Shaker Box #2

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Project by jasondain posted 01-10-2013 04:54 PM 1553 views 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project, like my other shaker box, has a bit of a sad story. About 6 or so years ago, my wife brought home a cat (the 4th) from her clinic that couldn’t be re-homed. It had all of its teeth removed, was pretty frail but was very nice. Her name was Gertie and while I didn’t really want another cat in the house, she kind of grew on me as she was really funny. She fit it quite well and had a habit of coming to sit on your lap no matter where you were in the house. Its almost like she had lap-radar as she would come immediately no matter where in house you decided to plant yourself. Recently, she was becoming more frail and not eating. My wife kept her going with drugs and fluids to the best of her ability but it was time to say goodbye. This box is for her ashes and will be her final resting place in our house beside our dog Timber who we said goodbye to last year. I’m not really a cat or even a pet person but Gertie was a good one.

Anyway, enough of that sappy stuff and back to the build. I had a piece of scrap cherry wide enough and long enough for a #2 box that would fit just right. I used John Wilson’s document extensively for instruction and templates and its awesome (find it here). I resawed the strips from the 3/4” cherry scrap using my new wood slicer and holy man, it worked well. I barely would have had to sand the strips if I was gluing them together for lamination. I needed them to be about 0.070” and they were about 0.02 too thick. I have a buddy with a drum sander but have been leaning on him pretty good and didnt want to bug him for this so I rigged up a jig on my Ridgid oscillating sander shown in picture 6. I attached 1 end with a screw and used a propel nut and larger hole for the other side so I could move the fence in and out to control the thickness. I setup the sander at the right thickness and tested it out. I ended up needing to back it off a bit and remove the material in a few passes and it worked great. I just needed to use a consistent feed speed and hold on tight as I let go a few times and had strips flying across the shop (note to anyone trying this, dont stand in the way of the wood if it lets go—I didn’t). Once I had the strips thicknessed, I relieved the back inside end and cut the bird’s mouth as normal. I now needed a way to steam/soak the strips for bending. The last time I boiled water in the house using a spaghetti pot, then dumped it into a plastic wallpaper try and soaked in there. That worked pretty well but the tray melted from the heat so only worked the once. I considered buying one from John Wilson as he sells them but I dont build these all that often and couldnt justify the expense after my bench build. I really can’t justify any woodworking tool expense for a while :-(. I called a local shop and asked about having one built and their prices were too much and the time was going to be too long so that option was out. I ended up reading that the soaking trays could be made from aluminum eavestrough so I tried that. I cut a piece of eavestrough to 32” and bought some end caps. I used acquarium adhesive to seal the ends and let it cure. After the required 48 hr cure time, I water tested it and no leaks so I was good to go. I setup my table in the shop with our camp stove and tray, opened the doors and windows in the garage and got the water boiling and then to a simmer in about 5 minutes. I soaked the strips for about 20 minutes or so in the water and they bent quite easily. The rest of the build was pretty easy but you need to be careful tracing and cutting the tops to keep the birds mouths pointing the right way. I messed that up last time but got it right this time. I finished the boxes with a few coats of tried and true original finish and let them soak up some sun to darken.

All in all, I spent about 30 bucks building the soaking pan and will have for a good while if I need to make more of these.

Thanks for reading.

5 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3105 days

#1 posted 01-10-2013 05:12 PM

I’m sorry about the cat. Those boxes have always looked difficult to me but sure did do a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3315 days

#2 posted 01-10-2013 06:17 PM

Very well done…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 01-10-2013 06:21 PM

Great looking shaker box,nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2414 days

#4 posted 01-10-2013 09:54 PM

A very sad story but you gave justice to Gertie with that wonderful box.


View John's profile


341 posts in 4036 days

#5 posted 01-31-2013 12:51 AM

great idea on the sander jig, thanks!

-- John - Central PA -

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