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Project by maplerock posted 03-01-2015 07:26 PM 2241 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With very little thanks to me, this big old box came out pretty awesome. I made more than my usual amount of mistakes, but was able to disguise or overcome most of them. I won’t remember them all, but I’ll outline a few of my bigger ones.

The box is 18” x 10” x 10 1/2”. It has a big tray and a top cut from the same board. It is made of a unique piece of boxelder. The splines are walnut. It is heavy and the lid is heavy too, so I used two chains instead of the usual one. The hinge is cut from a 48” piano type hinge sold by Rockler.

As some of you know, hinges are my Achilles heel. I cut the channel too deep, or not deep enough. Hinges just give me fits. I feel like I’m getting better, (I should, this is my 99th box) but this one help showing a gap in the front. I formulated a whole basketful of ways to fix it, and settled on a shim under the bottom hinge. It worked! If you look hard you can see it, but I discourage hard looks at my projects.

This board had bark patches that run all the way through. It looks cool inside and out. If you like perfect, smooth wood you wouldn’t like this one. It is smooth, but there are lots of the bark patches and some have holes all the way through.

When making a box this big, there were several unexpected issues. Putting splines in was particularly tough. The box sat too tall for me to see over it when lining up the marks, and I had to stand on a chair to push it through the table saw. I don’t recommend that. Then when pushing the tray through to cut the first spline, it wobbled… cutting a hole twice as big as intended. Now all the splines on the tray are extra big to match the first. It looks great though.

The splines on the box are OK, but I reversed the box in my confusion balancing myself on the chair, and got it reversed on one spline, resulting in an uneven spacing. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

The box and tray have fine pigskin suede bottoms. It feels great and looks great. That’s thanks to my wife. She also finished the boxes after I get them built and sanded. She uses a coat or two of Minwax Tung Oil and three or four coats of Minwax wipe on poly… usually satin.

The box has a pretty pink streak running through it. If I sold this box I’d ask probably $400 for it. I think I’ll keep it though. It’s a neat conversation piece that dwarfs my other boxes. Here’s a shot with a soda can to illustrate the size.

Hope you guys like it. As always your critiques and suggestions are welcome!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

17 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8734 posts in 3081 days

#1 posted 03-01-2015 07:32 PM


Looks good. Murphy helps you too. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View sedcokid's profile


2735 posts in 3837 days

#2 posted 03-01-2015 07:38 PM

Very nice box, will hold lots of stuff!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View robscastle's profile


5632 posts in 2443 days

#3 posted 03-01-2015 09:32 PM

I must say it is a very attractive Box, sexy well its a perception I guess.
I think my wife is sexy, possibly the only one that does so maybe that is where the impression comes from.

Hinges, well they are the most concerning part of any woodworkers skills regardless of their experience.

They can sink a project quick smart with very little effort.

Splines I would have said nothing about them as I had to go examining your work closely to find what you were refering to.

Brilliant work !

-- Regards Rob

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3547 days

#4 posted 03-01-2015 10:26 PM

Lookin’ good’ Jerry. You did great and that wood is very unique. I like the bark that goes throughout the wood. That is not something you see every day.

View leafherder's profile


1636 posts in 2191 days

#5 posted 03-01-2015 11:41 PM

When you said you made a lot of mistakes on this one, I was afraid you were going to say the pink streaks were blood. Glad that is not the case. For future reference, they are not “mistakes” they are “artistic interpretations”- then you can charge $500.

Great job, a real treasure of a chest.

-- Leafherder

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3343 days

#6 posted 03-01-2015 11:41 PM

You did a great job with that piece of wood. You didn’t make all of my normal mistakes, but you seemed to have covered them well!! Standing on a chair to use the table saw? That is a new one.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 03-01-2015 11:45 PM

A manly box for sure! Super nice Jerry.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Boxguy's profile


2779 posts in 2506 days

#8 posted 03-02-2015 12:03 AM

Jerry, this is a box on steroids (or estrogen). Jason Whitlock would be so proud of the title you chose. You have done a really fine job on this project.

I am eager to meet this box in person. This box has great proportions and a nice balanced look. Those ratios would look good if the box were 8 or 18 inches long. The arch at the bottom does a nice job of lightening up the over-all look of the box. The attached top must have taken up a pile of clamps. The pink strip in the Box Elder is such a nice feature in that wood, and you have shown it to great advantage.

Your wife did her usual great job on the finish. That must have been especially tedious with all of the bark inclusions. How lucky you are to have a partner who does your finish work for you. Most of us in Lumberland are envious of such a helpmate.

We tend to take it for granted, but your photography is always superb, and the creative stories you tell about your boxes are always fun to read. How nice that you are able to combine those skills with your woodworking talents to give us such wonderful postings here on Lumberjocks.

I will be interested to see what you decide to do to celebrate box number 100. That is quite a milestone. Who knew box making would become such an obsession and be so much fun?

I can’t get over the image of you standing on a chair cutting slots on a table saw. Maybe you should consider plasterer’s stilts. If you do that again let me know. I want to sell tickets to the people in our neighborhood.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2928 days

#9 posted 03-02-2015 12:59 AM

I like it! That box elder with the bark inclusions is very special.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Tooch's profile


1856 posts in 2114 days

#10 posted 03-02-2015 10:56 AM

I really like this piece of lumber. as far as the “mistakes”, I didn’t even notice the spacing of the splines until you mentioned it, and even then it just looks like you meant to space them that way.

hinges are the bane of my existence as well… I normally give up and resort to any hinge that can screwed onto the outside of the box

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View ncdon's profile


220 posts in 3115 days

#11 posted 03-02-2015 12:03 PM

I really don’t see the mistakes, a little artistic license maybe, and beautiful well crafted box. Well done and thanks for sharing.

-- Don, North Carolina, Working full time at retired.

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3658 days

#12 posted 03-02-2015 12:13 PM

Looks great to me, Jerry. We are always our own worst critics. I know that when I make a mistake on a project, that’s immediately where my eyes are drawn, even if no one else notices them!

Can’t wait to see box 100.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View papajon's profile


54 posts in 2050 days

#13 posted 03-02-2015 02:49 PM

Very nicely done! I like the design, the wood, and the execution. The “mistakes”....well, makes me like it more.

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2038 days

#14 posted 03-02-2015 03:23 PM

Thanks to all. Your work on LJ is a real inspiration to me (and a wake up call as to my lack of skill)

Rob (robscastle)... thank you, and could you please post pictures of your wife so we can decide? :-D

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View jeffswildwood's profile


3671 posts in 2216 days

#15 posted 03-02-2015 05:50 PM

That is one wonderful box! I would love to find some of that box elder wood someday. The bark is what makes it more remarkable. Mistakes? I don’t see any. As was said above “we are our own worst critics”. I like to say,”we all make mistakes”, trick is finding a way to fix them that says, “I meant to do that”!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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