Military Flag Display #1: Project overview and current status

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Blog entry by Mike Morris posted 02-11-2009 05:51 AM 2784 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Military Flag Display series Part 2: Drawer joints completed »


The current project I’m working on is a military flag display case.

My grandfather passed away last February. He served in the Navy during WWII and was stationed in the Pacific. I’ve had this on the to-do list for awhile.

This is my first project that I am starting from scratch with a blank sheet…although it’s a pretty simplistic design.

Here is the current SketchUp rendition of the project: (click on image to download the SketchUp project file)

SketchUp Rendition
I chose solid cherry as the primary wood for this project along with ebony for the decorative splines and drawer handles.

There’s basically two seperate components to the design:

  • Triangular Display Case
  • Solid Cherry Base w/ pullout drawers

The display case and base are seperate stackable units that will be alligned with removable dowels. I wanted to make the design flexible to allow the holder to be either wall mountable without the base or displayed as a single unit suitable for a shelf.

The base will be built from a solid block of 12/4 cherry. The drawer recesses will be mortised 3” deep into the base (actually 3 1/2” inches including the 1/2” drawer front).

The display case will be made up of 6/4 cherry milled to 1” thickness and will receive a 3/8” rabbet on the back to receive the display backing. There will also be a 1/4” x 1/4” slot cut to receive the 1/4” glass display front.

The handles are going to be made from 4” x 1” x 1/2” blocks of ebony with 1/4” cove finger recesses.

There will be a few other decorative additions, including a brass name plate that will be mounted in a chisseled recess on the front of the display case along with a US Navy Veterans challenge coin mounted in the middle of the front of the base.

For the finish I’m planning on giving the final pieces of cherry a few hours in the sun to help bring out some more color prior to finishing. I’m planning on using General Finshes Seal-A-Cell and Gloss Arm-R-Seal to hopefully produce a durable finish that will let the nautural wood speak for itself.

Current Status

To this point I have procured the:
  • 1/4” glass front from Alpine Stained Glass here in Plainfield. Carol was extremely nice and was able to turn the order around quickly.
  • I have also made the trip to the Owl Lumber store in Lombard last week and picked out the cherry pieces that I think will work out great. Besides the 12/4 and 6/4 cherry, they had some 1/4” cherry stock that will work out great for the drawers. The 1/4” pieces were primarily heartwood, with a little bit of sapwood that I can definitely work around.
  • The nameplate came in from Halex Awards. Very painless purchasing process. One nice feature they provide is the ability to have a proof emailed for your approval…very nice!
  • I’m still waiting on the challenge coin, but it was purchased on eBay and has been shipped…should see it show up in the next few days.

The first component I want to start with is the drawers for the base. I’m wanting to use box joints for the drawer joinery. As this is a new joint that I have never done before, I did some research to find a jig that I can make that will make the job easier. So I spent last weekend building this box joint jig from ShopNotes. Most of the time was spent trying to locally source the hardware for the jigs at the local big-box stores. I think I’ll save some time and aggrivation next time and just head directly over to either my local Rockler or Woodcraft.

I will be working on the drawer pieces tonight and will hopefully post some progress pictures once completed.

Here’s the random list of hurdles/undecided directions that are still rattling around in my head:

  • Debating on whether the display case should be pre-finished prior to assembly in order to alleviate any possibilities of causing headaches with finish on the glass. I’m leaning towards pre-finishing and blue taping the mating glue faces prior to finishing. This would also insure I don’t have to worry about glue interferring with the finish.
  • Need to figure out a way to safely route the cove details into the ebony handles. I’m thinking of making a custom MDF jig that I can use on the router table. Still not sure how that will turn out.

I am glad I’m getting this one off the ground and am looking forward to sharing my learning experiences and progress as I go.

Please, shoot me any comments or suggestions, good or bad.

Thanks for reading!

5 comments so far

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Mike Morris

27 posts in 3392 days

#1 posted 02-11-2009 06:10 AM

Just realized I pasted the incorrect URL for the picture of the SketchUp rendition…here’s a second attempt:

SketchUp Rendition

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Mike Morris

27 posts in 3392 days

#2 posted 02-11-2009 07:17 AM

Maybe the third time will be a charm…the previous download was my Cutlist Plus file instead of the SketchUp file…doh:

Here’s the correct link.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3713 days

#3 posted 02-11-2009 05:11 PM

looking forward to seeing the final project !

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3767 days

#4 posted 02-12-2009 05:52 AM

Many years ago I built a flag case and on the back I put the following:


The 21 gun salute at military funerals stands for the sum of the numbers in the year – 1776

The honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times:

1st fold is a symbol of life.

2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong”.

6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands, on Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrew’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and the Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who we were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

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Mike Morris

27 posts in 3392 days

#5 posted 02-12-2009 10:16 AM

rtb – Thanks for checking in on me and the project. Will be posting an update here real soon

Ron – Thanks for passing that on…didn’t realize what the folds symbolized. I’ll definitely have to add that to the project. Thanks again!

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