Shaker Oval Boxes 1-6

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Project by hickeymad posted 01-17-2013 12:28 AM 2790 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A nest of oval shaker boxes of cherry with quartersawn cherry and walnut bottoms and spalted alder tops. These were really fun to make- all the work was in the prep. I made forms and shapers out of ply and basswood, and resawed and thicknessed the quartersawn cherry bands with my new bandsaw (sweet!). I built a steam box of birch ply and kreg pocket screws and used a wallpaper steamer for the source. Works pretty well, though it would be undersized if my box was much larger. The plans and tacks were from the most gracious John Wilson at
I highly recommend talking to them and purchasing any of their products, as they are one of the few honest companies left out there. Anyway, I made these to get started with steam bending (I’ve so many ideas that require this skill so I have to start somewhere!). They are destined for a wedding gift for two friends of mine – never mind that they are 6 months late (Officially, my wife tells me, I have up to a year…). I think they will really like them. I have some reservations about use of the spalted alder for the tops as it is not quartersawn, and may swell and break the bands, and it is quite fragile (being rotten wood after all…). Still, I think they will be OK if treated with a bit of care. Finished with oil and dark wax. I’ll be making a ton more of these I can tell…

Things I’d like to get better at with these are;
1) don’t dent the cherry when installing the tacks
2) line up the fingers on the top band and the box bands
3) line up the tacks more evenly
4) bring my build time down to 2 hrs/box. Including all resawing and band sizing
5) build bigger sizes – through size 10 at least.

Oh, and I finally figure out how to resize my photos so uploading is easier. On a Mac with iphoto it is a bit cumbersome still though.

10 comments so far

View balidoug's profile


495 posts in 2655 days

#1 posted 01-17-2013 01:26 AM

I have long admired these and still don’t have the guts to try. Nice work.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29974 posts in 2514 days

#2 posted 01-17-2013 01:30 AM

Very nice work

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3753 days

#3 posted 01-17-2013 01:40 AM

These are very nice you did and excellent job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View kiefer's profile


5620 posts in 2843 days

#4 posted 01-17-2013 01:51 AM

Got the steam bending bug too huh?
You did a great job on these and I admire steam bent projects as I do some myself and somewhat understand the processes involved,there is a lot to learn.
Post more of these as you make them and maybe do a blog .
There are many project ideas that can be made with steam bending and would stir the imagination of others on this site . .

-- Kiefer

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2584 days

#5 posted 01-17-2013 02:08 AM

Very nice work. The spalted alder tops are really quite eye-catching. You did a great job on these.

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

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 4200 days

#6 posted 01-17-2013 04:02 AM

Very nice work. Love the tops. I’ve been making them myself for about 7 years. I veneer my tops and bottoms to get some good contrast and stability. Had the pleasure of taking classes with John Wilson last year at the Woodworking Showcase in Saratoga Springs, New York. Had been speaking with him and Eric Pintar over the phone when ordering supplies since I started. This was my first opportunity to meet John and Eric in person and your description of “most gracious” is right on.
His goal is to continue the art of building Shaker Boxes and intends on educating as many of us as he can.

Imagine my shock when ordering for the first time over the phone, I asked if they took credit cards or I would mail them a check before they sent the order and John wouldn’t hear of it. We put the bill in the box and you can pay it when you receive your product. He didn’t know me from Adam but that is what he does with everyone.

Sounds like you enjoyed the process. They are great fun and actually relaxing to build. Thanks for sharing.


-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3852 days

#7 posted 01-17-2013 07:17 AM

Very nice! I was gonna do, am still gonna ;-)) Glad you got it done!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View woodcut's profile


194 posts in 2857 days

#8 posted 01-18-2013 04:20 AM

Awesome work! This is one of many projects on my bucket list, though I doubt mine will turn out as great as yours!

-- Carl, Iowa

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3608 days

#9 posted 01-25-2015 09:34 PM

Nice work-nice fingers

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10299 posts in 4228 days

#10 posted 01-27-2015 05:55 AM

I always thought it would be fun to make some of those boxes…


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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