|Project by Boxguy||posted 05-26-2012 04:24 AM||2184 views||7 times favorited||17 comments|
Pictured: White Oak and Russian Walnut box designed to hold child’s alphabet blocks. It is 10 inches long, 8 1/2 inches wide, and 5 1/2 inches high.
Story: As a thank you to a friend who has often furnished me with wood, I thought I’d make a special box for his wonderful two-year-old who is learning about colors, and letters. I bought a set of wooden alphabet blocks and crafted this box for them to fit into.
Philosophy: I am a big believer that boxes should do something. It is nice if they are pretty. But if you are going to make boxes to sell, those boxes need to do a job. I have made boxes to hold and organize these things: pool balls, darts, wine bottles, jewelry, tea bags, soup containers, watches, coins, medals, marbles, cremains, saw blades, cards, recipes, rocks, pins, ear rings, necklaces, guitar picks, cigars, musical instruments, stationary, scissors, glue bottles, golf club heads, books, ballots, poker chips, suggestions, and tools among other things. The possibilities are endless. I always think that if I can use it to do a job so can someone else. I often make a box that I can use and then make a few more to sell. My experience is that customers look at boxes that are pretty, but buy pretty boxes that are useful. I am trying to build boxes that are utilitarian, attractive, and will still be around 100 years from now.
Materials: The raised letters and feel of these blocks reminded me of the set I had as a kid. I bought them because they are more detailed than a set I could make. The sides of this box are made of quarter sawn White Oak that was scrap from a local factory that manufactures trim. These came as a pallet of “shorts” from a production run. These shorts are too small for furniture, but just right for boxes. The top is also “scrap” from a project at a local plant. It is book-matched Russian Walnut veneer laid-up up on a Masonite core; it is very stable. The corner splines are Black Walnut from a local tree that was blown over by the tail winds of Hurricane Ike. So everything used in this box is recycled wood.
Technique: I included a rear view of this box (picture #3) to show the inset hinge and how it fits into the box. It is mitered using the top of a straight cutting bit and a router table. The hinge is cut from a 4 foot piano hinge, and is fitted to this particular box. The first coat of finish is Minwax Tung Oil. I find this warms up the grain and tones in the wood. It also seals well and goes further than the next two coats of Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane. All these finishes are applied with a one-inch foam brush that I buy in a 100 brush bag at Hobby Lobby. The final coat is Johnson’s Paste Wax applied with 0000 steel wool. (I leave the steel wool pad in the wax can between uses.) I lightly buff the finish between coats with a 0000 steel wool pad. Boxes are meant to be handled and used, and so they need a sturdy finish that will hold up to wear and the natural oils of our hands. The corners are formed with a 3/4 round-over bit, and I used that same bit to curve the top edge of the sides. I really like the look of the grain as it is curved around the corners and the top of this box.
Thanks: As always, thanks for looking, and a special thanks to those Lumber Jocks who take time to make comments and suggestions. Your feedback is what makes these postings worth doing.
-- Big Al in IN