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Boxguy Joins Trees From Far and Near

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Project by Boxguy posted 07-14-2013 05:32 AM 2351 views 12 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks: I appreciate your taking time to look at this posting. Your feedback is what makes these posting worth doing. I will respond to all comments, suggestions, and questions made during the next 24 hours, so check back for those. — Big Al

Pictured: This is a 8” x 6 1/4” x 6 1/4” jewelry keeper made from a West African Makore tree with a top and corner splines made of a curly Red Maple tree from Maine. Hence the title of joining trees from far and near. This box features a sliding Makore tray that slides on curly maple rails installed at the front and back of the box.

Commissioned: This is the second of three boxes I made for a friend. She wanted three the same size, but of different woods to give to her nephews. I’ll post the third in a week or two. She wanted a box made of unique woods in this smaller footprint. Makore and curly maple are a great combination that offers a fine contrast in color and grain pattern. I have made several with these woods and they always turn out well.

Focus: In this post I would like to highlight making trays and rails for boxes. As a rule of thumb, the top of the rail is as tall as half the distance between the inside bottom and inside top of the box. Most of my tray sides are 1 1/4” tall. If they are too deep you can’t get your fingers into them. Be sure to leave enough room between the top of your tray and the bottom of the lid. If your tray is too tall the top will hit on the tray as it closes. Generally tray sides are 1/4 to 3/8 thick. If the sides get too thick they look bulky and are heavy. The bottoms are 1/4 inch plywood set in a dado. Recycled paneling from older homes works well for tray bottoms and the wood is really 1/4” thick. I often use scraps from making the top for the tray and the corner splines for the tray are made of the same wood as the sides of the box.

The maple rails and tray sides used here keep the same theme as the outside colors, and I don’t have to blend a third kind of wood into a small box. I like rails that go all the way to the bottom of the box. Since rails are difficult to clamp inside the box, I usually cut rails very closely so they just barely fit. I put some glue on the back of the rail and then pin nail the rail into place. The glue dries and needs no clamp so I can continue working on the box or making the tray.

When possible make the tray square then you don’t have to be careful when you put it back in the box…it fits either way. For larger boxes consider two square trays. If you leave a little room on the side of the tray so you can insert your hand, then you don’t need a lift on your tray. It is easy for the user to simply move their fingers under the tray and lift it out with one hand and reach into the bottom of the box with the other hand and replace the tray into the box.

For further tips on making boxes there are tutorials arranged by topics below. Just scroll and click.

Tutorials: For methods used to make a box like that pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic.

Mortising and installing hinges:
Cutting off the box top:
Adding splines to a box:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
$5 band clamps:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Jig for 45ing corners:
Organizing a glue-up table:
Finishing tips:
Tips on making trays for inside boxes: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/86961:

-- Big Al in IN





24 comments so far

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

466 posts in 920 days


#1 posted 07-14-2013 08:41 AM

Proud to be the first to comment on your post. I have come to really admire your work and appreciate the time it takes for you to explain in detail how to make boxes. As I mention once before I tired to make a jewelry box using your method but didn’t come out that great but that was lack of skill on my part. I will continue making boxes until the day comes when I will be proud to post my boxes on lumberjocks and when I do I will owe it all to you and your leadership.

I keep all the information that you have posted for reference and I feel sure a lot of others do the same. Thanks for being the kind of man that is willing to share your knowledge and skills with me and I feel sure lots of others.

I was telling a man a few days ago about lumberjock and about anyone I come across that does wood working I pass on the information. I know of no other site that does what lumberjock does and its free. What more could anyone ask for. I feel like I have a host of friends and have never meet anyone from lumberjocks. You are one of many that I admire and want to say thanks not only to you but a lot of other lumberjock members.

Tom

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (tom@thcww.com)

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1537 posts in 1011 days


#2 posted 07-14-2013 09:43 AM

Response:

Tom, what a nice reply, thanks. I am sorry your first box didn’t suit you. My first one didn’t suit me either; however it didn’t keep me from trying another two or three hundred times. I am beginning to get the hang of it now. The secret to me is the jigs I have made and being careful with the small details. Man, I sure made a lot of mistakes at the start. I would like to spare others some of that if I can. If you need help on an individual problem, don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck on your next box.

I agree that this site is a goldmine, and I appreciate all the hard work Debbie and others put into keeping it running smoothly. It has certainly been fun for me to share on this site.

