# Coaching and Ken's Christmas Project (Boxguy)

 Project by Boxguy posted 12-06-2012 03:02 AM 1633 views 1 time favorited 17 comments

Pictured: A jewelry keeper (12 x 6 x 6) with a book-matched quarter sawn White Oak top and corner splines, and American Walnut sides. The square, sliding tray has White Oak sides and walnut splines. Finish method has one Tung Oil coat, two Polyurethane coats, one wax coat. It features a full length mortised in hinge, a finger lift for the top, a ring holder, and a cloth liner in the bottom.

Story: Ken has been coming to Boxguy’s shop for the past few months to learn more about crafting boxes. He wanted to make this jewelry keeper as a Christmas present for an old friend. Ken did a great job, and we wanted to post this to share with fellow Lumber Jocks.

Focus: With this post I wanted to focus on a method for being a box-making coach. It is a five or six day process. The basic idea is to have the coach make a box, but rather than have the learner just watch…the learner also makes a box. So I would do a step on my box and Ken would do the same step on his box. I run a board through the planer, and he does the same. My board goes through the drum sander, and so does his. You get the idea. Here are the general steps.

First Day: This is a long day…probably 5-6 hours of shop time plus whatever lunch time you need.

1. General, quick tour of the shop.

2. Look at some finished boxes and pick out what woods we like for our projects. Hint: Use different woods in your box and the learner’s box so you don’t get the parts mixed up during the process.

3. Each box starts with an index card with title such as “Ken’s Christmas Keeper.” Draw a quick line diagram of a box and label the outside dimensions written on the diagram.

Translate these dimensions into the length and width of the four sides plus at least one inch extra for squaring and cross cuts. For example, a 12 x 6 x 6 box takes a board 5/8 thick, 37 inches long (12+6+12+6+1 =37) and 6 inches wide. Keep this card as you go through the process. We will use these dimensions again when we cut the board into four sides.

Now select the rough board, and go to work. It takes about 30 steps to get the box to the stage for gluing up the carcass. In general…plane, sand, square, dado, and final sand the inside of the board. Cut board into side lengths, cut 45s, fit bottom, fit top.

4. Tape, glue and strap the box into form.

5. Break for lunch to let the glue dry.

6. Remove the band clamps, cut the splines slots and glue in the splines.

Second Day: Take the box through these steps: Smooth the sides, cut the top, carve the finger lift, add the hinge, fine sand all the sides, apply the first coat of finish…Minwax Tung Oil. This is a 4-5 hour day. Sanding takes time.

Third Day: Make internal parts such as tray, dividers, ring holders. Sand and apply second finish coat…polyurethane. 2-5 hours. (Good day to start thinking about the next box.)

Fourth Day: Sand and apply third finish coat…polyurethane. 1-2 hours. (Good day to start on next box.)

Fifth Day: Add cloth liner, chain, bumpers, wax and photograph project. 2-4 hours. (Move along the next box.)

General Comments: Keep the first project simple so that both the coach and the learner have a real chance to succeed. This process goes much better if you work together just one day a week. You will both look forward to your day to work together. Much less “Box Burn-out” that way. Always, always, always watch your learner’s hands. Stand close enough to move their hands if they are in danger. Keep them working safely. Don’t rush them. Don’t watch the clock and rush the process. Take time to talk. Resist the temptation to take over the process and get it done more quickly. Have fun, laugh together. The important thing is the process, not the time. If you can’t be patient…don’t be a coach.

Thanks: Ken and I appreciate all of you who took time to look at this post. A special thanks to all of you who take the extra time to add a comment or suggestion. I respond to all comments and questions in batches on this same post. So check back the next day to see my responses or answers. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN