A Quiet Little Oak Box

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Project by littlecope posted 03-26-2009 01:42 AM 1703 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project took a while, in more ways than one. The original idea for it came from 1995 and New Hampshire’s first in the nation primaries. We’re overrun by ‘em up here, and the media that follows them around, and also by their political signs! At the time they used wooden stakes to prop them up, what are usually called Grade Stakes on construction sites, and after the primary they’re up for grabs. My buddy and I collected quite a few of them and at one point he wondered if it would be possible to make a small box out of them. The idea intrigued me but was put on the back burner until this year. After I took Christmas down in January, with little to do in the way of projects, I decided to revisit the challenge.
So I drew up some preliminary sketches. I couldn’t really “see” whether the thing was even plausible on paper, but I had a notion of what I wanted to do and went straight to the wood. Wouldn’t you know they don’t use those oak stakes for their signs anymore and I used my supply up a while ago so I cut some almost-square strips out of a slab of 1 1/8” White Oak that was collecting dust. Basically made my own.
The plan was a certain combination of ideas, from a vague notion of timber framed houses and the little I’ve gleaned of box making, but what I wanted was fitted paneling on all six sides.
When I got to cutting the slots in which to put the paneling, I had originally planned on cutting them with the table saw as usual, but there were safety issues with the parts being so small. A decision was made, that it was time to break down and purchase a router. Went to the Local Used Power Tool Center (read: Pawn Shop!) and found a beast of a Porter- Cable just waiting for me. I think I did pretty good too, it only set me back $70! Anyway, that baby made short work of that procedure.
When it came time to join the uprights to the frames, my first thought had been to make the tenons square to the frame, but I liked the idea of rotating the direction of the tenons, not only for visual interest but because I also planned on pinning in from the corners and wanted the pins to go through the flat side of the tenons.
This all took from about the second week of January until last Thursday. The actual work didn’t take that long, but I spent a lot of time staring at the pieces and carefully plotting the progression of procedures! And I also had a lot of responsibilities that I did not neglect. Namely, shoveling all that damn snow that wants to fall around here.
Even though this was a complete prototype, I’m pretty pleased with the result. One person I showed it to thought it looked Egyptian or something, but couldn’t explain why. When I showed my Dad, the pins that hold the cover from sliding off weren’t there, those were per his suggestion. I had thought of pins there too, but had the number 4 in my mind and didn’t like the idea. When he said that I’d only need 3, it clicked for me and I installed them yesterday! Thanks, Dad, Again!
I should mention that there’s not a drop of glue on this piece and yet it’s strong enough to stand on. For finishing, I used my regular 3 coats of Spray-On Gloss Polyurethane.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed making it! Michael C.

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

6 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 03-26-2009 02:13 AM

Looks very nice and interesting.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 03-26-2009 02:23 AM

Great idea. Have a couple of projects in mind that have no glue or hardware. Love your box.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View boxman's profile


104 posts in 3432 days

#3 posted 03-26-2009 02:24 AM

now that is some box & no glue! I sure couldn’t think up that one , good job.

-- john, Moose Jaw, Sask,

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 03-26-2009 03:12 AM

Nice box. I have to admit I stared at the pics for awhile before I figuered out how you did it, very ingenious.

-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3720 days

#5 posted 03-26-2009 10:42 PM

That is a great box! I love the design and great story. Well done!

-- christopheralan

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3288 days

#6 posted 03-31-2010 12:32 AM

cool little box

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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