Ship's Wheel Shadow Box

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Project by RLindberry posted 07-01-2011 07:16 AM 3163 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a shadow box that my father in law and I made. Basically, he did the lion’s share, including design, cutting the fellies and the caps, the joinery, as well as the flag box and interior. Most of my work on the project was turning. I turned the handles as well as the dowels for the bungs. I also did the finish. Not having a duplicator for the lathe, the handles were done individually from a pattern.

Wood is solid Honduran Mahogany with a plywood back. The fellies are joined to the handles with biscuits, and the caps are then screwed to both the handles and fellies, and then plugged with mahogany dowels. The flag box is secured through the plywood back with screws. For a finish, we used one coat of lacquer sanding sealer, followed by two coats of satin lacquer.

All in all, it was a fun project. The recipient and my father in law were shipmates, and he absolutely loved it, so I’m happy.

6 comments so far

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3331 days

#1 posted 07-01-2011 10:21 AM

Nice design and finish…well done.

View Ken90712's profile


17553 posts in 3158 days

#2 posted 07-01-2011 10:31 AM

Very nice job!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3777 days

#3 posted 07-01-2011 03:30 PM

A fitting tribute! Nice work.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Woodbutcher3's profile


400 posts in 2856 days

#4 posted 07-01-2011 07:22 PM

I would love to know the plans and process for this one. Looks very intricate. More than people would guess. Very nice job and tribute.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View RLindberry's profile


54 posts in 2636 days

#5 posted 07-02-2011 07:19 PM


There are no plans for this particular wheel, as my father in law is a creative, fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy. He had an idea of the inside dimensions needed for all of the paraphanelia, so had a piece of glass cut for that size. That was our starting point. We traced the glass on a piece of paper and found the center point. From there, it was just deciding how thick we wanted to make the wheel and the caps, and then draw those circles as well. Placing the handles on top of the pattern then gave us exact dimensions for the fellies and caps.

Then it was a matter of making patterns for both, bandsawing and finally using the patter (I think it was masonite, but I don’t recall) as a template for the router with a flush cutting bit. All of our angles could then be taken off of the drawing (though they were very close to 22.5 degrees, for obvious reasons). The pieces were cut a little large and fine tuned on the disc sander to fit.

The depth of the box was determined by the necessary room for the flag box.

Looking at the pictures, the only thing I might really do differently, is to make the handles a little shorter in proportion to the actual wheel, though that is a minor detail.

I’m happy to answer any other specific questions, if you have any.

View DonB's profile


508 posts in 2662 days

#6 posted 07-03-2011 09:19 PM

Being a retired “boomer sailer” myself, I really appreciate the design and appearance of this project. Very well done and I’m sure appreciated by the retiree.

-- DonB

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