Cedar Instrument Case

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Project by Thatcher posted 01-17-2013 03:14 AM 1499 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife needed a case for the stereo microscope I got her for Christmas and I needed a project to use my first biscuit joiner. This instrument case with two levels of storage trays in the top compartment was the answer to both needs. The biscuit joiner is now my favorite power tool!

I’m just learning, so I used fencing cedar that I picked up in the cull lumber section and smoothed up with a thickness planner, my previous favorite tool. After the faces were planed to the same thickness and cut to the length of the box height, I stacked them up, clamped them together and ran them through the planer to smooth and square the edges. Then some joining to make panels and some stacking to make top and bottom lid caps.

The case was designed higher than the instrument to provide storage for the accessories. A rim around the inside of the box provided support for a short open topped box in a box. Finger holes in the ends to assist in removal. On top of that, another open top box half the length so the box below can hold some taller items. The larger box in a box also has an insert with holes to fit the extra eyepieces.

The base (fifth picture) uses some butcher block cedar that I had left over from experimenting with creating thicker material than the 1/2 thickness I ended up with after the rough cedar was smoothed up by the planner.

Still considering what to do for feet. Trying to keep to wood and wanting no slip as the microscope is intended to stay on the bottom lid while in use, I managed to make little cedar block feet with corks in the center but they didn’t come out exactly the same height in the cork part so I might just do store bought rubber feet.

Between the thickness planer and the biscuit joiner, nothing can stop me now!

Researching the finish as we speak. I originally intended to do polyurethane (my default finish) on the outside only but am thinking of something easier to apply. Suggestions very welcome!

-- -T

3 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3719 days

#1 posted 01-17-2013 03:16 AM

A real usual project ,good job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jim55's profile


171 posts in 2208 days

#2 posted 01-17-2013 03:59 AM

Very nicely done. Looks like you get along very well with your new tool.

One thing I did before to make a none skid base was to make the feet then cut to fit some pieces of that adhesive backed rubber padding material and stuck it on the bottom. Don’t know if that would work for you but, it’s a thought.

I too built a microscope box though it is much cruder and more resembles those used in schools in years gone by since that was the inspiration for it.

View mbmattvt's profile


92 posts in 2052 days

#3 posted 01-30-2015 07:43 PM

Have you tried DEFT or WATCO? I use them for some small things I make or carve. It’s a nice finish. WATCO “teak” and the natural finish are both very nice. Easy to apply, easy clean up. Layer it on to get the tougher finish. Wipe with 00000 steel wool between coats and when done.

-- "There are three kinds of men. The ones who learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." --- Will Rogers

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