Shaker oval boxes

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Project by Jeremymcon posted 09-28-2017 08:14 PM 540 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shaker oval boxes
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I ordered some copper tacks and batched out a bunch of these boxes not too long ago to give away as gifts. My wife also kept a few. They were a lot of fun to make! I milled the maple on my bandsaw and cleaned them up with my planer.

I wanted to make some from cherry as well and leave them unpainted, but these things require very straight grained stock, and none of the cherry I had on hand was suitable. The tops and bottoms are pine.

My wife helped a lot with fitting and attaching the tops, which was great fun! She also did the painting.

9 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


3717 posts in 2103 days

#1 posted 09-28-2017 08:31 PM


How thick are the side bands?

-- SAWDUST is THERAPY without a couch! just rjR

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 3934 days

#2 posted 09-28-2017 08:33 PM

They came out looking great. I would love to see some that are natural grain.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ohwoodeye's profile


1918 posts in 2990 days

#3 posted 09-28-2017 09:17 PM

Where did you learn how to make these.
Better question… do I learn how to make these?

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View cmmyakman's profile


128 posts in 2493 days

#4 posted 09-28-2017 09:46 PM

Where did you learn how to make these.
Better question… do I learn how to make these?

- ohwoodeye

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View jimbrown's profile


20 posts in 132 days

#5 posted 09-28-2017 09:55 PM

I’ve made a few of these too, mostly from left over walnut and cherry. Great fun, check out my drum sander that I built to mill the parts after re-sawing on my band-saw.

-- JimBrown

View Jeremymcon's profile


186 posts in 517 days

#6 posted 09-29-2017 12:26 AM

The bands are 1/8” thick on these, and slightly thinner on the smaller boxes we made (not pictured).

I learned to do these mostly from a fine woodworking article by John Wilson. Also YouTube. There’s a whole series on them if you look around.

I did make some modifications to the instructions to fit my tools though. I don’t own a disk sander, so fit the tops and bottoms with a spokeshave. Also don’t own a drum sander, so I just used my planer to surface the strips. Clamped a flat board on the planer and ran the strips over top of it.

I thought about leaving some maple boxes unpainted, but the maple comes out of the steamer looking a little gray and lifeless, IMO. Better to do unpainted versions in cherry or walnut or something.

I got tacks from I bought several sizes of tacks, but honestly, just buying no 3 tacks is fine for pretty much every size box I tried to make. Even the little no 1 size box. Your mileage may vary, obviously.

View michelletwo's profile


2700 posts in 2852 days

#7 posted 09-29-2017 12:07 PM

I have made these SOB for close to 30 yrs. I love making them. I have seen them painted many colors, but not this one. I think it is a great choice..

View helluvawreck's profile


29158 posts in 2703 days

#8 posted 09-29-2017 01:46 PM

I have always loved the Shaker oval boxes. These particular ones are so nice and beautifully done.

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 therealSteveN's profile


66 posts in 411 days

#9 posted 10-02-2017 12:52 AM

You can find access to the brass tacks, finger templates, form blocks, all kinds of separate pieces if you don’t want to make them yourself, and best of all complete sizes for graduated boxes, and a lot of HOW TO at “John Wilson’s “Home Shop””:

Evidently I don’t have a handle on adding a link, sorry for the cut and paste.

Nice boxes OP.

Note I have no association with John, except to know he supplies many in the Shaker box making industry. For as simple as a project that they are you will find a resaw band saw, wide sander, belt sander, some device to heat the wood so you may bend it. Either a water bath, or steam device, plenty of patience, and some wood to spare, because if you make one. you’ll want to make 100. I’ll add if I can make one, so can you.

-- Think safe, be safe

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