Walnut Box (yes, a box)

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Project by PeteMoss posted 01-26-2010 09:53 PM 2280 views 11 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a simple walnut box that I made for my wife for Christmas this year.

On every project, I try to do something new or try to get better at something. On this box I tried a technique that I saw in a magazine article on resawing your lumber, flipping the pieces inside out, then making your miter cuts. This causes the grain to basically wrap all the way around the box. Technically it wraps around two of the corners and the other two are bookmatched, but same difference I guess.

I actually had some 8/4 walnut left over from my coffee table project and I was able to resaw four full boxes out of the one piece. I got bored with it though and still have three sitting on a shelf waiting for final sanding and finishing, maybe for next Christmas.

The keys are hard maple, cut on a new boat/sled for my router table. This was also the first project where I got to use my new Veritas medium shoulder plane. I used it to clean up the rabbets from my dado blade around the lid edges.The whole thing was finished with a few coats of Arm’R’Seal (however you spell it) and wax.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

14 comments so far

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 2884 days

#1 posted 01-26-2010 10:00 PM

I really like those boxes. I think I might have the same article you’re talking about. I made some similar boxes out of oak. They do make great gifts. And go together pretty quick.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12759 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 01-26-2010 10:12 PM

wow, we never get to see any boxes on this site… lol… just kidding… great job on this. the simplicity and the contrasting woods as well as the different sized splines add to the overall craftsmanship of this box..
very nice build…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View christherookie's profile


70 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 01-26-2010 10:29 PM

I love the design of the light / dark on the corners.

View Dusty56's profile


11814 posts in 3526 days

#4 posted 01-26-2010 11:19 PM

Very nice box ..The splines are awesome … about a peek at the inside ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3580 days

#5 posted 01-26-2010 11:56 PM

I like the splines too. It is a beautiful box.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View bigike's profile


4053 posts in 3127 days

#6 posted 01-27-2010 12:01 AM

very good work

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 3172 days

#7 posted 01-27-2010 12:55 AM

I love the clean design and the way you did the splines. Walnut is a very beautiful wood and it was the perfect choice for this design.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 3678 days

#8 posted 01-27-2010 01:04 AM

You did a great job !

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View bill merritt's profile

bill merritt

203 posts in 3127 days

#9 posted 01-27-2010 02:18 AM

Never too many boxes, this one looks great.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

View a1Jim's profile


116585 posts in 3415 days

#10 posted 01-27-2010 02:21 AM

Really good work Pete

-- Custom furniture

View blyther's profile


66 posts in 2948 days

#11 posted 01-27-2010 04:10 AM

nice job! you should show the inside.

-- Paul, Winterset Iowa,

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 3088 days

#12 posted 01-27-2010 01:13 PM

well done walnut and maple are great together

-- -erik & christy-

View Dean J's profile

Dean J

19 posts in 2881 days

#13 posted 01-27-2010 03:34 PM

This might be a really silly question, but any advice on building my first box? You did a pretty slick job, and the corner joinery on that looks spot-on!

View PeteMoss's profile


207 posts in 3308 days

#14 posted 01-27-2010 05:15 PM

Hey, thanks everyone for your kind words. I know that there are lots of other examples out on the projects page that are so much better than this one, so thanks for being supportive. Maybe my photography made up for shortcomings in my woodworking. :)

The truth is that I didn’t photograph the inside of the box because my wife had already filled it up and I didn’t want to risk near certain death by dumping it all out.

Dean: Like I said there are much more talented folks out there and maybe some of them could chime in here. From my point of view, the things that I think are important are:

When you cut your miters, make them dead on 90 degrees to the blade and 45 to the table if you can. It is probably best to use a sled or something, but I just used my miter gauge and triple checked it before making the cuts. I used packing tape to clamp it up during glue up. This seemed to work very well. Basically just lay the pieces end to end as they will go and put packing tape across three of the touching joints, then flip over, apply glue to the joints, roll it up and tape the fourth corner. The strechiness of the tape helps pull the miters into alignment.

On the keys, I made a sled to carry the box over a straight router bit. It is important to keep the box and the sled in place firmly and make a solid pass over the bit. Then resist the urge to run is back over the bit to the starting point, but rather remove the box before moving it back to its starting point. Glue in oversize keys and trim to size aferward, always cuting away from the corners to avoid chipout.

As with any project, and something I am still learing to do, is to pick your stock carefully to show the grain you want and make sure it is flat and square to begin with. Expect it to take a lot longer than you think it should. Good luck.

-- "Never measure......cut as many times as necessary." - PeteMoss

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