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Top Coat on a Keepsake box?

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Forum topic by torea posted 01-09-2016 03:10 PM 472 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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torea

8 posts in 330 days


01-09-2016 03:10 PM

Hey all! First post here after lurking for a bit! Sorry for the long post =P

I’m just starting into making a keepsake box for my girlfriend for Valentines Day. I’m relatively new to woodworking, though I’ve made larger projects before and am probably an advanced beginner.

The box I’m making will have a sliding dovetail lid with a little accent piece containing a dowel to lock the box closed. My idea is to have a magnet or piece of metal in the accent piece, and a key with a magnet, so that you can’t open the box without using the magnetic key to remove the accent lock.

Because I’d like to keep the mystery and secret of the accent lock, I want to make it seem as seamless as possible so the unsuspecting person wouldn’t know it’s there. I’ve never done a project like this without a top coat, but it seems like a top coat would make it difficult to maintain that seamless look. Should I just use wax or something?

To make matters worse, I’ve decided to do this piece out of maple and purpleheart (my girl saw the purpleheart board and fell in love with it). I fully understand that the purpleheart will brown over time, though I’m sure it’ll brown faster without a top coat.

Do you guys have any suggestions for me? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!


7 replies so far

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DrTebi

248 posts in 2727 days


#1 posted 01-11-2016 09:07 AM

I am not sure why “a top coat would make it difficult to maintain that seamless look”?

However, you can certainly use wax only. Do a few applications, waiting a day or so in between. Wax alone can be a good looking finish, although not as durable as others.

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torea

8 posts in 330 days


#2 posted 01-11-2016 02:50 PM

Thanks for the reply!

I only thought that because I thought it would be easy to see where the accent piece was since it would have to be finished separately. Wouldn’t there be a bit of a seam or indication where the accent piece meets the rest of the work?

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Fred Hargis

3927 posts in 1954 days


#3 posted 01-11-2016 05:21 PM

A keepsake box is going to be handled a fair amount (I would think). So while a seriously durable finish isn’t required, at least some finish is going to be easier to clean the fingerprints and grime off the box over time (versus just wax). Shellac, a spray coat of lacquer or such would be a minimum, I would think. Even a danish oil finish. I’m not sure what to say about the “keeper” piece…it may be more visible, but I doubt it would betray anything.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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torea

8 posts in 330 days


#4 posted 01-11-2016 06:00 PM

Thanks for the input!

I had considered spray lacquer or danish oil, since I’m working on other projects using those finishes. I’d really love to do something with decent UV protection (like an outdoor polyurethane?) to protect the purple color as much as possible.

Another question for you all: should I tape off the dovetail section when applying the finish to keep it sliding well? If I don’t, will the finish on the separate parts stick to each other?

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DrTebi

248 posts in 2727 days


#5 posted 01-11-2016 06:38 PM

I am not sure how far you are with the box… if it’s still possible, maybe you can put the dowel key on the bottom instead of the top. It would keep the top entirely smooth, and the secret lock even more hidden.

Your sliding dovetail will not run smooth once finished with lacquer. I think there are several options to deal with that, either don’t finish it and just wax it plenty, or finish it and sand it back slightly then wax it. It also depends on how tight the fit is. Any finish that builds up, will make the joint tighter.

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torea

8 posts in 330 days


#6 posted 01-11-2016 11:39 PM

I’ve already made the majority of my cuts =/ I also like the idea of it being on the top so that it can be opened without moving the box (my girl likes to keep a healthy pile of clutter around =P )

I think I’ll look into a spray lacquer finish keeping the dovetail taped off. I feel like that’ll give me the look I’m going for without making it too hard to keep the moving parts moving.

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DrTebi

248 posts in 2727 days


#7 posted 01-12-2016 12:54 AM

Sounds good. Make sure you post some pictures when you’re done.

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