Boxguy's Jarring Conclusion

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Project by Boxguy posted 07-16-2015 02:19 AM 1771 views 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for looking and a special thanks for those of you who take time to “have your say.” Reading and responding to your comments is part of the fun for me on this site.

Pictured is an Anegre tray (14 1/2×9 1/2×4) with Purpleheart corner splines. It features a floating bottom board inset into a dado slot. Like all of my projects the wood is finished with one coat of Tung oil, two coats of wipe on poly, and then a coat of Johnson’s Paste Wax. It is steel wool rubbed or sanded between each coat.

As you can see, this tray also has a central divider sized so the top of the divider just touches the slanted sides of the jars and keeps them upright. The trim at the bottom is functional as it makes up for the slanted sides of the jars and keeps them upright in the tray by hugging the bottom of the jars. (Not sure that sounds quite right, but that is what the trim is there to do.)



As many of you have discovered, “Grampa” projects are the best. My four-year-old grandson’s fertile imagination is fueled by his action figures. There are Star Wars figures, Ninja Turtle figures and Transformers and he wanted some way to store them on a shelf in his room. Apparently it is important that the groups be separated. (Don’t ask, it is toddler logic and makes perfect sense to him.) So, since I had just made a box to hold scent bottles, and a tray to hold drink bottles, it seemed logical to me that I could make a tray of jars to hold action figures. (Don’t ask, it is Boxguy logic and makes perfect sense to him.)


I always start a project thinking that it is going to be simple…It never is. First to find the jars. Hobby Lobby jars were nice but expensive. Michael’s were the right shape, but all glass. Bed Bath and Beyond…struck out there. I was about to buy peanut butter at Kroger and throw the contents away when I stopped in Gordon’s (GFS) and asked the stock boy for help. He led me to these plastic jars that were the right size, and only about a dollar each. The slanting sides were a problem, but I could solve that. Trim or slanted sides would do it…I chose trim.

Now, what size to make the sides? Too high and the jars are hard to get out and the sides cover up the jars. Too low and the jars can fall out. 3 1/2 inches seemed to be about right. Then I had to figure out the dimensions by putting some scrap boards around six of the jars on all four sides and measuring, Now, how thick were my boards? The center board needed to be a little lower than the sides, and I kept planing it down until the top of this divider just touched the jars. Now how wide should the trim be? I kept planing that down until it fit too.

Hey! What happened to simple?

Like all our woodworking projects, what seems like a simple tray to hold some plastic jars has a way of getting complex when we really get down to the details that will make this project work well. But to tell the truth, I have come to the jarring conclusion that it is the details and getting it right that just make woodworking so much fun to do.

May the force be with you.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

23 comments so far

View balidoug's profile


396 posts in 1900 days

#1 posted 07-16-2015 02:33 AM

Mine don’t play with action figures any more (good thing, too; he kept “borrowing” MY Han Solo), but I can think of plenty other uses for a well designed and constructed mason jar tray. Thanks for the inspiration, AND the eye candy.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View jumbojack's profile


1667 posts in 2046 days

#2 posted 07-16-2015 03:09 AM

Love boxes with a specific purpose.
My nephews call those action figures ‘guys’.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View playingwithmywood's profile


247 posts in 1019 days

#3 posted 07-16-2015 03:33 AM

great box and great gift

View Boxguy's profile


2122 posts in 1689 days

#4 posted 07-16-2015 03:49 AM


Doug, I hope you will post a version of your own. I am thinking about making a version of this and taking it to the gallery to sell. ...Talk about justice in the world… These are some of my adult son’s old figures, and I “borrowed” them from him.

Jumbo, you are right. They are “guys” to my grandson as well. About every box I make has a job to do.

PWMW, thanks. This was a fun project because I made it with my grandson in mind.

