A Modest First Box

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Project by smitty22 posted 1315 days ago 1499 views 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, it’s really a fib to say this is my first box since I practiced a bit (see pic #5), but it’s the first nice box that I’ve made, and I am happy with the result. It’s a gift for my daughter, and is about 6” x 8”, 4” deep.

The box actually has sort of a tangled build history as do most of my projects, and who would use poplar for a nice box? The story is thus: The first four boxes were made as an exercise in learning box joints. A lid for one of these was made from scrap poplar – a glue up that joined the light sapwood in the middle – and it seemed way too pretty to go on a ply box. So, off to the orange box store and found a nice $4.50 poplar board that was close to the lid in grain and the funky green color.

Back to the house, and now instead of making a lid for a box, I was making a box for the lid. Decided to try miter joints with the 45 deg taped joint technique that I believe BBM (thanks Martyn) had revealed a bit ago, and the joints came out really nice, with the grain just flowing around the corners in a most pleasing fashion.
Made a tray out of 1/8” ash from rockler, more miter joints.

Anyway, about 6 or 8 coats of sprayed and hand-rubbed lacquer later, I decided it was done. The poplar with this finish has a very soft almost sllky but warm feel, and a bit of wax and maybe some velvet in the tray and bottom should finish it off.

My wife saw the glue-up and thought it was hilarious that it took so many clamps, so that’s the last pic. Like I said before, I’m new at this!

Thanks for looking, now on to my cutting board and workbench projects.

-- Smitty

23 comments so far

View brunob's profile


2275 posts in 2796 days

#1 posted 1315 days ago

Not so modest if you ask me. Very nice.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View B13's profile


463 posts in 1320 days

#2 posted 1315 days ago

That’s a good looking box. I like the top.

View Don's profile


506 posts in 1700 days

#3 posted 1315 days ago

It’s a very nice box and I think poplar is a great wood to work with if your learning, it’s cheap and easy to work with. Poplar does have a funky green color which isn’t very attractive but that green will turn a nice shade of brown after a while and become a pretty nice looking wood.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Orion Woods's profile

Orion Woods

67 posts in 1396 days

#4 posted 1315 days ago

I like the poplar, it is cheap, and I like the colors. It’s not for everything this is true but if you don’‘t mind some color then that’s fine! I used it for my dad’s toolbox and really liked how it came out.

I have had some similar glue ups, be careful you don’t over tighten and snap your bottom piece, I did that once on my planned last turn, it still works i just don’t put a lot in there. Now I glue up bottom panels and cut them so the grain runs across the short width of the box.

-- Brian

View sawdust55109's profile


64 posts in 1476 days

#5 posted 1315 days ago

Nice.. Keep going.
Box’s are some of the most difficult projects. 1/32” off and its a HUGE difference.
A well built box is a thing of beauty…..

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 1691 days

#6 posted 1315 days ago

Great job. The joints are very tight as well. No need to be modest about it. Great job.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4356 posts in 1663 days

#7 posted 1315 days ago

We all started from modest beginnings. Besides this is a lot better than my first box.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mafe's profile


9486 posts in 1716 days

#8 posted 1315 days ago

I was never modest, but your box is sure more well made than any box I have made yet! LOL
Really nice work!
Best thoughts,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View RogerBean's profile


1122 posts in 1580 days

#9 posted 1315 days ago

And it turned out well. Hope to see more boxes from you in the future.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View bigike's profile


4031 posts in 1915 days

#10 posted 1314 days ago

great looken box, I love how you made it from the top down. LOL

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View David175's profile


101 posts in 1316 days

#11 posted 1314 days ago

I think you have a very nice box,,,love the colors in the wood and the shape…..great job

-- Dave..Pensacola Fl.........In GOD we trust

View stefang's profile (online now)


12875 posts in 1961 days

#12 posted 1314 days ago

Modest might apply to you Smitty, but the box has all the hallmarks of a well crafted and thoughtful design. The wood really gives this box a wow factor which is emphasized by it’s clean lines and workmanship. The handle on top also seems perfect too. Simplicity and beauty are not always easy to find in a single piece!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15684 posts in 2845 days

#13 posted 1314 days ago

I was thinking you needed more clamps. :-)

Great job on the miters. Like Martyn said, it’s a heckuva lot nicer than my first box.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jonathan's profile


2603 posts in 1677 days

#14 posted 1314 days ago

I think this is a fantastic start and wouldn’t have guessed it was your first box.

And better to use too many clamps, than not enough.

I really like the way you used the grain for the top of the box.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View smitty22's profile


592 posts in 1574 days

#15 posted 1314 days ago

Thanks much to all who viewed my handiwork, and especially to those who also post their projects. The inspiration from others on LJ is hard to beat!

-- Smitty

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