White Oak Salt Box

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Project by EyeGuy posted 01-31-2011 08:04 PM 2665 views 4 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a small white oak salt box that I made to learn how to make rabbet and dado joints, learn a bit about scroll cutting on a bandsaw, and to make a useful kitchen tool. The salt box holds salt for cooking. It has a lift lid and is large enough to hold both salt and a set of measuring spoons.

The box was constructed using rabbet and dado joints to hold the front/sides and bottom of the box, and floating mortice and tenon joints to fix the back to the sides.

The box was finished using a simple ammonia fuming process to bring out the ray flake. Rather than bringing out the concentrated ammonia, I used straight household cleaning ammonia…believe it or not, it worked well. The fuming process took about 24 hours and gave me better results than the concentrate because I could fume the project in my basement where it is warm. For a small project, that can be sealed in an air-tight bucket, suspending the project over a pool of cleaning ammonia works just fine. Previously, I did not have good results fuming with concentrated ammonia outside in 25 degree weather because the chemical reaction was just too slow. Household ammonia is not nearly as dangerous or noxious as concentrate—yet I still wore a mask and glasses.

The final finish was about 7 coats of garnet shellac applied with a brush. After applying the final coat of shellac, surface was rubbed out using 400 and 600 grit sandpaper lubricated with mineral spirits. Lastly, the project was rubbed with #4 pumice and paraffin oil, then paste waxed. This process produced a very smooth satin finish.

-- Chris K in Georgia

4 comments so far

View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 01-31-2011 09:12 PM

Wonderful project. Gives me some more ideas


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3002 days

#2 posted 01-31-2011 10:29 PM

Nice project. Wonderful looking finish. Very hard to beat the color of fumed oak.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View jat's profile


75 posts in 2794 days

#3 posted 12-05-2011 02:59 AM

Very nice box. How about some dimensions?

View EyeGuy's profile


7 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 12-05-2011 04:18 AM

The final footprint of the box measures: 6×4 1/2 inches.

Front piece: 6”w x 3 1/8”h x 1/2”. 1/4” dado on right and left edges to attach sides.

2 Sides: 3 3/4”w x 4”h with 1/4” rabbet on the edge connecting to front piece only. The 4” height is needed to form the hinge point for the lid. The side is then cut down to 3 1/8” to match the height of the front piece. The hinge cut down starts approx 1 1/8” from the back edge.
The sides are attached to the back via a floating mortice and tenon (Festool Domino). (You could probably use another rabbet and dado joint to attach the back but you will need to add another 1/4” to the initial side cut width.)

Back: 6”w x 5 1/8”h. Top corners shaped on bandsaw for appearance.

Lid: 6 1/4” x 4 1/4” x 5/16”. Back edge of lid is cut out to provide hinge clearance. Edges are rounded over.

Bottom: 5 1/2” x 4” x 1/2”. A 1/4” Rabbet is cut along all edges of the bottom piece. 1/4” dado is cut into bottom edge of front piece, both sides and back piece. The bottom is then fitted into the dados to create a box with a completely flat bottom.

I believe these measurements are correct, but if you find any issues let me know (or use your best judgement).

-- Chris K in Georgia

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