-- Big Al in IN

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 1598 days

#5 posted 07-16-2015 11:47 AM

Hi Boyguy,
I don’t always respond and I haven’t posted anything on LJ in along time but I have a special folder set aside in my email account where I keep all your projects hoping some day I can find the time to start making boxes and hoping that I can get to the point where I am just come close to your skill level. I have learned a lot from you and I really appreciate the fact that you share so much useful information. So thanks for all you do for use LJ guys and for sharing.

Tom Godfrey

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#6 posted 07-16-2015 12:34 PM

Your boxes are always supreme eye candy Al. I’m sure the lil guy in the cape looks to you as a super hero

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

View Wood Studios's profile

Wood Studios

115 posts in 1753 days

#7 posted 07-16-2015 01:21 PM

Very nice box and a great purpose for it. I wonder if our grandchildren will appreciate the handmade items we give them today when they are grandparents. So many young men and women today can’t tell the difference between a table made of particle board in China and one handcrafted in Indiana from solid red oak, walnut,maple or whatever. The skill level to make them is leaving our nation as well as the consumer’s skill in buying.

-- I read it but I wasn't listening!!

View helluvawreck's profile


22687 posts in 2288 days

#8 posted 07-16-2015 01:37 PM

Nice work, Al, and very practical. Every little guy needs one of these.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

392 posts in 2489 days

#9 posted 07-16-2015 02:06 PM

Perfect, just perfect.

And you know, this is a keepsake that will be around a long, long time. It may eventually hold other things … but it will stick around.

Great job!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1983 days

#10 posted 07-16-2015 02:38 PM

Well done, Well done.

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View DonSol's profile


186 posts in 664 days

#11 posted 07-16-2015 03:11 PM

Looks great, Al and it will always be special to your grandson. Those are the best projects.

-- Don Solomon, New Castle, IN; Quality is not an act, it is a habit. Aristotle

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

442 posts in 2552 days

#12 posted 07-16-2015 05:57 PM

Very cool Al. Making stuff for grandchildren is something to remember us and to appreciate when we are long gone. Great job.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Boxguy's profile


2122 posts in 1689 days

#13 posted 07-16-2015 08:57 PM


Tom, what a nice comment. Thank you for your kind words and warm wishes. I am glad you have found these posting to be fun. The best way to get started making boxes is to make a box, or two, or a hundred. I hope you will have as much fun with boxes and postings as I have had.

Roger, I can’t say if my grandson sees me as a super hero, but I certainly see him that way. He is a constant source of joy and wonder for me. There is no thrill greater than to see him light up when he first sees something I have made with him in mind. It looks something like this.

Wood Studios, I think all wood workers who make things for their children, grandchildren, or other friends and relatives make those wooden projects as gifts of love. Maybe that should be enough. However, we all secretly want something that we have made to live and go on after us. I still have a box my father made when he was 16. He is gone, but it is a treasure for me now, and helps me remember him and his smile.

Charles, I plan to put your statement “Every little guy needs one of these” to the test by seeing how they sell at the gallery. Should be a fun experiment.

Henry, Perhaps many of our woodworking projects are a bid for immortality. I would love nothing more than having this project be one what lasts as a treasure, but only time will really tell. It is enough for now that it makes my beautiful grandson happy in his own four-year-old way.

Arln, thanks. It is always a pleasure to hear from you again. I liked seeing your memory boxes.

Don, thanks, Your last posted box is wonderful. You are right. “Gwanpa” projects are really fun.

Dale, most of the projects posted on this site are our bids for immortality, and I find it difficult to fault the effort. However, we should not let that interfere with the pleasure and joy that it can bring our loved ones and ourselves in the present. That is important too.

-- Big Al in IN

View Mean_Dean's profile


4943 posts in 2569 days

#14 posted 07-17-2015 12:02 AM

Great looking tray! Has all your usual refinements, and looks like it’ll serve your grandson well! I wouldn’t be surprised that he hands it down to his grandson!

-- Dean

View Blackie_'s profile


4527 posts in 1934 days

#15 posted 07-17-2015 12:41 AM

Oh what a special and fun project Alan, something for your grandson to cherish for years to come.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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