Thanks again for the warm response and kind words. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2595 posts in 2176 days


#3 posted 07-14-2013 11:52 AM

Awesome. I love your “hints” on how to complete the different aspects of your boxes.
They are true tutorials. The box itself is exquisite!
Keep ‘em coming!
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Roger's profile

Roger

15261 posts in 1548 days


#4 posted 07-14-2013 12:22 PM

I agree with what ellen says.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View vonhagen's profile

vonhagen

498 posts in 1109 days


#5 posted 07-14-2013 12:50 PM

again i see the use of vertical grain lumber and i try and use it on everything i make as well. the benefit of this is ray flake on certain species of wood and when making veneer or re sawing the book match goes all or most of the way thru the lumber and when making tables or tops the wood is very stable and unlikely to cup. now what i don’t see and its just a matter of preference to the builder is flocking on the inside of the jewelry boxes i see on luberjocks? anyway this is another fine example of using contrasting woods. one other thing i don’t see on alot of jewelry boxes is a fine broken edge. a large radius edge is less likely to ding and will hide flushing flaws but i prefer clean lines on fine pieces but the downfall of that is dings but if you spend over 200 hours on a box with hand cut dovetails and inlay i think the valued product is more likely to be placed in a more protected area away from kids and traffic. great job on this box Al.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View TimWood's profile

TimWood

178 posts in 985 days


#6 posted 07-14-2013 01:33 PM

It has been said, “Those who ‘can’t’ ...teach”....thanks Al for BLOWING this completely out of the water!!
I had a Technical Physics professor in college who really knew physics…he was brilliant; but he couldn’t explain it very well. He taught more in an outline form and didn’t understand the necessity to give the smaller steps that are necessary in order to bridge concept to concept or step to step in the process. This is what you obviously understand and do so well. It has taken you a lot of time to photograph, to figure out how to clearly explain it, to document, to upload, to provide hyperlinks, etc etc etc…...I think I can in this case, speak for many of on LJs….Thank you!
Tim

-- Tim Harrelson

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 1063 days


#7 posted 07-14-2013 01:34 PM

Hi Alan, as usual, you work is amazing and you are also really gifted for explaining how you do it. I have a question about the handle (for lack of a better word) that I must have missed in your tutorials : in the front, I really like the 3 arches that allows the user to slide their finger under the lid and open it. It might be obvious to you, but how do you do that ? Just a carving gauge and you practice till you eyeball it right ? Which direction do you cut (from the front or the top of the box) ? What are the proportions of the arches ? Anyway, the result is very elegant.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1216 posts in 2219 days


#8 posted 07-14-2013 01:42 PM

Beautiful box. Did I miss the tutorial on how you did your finger lid lift cut outs? And, do you use a router round over for the corners and top?

My boxes have been adequate, but I need to move them up a couple of notches in design and quality. Your tutorial have been great in helping me out in that direction.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View aussiedave's profile

aussiedave

3014 posts in 568 days


#9 posted 07-14-2013 01:52 PM

Very nice box Al, I always look forward to seeing your boxes and great explanations on the making of it…Great job on another beautiful box.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View TimWood's profile

TimWood

178 posts in 985 days


#10 posted 07-14-2013 01:56 PM

It has been said, “Those who ‘can’t’ ...teach”....thanks Al for BLOWING this completely out of the water!!
I had a Technical Physics professor in college who really knew physics…he was brilliant; but he couldn’t explain it very well. He taught more in an outline form and didn’t understand the necessity to give the smaller steps that are necessary in order to bridge concept to concept or step to step in the process. This is what you obviously understand and do so well. It has taken you a lot of time to photograph, to figure out how to clearly explain it, to document, to upload, to provide hyperlinks, etc etc etc…...I think I can in this case, speak for many of on LJs….Thank you!
Tim

-- Tim Harrelson

View Woodbridge's profile

Woodbridge

2848 posts in 1162 days


#11 posted 07-14-2013 01:58 PM

Another really nice box. Thanks for sharing you work and your knowledge with us.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1221 posts in 1368 days


#12 posted 07-14-2013 02:43 PM

Excellent choice of material Al. Near and Far; very clever. That curly Red Maple is gorgeous. Your attention to detail, as always, spot on. I like the reversal of wood between the box and tray. Your customers recipients will no doubt be thrilled.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5252 posts in 2052 days


#13 posted 07-14-2013 04:07 PM

Very nice box and some great wood combinations Al…! You do have a good knack also for explaining your steps of construction.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpiece… because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5336 posts in 1586 days


#14 posted 07-14-2013 05:22 PM

Sensei,

Suberashi desu yo! (splendid)

Wabi- Sabi

Fukamisu Tomu (my Japanese name)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16033 posts in 1610 days


#15 posted 07-14-2013 06:11 PM

Al, you make some amazingly beautiful boxes.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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