesn’t break like glass. Don’t be afraid to try cutting your own glass. You can buy sheets of any size at a glass shop and cut it to size. I usually keep a stock on hand and cut my own. If you are only cutting a few you can buy a glass cutter at Home Depot for a few bucks. Just a thought.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Hope this is helpful.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca. http://www.facebook.com/commandperformancewooddesigns

View ChadRat6458's profile

ChadRat6458

78 posts in 818 days


#3 posted 01-02-2015 07:01 PM

Great Eagle scout box. I hope to make one for my Eagle scout. Thank you for answering all of my questions. How do you keep the glass in?

View Tim_CPWD 's profile

Tim_CPWD

306 posts in 709 days


#4 posted 01-02-2015 10:32 PM

As part of the milling process I cut glass groves about 3/8” in from the front edge. This is made by setting the table saw blade 1/4” high and making one pass over the blade at the desired location. Do this with all 4 pieces before making any other cuts to ensure the cuts are in exactly the same place on all 4 pieces. This way the glass grove will line up. I am not sure how you intend to make yours but the ones I do have mitered corners.

Here is a process that may save you some time and provide guidance:
1. Figure out how long and wide a piece would have to be to make one complete box. Add several inches onto the length to account for cross cutting and mitering.
2.Cut the piece to the desired length/width.
3. Sand both sides of the board
4. Cut the rabbit
5. Cut the glass groove
6. Route the front top edge for appearance
7. Cut the sides to size with 45 degree miters (It is critical that all 4 sides are cut at exactly the same length) Rule of Thumb when using 3/4” material - “The inside dimension of a mitered box will be 1 1/2” shorter than the outside”. Example: if you need the inside dimension to be 10” x 10” cut the over all length of your mitered sides 11 1/2” long
8. Build (Glue/ Pin nail etc…)3 sides setting the forth aside for later
Note: Wipe off any excess glue at the joint with a wet paper towel. Dried glue will not take stain and will leave ugly spots in the finish where the glue is.
9. Cut and fit your glass/Plexiglass
10. Take the 4th side and dry fit it in place. Use masking tape to hold it.
11. Cut the back and install as previously described. (Don’t forget to mark it for screw hole alignment later)
12. Remove the back
13. Remove the tape and take the 4th side off
14. Remove the glass/plexiglass
15. Apply wood fill at the miter joints as necessary
16. Finish sand inside and outside (be careful not to round the mitered corners
17. Apply finish

Assembly:
1. Install glass/plexiglass
2. Glue 4th side in place. Masking tape works well as a temp clamp. Be sure to wipe off excess glue prior to applying tape. Note; If you have gaps in the outside mitered corners you can get wax type pencils at Home Depot that act as wood fill on finished products.
3. Install Fabric on back using spray glue
4. Install memorabilia
5. Install back ( prior to putting the screws in check to be sure glass/plexiglass is clean, and that all lint/dust is out of the box and off the material on the inside.
6. Pat self on back for a job well done. :)

I am sure there are many other ways to make this same box but I have used this method countless times and it works for me. I hope this is helpful for you. Feel free to ask more questions. Glad to help anytime.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca. http://www.facebook.com/commandperformancewooddesigns

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