First try at a box, first woodworking project.

  • Advertise with us
Project by JHawkFan posted 01-21-2011 07:41 PM 2904 views 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay I’ve just started wood working and I really don’t know what I’m doing. My only real experience is some hand man repairs and up keeps when I first joined the military or watching DIY network. The only training I’ve had is self taught or looking at pictures and wondering how I can do that. This is my first project. I had a few simple goals when making this. I wanted to make a box that would last since I had a new born I wanted to put some gifts from her birth in it and give it to her later in life. I also didn’t want use any metal on it, like screws, hinges, etc. (this was hard for me at first cuss doing repairs that’s all I know). So I saw a picture of box on line and really liked it so I tried it with my own twist. The box is oak and the top is birch with oak handle. Since I didn’t know anything about wood I just went with what the big home improvement center had. I am happy with how the box turned out, however I am not happy with hinges on the top but didn’t know how else to do it. Also not happy with how the finish turned out. I was trying to go for the super gloss shine I’ve seen on jewelry boxes in stores… yeah didn’t happen. So all that being said I would really like your input. I’m a big boy so if you think it sucks please tell me just add areas I could improve on. Thanks

-- Matt Speer , ‎"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill

20 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2884 days

#1 posted 01-21-2011 07:46 PM

Matt, great first box.

Great thing is you went ahead and made the project

It will be a special box and you will always treasure it

There are some amazing box makers on LJ’s and are always there for help


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3001 days

#2 posted 01-21-2011 08:23 PM

It does not suck Matt, especially for the reason you built it
Have a look around on LJ site, there are some amazing people on here who are happy to show and share their skills

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3508 days

#3 posted 01-21-2011 08:34 PM

I have to say, it looks great. I think the hinges are really good, it’s hard to make a hinge with out metal, but the way you did is pretty much the only way to do it with out metal. As for the finish, I’d look into getting a sealer/grain filler for your next project. Oak especially is a very porous wood (as I’m sure you noticed) so a sealer or grain filler will give you a smoother surface to apply your final finish. Most of the commercially made jewelry boxes use a heavy coat of polyurethane to fill the pores in the wood to get the nice smooth finish. Keep up the good work, don’t get discouraged if a project doesn’t come out exactly the way you envisioned, always try to learn from your experiences.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 01-21-2011 08:43 PM

That is great for a first box, caution boxes can get addictive, nice work.

-- Tom D

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3814 days

#5 posted 01-21-2011 08:54 PM

Yeah it sucks, but only because you did something this nice on your first try! Are you kidding me? Really…first time??? That is a fine box, executed well, of good design, and proportion. There are woodworkers with many years experience that would be happy to have built such a project.
I say well done!
To maybe give meaningful feedback, High glosss finishes can be tricky, you might try a semi or satin finish in the future. Did you use poly on this one?

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3316 days

#6 posted 01-21-2011 09:15 PM

looks like pro work to me. ;)

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View JHawkFan's profile


24 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 01-21-2011 10:00 PM

Ratchet, I did use poly on this. It’s the only way I knew when I finished this, since then I’ve done some homework and realized there is so much information out there you could pretty much get a degree in finishes.

Tomd you are right boxes are addictive. I have couple more I can’t wait to start and a few my wife wants. Now if the weather would just warm up I can make use of my shop. LOL

Thanks Chris that really sounds like what I want with a sealer.

Has anyone ever used wax on top of their finish? A guy at the local shop said that will give the high gloss I want. True or not?

-- Matt Speer , ‎"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

516 posts in 3713 days

#8 posted 01-21-2011 10:11 PM

You made a great looking box.

-- Joe, Ga

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3063 days

#9 posted 01-21-2011 10:19 PM

Its a bit glossy, yes.

You could try not putting the hinge pin all the way through the side, making it invisible.

However given those points this is a very good first box. I like the angled meeting of the top pieces. You got the grain following across the top pieces, not simple and very clever. Much better than my first box. I look forward to your future posts.

Oh and as Tom said, you know boxes are addictive, don’t you.

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

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3795 days

#10 posted 01-21-2011 11:46 PM

You stated “Okay I’ve just started wood working and I really don’t know what I’m doing”. Wow! that is a great job. It sure seems like you know what you are doing.
For some interesting hinge,s check out some that ‘Littelcope’ has made:

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3644 days

#11 posted 01-22-2011 12:55 AM

Great start and room to improve what you don’t like. We ARE our own worst critics. As you can see you don’t get a lot of hard critical comments on LJ’s.

Even when you ask everyone to be honest I think they try to do it with a teaching heart rather than being unkind.

Best place to learn.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3962 days

#12 posted 01-22-2011 04:05 AM

Matt, Welcome aboard, I would have to say that is good looking first box. I like the idea of assembling it with no fasteners, Something I have not done a lot of. I like your quote and it looks as if you are heading in the right direction for that potential. .
Ron did bring up a good point about some hinges there are a number of guys that have used wooden or leather hinges here. Take look at some of the boxes, that is one of the things I love to do around here is to get inspiration.
I cetainly look forward to seeing some of your other creations in the future.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2971 days

#13 posted 01-22-2011 05:35 AM

Hi Matt, welcome to LJ.

I started WW 2 yrs ago, and still don´t know what I´m doing. But is the way to go.

Not being 100% satisfied with your work, means that you understand the mistakes of any part of the process. That is a good thing to happen. The day you achieve 100% satisfaction, is game over.

Take care and enjoy the place

PS: BTW, as to glossy finish, pay a look to our LJ clleague Steve in Marin chessboard video. Last chapter #7 that issue

-- Back home. Fernando

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3132 days

#14 posted 01-22-2011 08:07 AM

If you can do this well from gathering information, you should really enjoy this site. Good luck and welcome.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2961 days

#15 posted 01-22-2011 08:09 AM

great job on your first box. It looks nice.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics