|Project by Ron Stewart||posted 01-17-2016 05:00 PM||726 views||1 time favorited||3 comments|
I made this box for my daughter about two years ago. She needed something to hold her small but growing collection of rings, so I saw an opportunity to try my hand at box making and learn some new techniques. I decided to try to build a box that looked like a solid, seamless block of wood with a nice grain pattern.
This box is a hollowed out block of Yucatan Rosewood with 10mm barrel hinges and a magnetic “clasp.” I found the ring bars at Amazon (called velvet ring trays there). The dark brown accent strip in front is stained maple. It wasn’t part of the original plan, and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Most of my projects use veneered MDF or surfaced, dimensional hardwood. For this one, I ordered a 6”x6”x3” Yucatan Rosewood turning blank from Rockler. I didn’t realize that turning blanks were coated in wax. I spent
a lot of time scraping it off with a putty knife, then decided I’d just saw off thin slices from each side instead; that was much faster.
To hollow out the box, I started by drilling a lattice of holes with a 1/2” Forstner bit and my drill press. I then made a template and used my router and a 1/2” pattern bit to clean up the cavity and flatten the bottom and top recess.
For the clasp, I embedded 1/4” disk magnets in the front edges of the box’s body and lid. I covered the magnet in the lid with a small slice of a cherry dowel. I didn’t want any visible traces of the magnet in the body, so I drilled a hole from the bottom up (not all the way through, but ending about 1/16” from the top edge of the lip). I inserted the magnet, glued in a dowel, and trimmed it flush the the bottom. That worked well.
Now I’ll describe that accent strip.
Above, I mentioned I don’t have a lot of experience with solid wood, and with wood movement. I’d have
that box and lid matching perfectly one day, only to see a gap the next day because the lid had bowed slightly. I’d sand out the bow, only to have it come back. When it finally seemed to stop moving, I ran the whole box through the table saw to shave a bit of the faces to make everything flush.
Well, when I shaved the front face, I exposed the front edge of the dowel and magnet. It looked like a perfectly vertical wormhole with a shiny metal tip. (As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”) I thought it looked sort of interesting, but neither my daughter nor my wife considered it an aesthetic improvement, so I had to improvise. The best idea I came up with was covering the mistake with a small strip of wood. All I had on hand was some maple, so I stained it and glued it in place.
To finish the box, I used boiled linseed oil to pop the grain, sprayed on a few coats of shellac, and finally applied some paste wax.
I saw the box a month or two ago, and it is still fitting together pretty well—not perfectly, but pretty close. If I had to do it all over again, I’d use more standard techniques (mitered sides, separate top panel, etc.). Even so, I’m glad I tried it this way; I learned a lot. Plus, my daughter likes it, and that’s the most important thing.
-- Ron Stewart