Last gift for an amazing Grandmother

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Project by Woodchuck4 posted 10-01-2012 06:24 PM 1656 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The short story of how this project came about is that my grandmother past away and since they did not have a lot of money they couldn’t afford a nice uren for her ashes to go in. So, being new to this type of thing, I didn’t know how common it was, and asked if I could make something nice for her ashes to be buried in as a sign of respect for her. They agreed and thus began my quick learning journey.

I have never made any “fine” finished project before this so I was unfamiliar with box making, how to make finger joints, doing scroll saw work, or how to really do stain/poly. I’m, however, the type that will set my mind on something and take off after it. I went to the lumber yard and decided on making the box out of red oak. Then I got all the proper dimensions for the box and spent an evening and a half tinkering with my buddy’s Incra box joint jig until I felt comfortable enough to do the real thing. I assembled the whole box minus the bottom piece and then cut the lid out on the table saw (picking the right spot on the finger joints for the seam). Then I cut and glued in the bottom piece.

Next, I used a scroll saw to cut out the letters on the front and the cross on the top of the lid. I printed out the letters and cross from a word document. I printed the letters out in reverse so I could spray adhesive them to the backside of the wood so I wouldn’t have to do any sanding since the letters were so small and fragile. The borders and appliqués I got from the local hardware store. Since I have not really worked with stains before, I did have some trouble with the borders and appliqués staining. They were very blotchy the first time and had to remove some of the stain the best I could and redo it. I did mitered corners on the borders and did my best to line up the pattern so it looked to flow around the corners. The staining on the box was no real trouble. Where I struggled the most was with applying the poly. I really need to read more on how to do this, but I was under a short deadline to get this done in time.

I know I still have a LONG way to go, but I could see my dad and family really appreciated it. They could tell I put a lot of work and heart into it. I hope you enjoy it, and try not to beat up on a very novice woodworker. I love woodworking and I am eager to learn so much more about it and tackle even more projects in the future.

-- Nathan, Fort Worth TX

19 comments so far

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3580 days

#1 posted 10-01-2012 06:33 PM

your love and respect shine here nathan

sorry for your loss

excellent first

keep ‘em coming

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View chrisstef's profile


17800 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 10-01-2012 06:41 PM

Nathan, for your first box it came out wonderful. Youve certainly done your gandmother proud. A very nice testament all around.

Welcome to the gang … and like Patron says, keep em coming thee’s a lot of talent in that box.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2458 days

#3 posted 10-01-2012 07:40 PM

Your workmanship shows the love you have for both the wood and, more importantly, for your departed grandmother. For a first – it is a very good first.

Welcome to the saw dust pile!!

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30153 posts in 2577 days

#4 posted 10-01-2012 07:56 PM

Beautiful job. Shows respect.

Don’t think you’ll ever get beaten up on a project here. We all know what it takes to do this.

Keep it up

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2415 days

#5 posted 10-01-2012 08:54 PM

Your work speaks of love and honor for your grandmother. Well done!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2929 days

#6 posted 10-02-2012 01:16 AM

You did a great job on that and it is a fine tribute to your grandmother. It show a lot of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

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

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3400 days

#7 posted 10-02-2012 01:25 AM

A very fitting box for an obviously well respected lady. Sorry for your loss.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Woodchuck4's profile


31 posts in 2398 days

#8 posted 10-02-2012 01:45 AM

Thank you everyone for the feedback and kind words.

@Monte Pittman – That’s good to hear. I’ve been on this site many time, and it really puts me in aww seeing all the talent and amazing pieces people create.

@gfadvm – I appreciate it. I am a bit OCD when I’m in the shop. I started learning from my mom and stepdad but they say I have passed them (they are more rough construction type, and I’m much more plan then execute). They jokingly rag on me sometimes because she says I talk about projects using 1/8ths and 1/16th.

-- Nathan, Fort Worth TX

View Celticscroller's profile


1270 posts in 2312 days

#9 posted 10-02-2012 03:22 AM

This is beautiful Nathan – a beautiful tribute to your grandmother.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2929 days

#10 posted 10-02-2012 03:32 AM

1/8s and 1/16 ths? Surely you can do better than that! LOL

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

View prattman's profile


445 posts in 2357 days

#11 posted 10-02-2012 11:13 AM

Great tribute for your grandmother. sorry for your loss

-- Everyone calls me Ed or Eddie , mom still calls me Edward if she is mad at me.

View Grumpymike's profile


2355 posts in 2554 days

#12 posted 10-02-2012 04:17 PM

Looks like pretty fine craftsmanship to me. your attention to detail is to be admired.
Sorry for your loss.
I would like to see more of your “novice” work.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View redsox9's profile


105 posts in 2526 days

#13 posted 10-02-2012 04:40 PM

I am really impressed! I think your grandmother would have been, too. Nice work, Nathan!

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2413 days

#14 posted 10-02-2012 04:58 PM

Nathan, you did a great job and a great gift for your deceased grandmother. Very sorry for your loss. I know she’s very proud of you. As everyone has told you, you have the talent, so furnish it. Welcome to the band!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View thedude50's profile


3607 posts in 2717 days

#15 posted 10-03-2012 04:32 AM

you could have told me it was only your 50th box and i would have said well done but for a virgen woodworker you have impressed me. I recommend you get your own shop set up and stick with the hobby it agrees with you. Your Grandmother is shining down on you for such a loving gesture. I am so sorry for your loss I hope her spirit continues to drive your work forward.

-- Please check out my new stores and

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