Magic Money Bank

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Project by Loren Schmidt posted 08-30-2012 10:26 PM 2919 views 17 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. She recently dropped her piggy bank and broke it, and has just been dropping her money into a Tupperware bowl. My wife thought it would be a great idea for me to surprise her with a new bank. I knew right away that I wanted to do a magic box, so I found a couple (1) (2) on Lumberjocks that referenced a 1996 issue of American Woodworker. I made it a drawer instead of just a circle hole so that bills would be able to fit.

This is made from fir and walnut. I made the box 7×9x5”, so it is pretty big and can hold lots of birthday money.

This is the first that I have ever used splines, and they came out pretty nice. I also wanted to tie the top and drawer in with the splines, so I made a walnut front for the drawer and tried my hands out on just a couple straight inlays on the top. I think it looks pretty nice for my first time. I was going to do a carve-out of her name on the lid, but didn’t have time to do that. I will have to find another way to get her name on it (plaque or stickers maybe).

I finished it with 4 coats of Danish Oil followed by 4 coats of clear spray lacquer.

I see lots of room for improvement for myself, and am looking forward to making some more boxes in the future.

-- Loren

16 comments so far

View grosa's profile


1004 posts in 2971 days

#1 posted 08-30-2012 11:01 PM

Nice job, simple clean lines and great contrast. I like it.

-- Have a great day.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 08-31-2012 12:12 AM

Nice bank ! I like the walnut/fir contrast. The only “concern” I see with your design is that the wanut inlays in the top involve “cross grain construction”, which likely won’t be a problem here, but it’s a good thing to think about it, especially on bigger pieces.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2366 days

#3 posted 08-31-2012 01:01 AM

MonteCristo – is the cross grain a problem for strength? It looks like straps here and adds a very cool touch. And of course, this is so small that strength would not be an issue. But this is an idea I can see taking larger where strength would matter.

Loren- I think she will get just about her entire college fund in there! Does she have to take the entire bottom off to pillage her savings? I like this a lot – and I could use a new bank. I might be taking this as inspiration :-)

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Oldtool's profile


2723 posts in 2333 days

#4 posted 08-31-2012 01:20 AM

Nice work, it looks very nice.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 08-31-2012 01:59 AM

I like it. I recently posted 2 of these but I did the hole thing so bills won’t fit :(

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Loren Schmidt's profile

Loren Schmidt

6 posts in 2451 days

#6 posted 08-31-2012 02:11 AM

Thanks for the comments!

I did think about the inlays on the lid for cross grain. I didn’t have the right size boards to get my grain to match and the look that I wanted. I am hoping that since it is a small box that the expansion and contraction will be minimal.

The whole bottom has to come off to get to the money. I am hoping that it will be a huge deterrent to actually opening it up. I also thought about gluing the bottom on too and doing a hinged door on the back, but it was just simpler to screw the bottom on.

-- Loren

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2524 days

#7 posted 08-31-2012 03:33 AM

Looks really good. You did a good job.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29865 posts in 2480 days

#8 posted 08-31-2012 05:19 AM

Seen a couple of these lately. Gonna have to try one.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2998 days

#9 posted 08-31-2012 07:59 AM

Loren that is a great gift for your

wee Lassie.

Careful though, it looks as if it will

also take credit cards. :)


-- 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 jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2550 days

#10 posted 08-31-2012 11:43 AM

Very nice and definitely one I will try in the near future.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View majuvla's profile


13009 posts in 3009 days

#11 posted 08-31-2012 02:13 PM

Very nice present for her.Beautiful box

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View goodinwood's profile


27 posts in 2241 days

#12 posted 08-31-2012 04:38 PM



View Firebreather's profile


106 posts in 2248 days

#13 posted 08-31-2012 04:53 PM

very nice job. How do you get money out? I want to make one for my daughters also and this looks just right for them. Any more pics on the design?

-- God is good..All the time

View Loren Schmidt's profile

Loren Schmidt

6 posts in 2451 days

#14 posted 08-31-2012 05:10 PM

I don’t have any more pictures of it. It is currently wrapped and waiting for my daughters birthday. The bottom is just screwed on, and is taken off in order to get the money out. The design of it can be found from the American Woodworker magazine, page 34. Link You can also follow the links I have in the description and read the comments on those projects and find links as well.
Thanks for looking

-- Loren

View Boxguy's profile


2738 posts in 2409 days

#15 posted 09-01-2012 09:40 AM

Loren, this is a nice project. With current interest rates, this size looks about right. I like the simple lines and the decorative stripes. If the walnut works loose…glue it back. This is a box not a bridge. I especially like the idea of being able to use bills. Nice innovation.

Your corner splines look good. They will really help strengthen the box. A jig like this (click) will help you space them evenly along the sides. Here is a simple jig for making corner splines themselves. click Thanks for sharing your work with us and congratulations on your “Top Three” Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

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