Shipping box

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Project by waffles posted 01-14-2014 04:47 PM 1115 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

All right everyone here is the story. I have been in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend for about a year and a half now and I thought I would try to spice up her mailbox with a neat idea. This is a box that I designed myself, I have never seen anything like it before and I’m very proud of it. I wanted a box that could be shipped back and forth between us, without having to run to the store to get a cardboard box, didn’t cost a fortune to mail, but would hold up for a few years of USPS abuse. So here is what I ended up with. A box that is roughly 16 inches tall, 6 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep. I used long (2 inch) finger joints on all 4 corners to hold it together. The front address holder has been both glued to the front and has 9, 1 inch screws through the back to ensure it doesn’t fall off. As a precaution I have placed a stick on return address on the bottom of the box, just in case. To change the address to ship it back, she just unlocks the front holder, removes the address label (which is stuck onto a thick piece of acrylic and laminated for extra durability), and flips it over to the back, where my address is stuck on, inserts it into place and locks it down. The top. It’s my favorite part! I constructed it to be a sliding dado, so when you unlock the top, you just slide it off. This 3/4” top adds a lot of strength to the top of the piece. I went with the sliding dado, because of the cool factor and also, I didn’t want to have to worry about a hinge breaking or anything like that. one thing not pictured is that the dado is a through dado on all parts. This leaves 2 little protrusions on the back. To fill those I cut two horns into the sliding top to fill them, which adds aesthetic appeal, a bit of strength, and most importantly friction. Why friction? I wanted a backup if something were to happen to the lock assembly on the top, something to keep all of the contents in, in the event that the top hinge were to break. This shouldn’t break though, the tang of the hinge is burred in the back of the piece, and while the hook of the lock protrudes above the top plane of the top, it has been secured with epoxy and some long 1 inch screws. I used a danish oil finish, I didn’t want a plastic look, but wanted a little protection, so danish it was! The other little box pictured was the first box to go inside of the box. My lady friend is a medical student and sometimes stays up late studying, so I provided an emergency energy bar (all women love chocolate right?). Tidbit on that though, if you ever build anything that houses food (even wrapped food), don’t use boiled linseed oil as it does affect the flavor. All in all, I found it to be a great project, and I’m proud of the design. It made it to it’s destination just fine. The postal workers called it “beautiful” and thought it was a sin to send it through the mail, without it being inside of another box, they hesitated to put the sticker on it, because they didn’t want to wreck the finish, but I told them that it was supposed to get dinged up a bit. One reason I went with a danish oil was for that very purpose, because I can refinish on the fly as needed. The recipient was very pleased. If anyone wants help building one, just shoot me a PM and I’ll help ya out! Cheers.

7 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

7022 posts in 2517 days

#1 posted 01-14-2014 05:12 PM

That is just fantastic. What a great idea for a box that will make many trips through the system.
I’m sure it will be a keepsake you both will treasure.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View TheCoolDad's profile


14 posts in 689 days

#2 posted 01-14-2014 05:35 PM

Very interesting idea and a beautiful piece. Doesn’t it cost quite a bit to ship, though, due to the wait of the box itself, regardless of what you are actually sending?

View waffles's profile


7 posts in 684 days

#3 posted 01-14-2014 05:51 PM

It was only $10 with the other box inside of it (the candy bar box was quite heavy). I built the box out of 1/2” aspen which is pretty light and played around on the usps website to find out some good dimensions. It only needs to go 8 hours away. It is pretty light for it’s size. I quite enjoyed building it, some projects you just get so into and passionate about, this was the first one for me.

View sras's profile


4268 posts in 2218 days

#4 posted 01-15-2014 06:31 AM

Great idea! I hope you get to enjoy this for years to come (long after the long distance part goes away)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View bch's profile


260 posts in 1778 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 04:37 PM

Very slick ideas. I like the flipping address label. Neat!

-- --bch

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 808 days

#6 posted 01-17-2014 04:47 PM

This is a great story with an interesting box. All around great project. I hope you two enjoy this box for years to come. It’s definitely a great conversation piece.

-- Marty, Ohio

View waffles's profile


7 posts in 684 days

#7 posted 01-18-2014 11:05 PM

Thanks guys!

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