Watch Box

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Forum topic by DRStevick posted 11-19-2011 11:09 PM 6799 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2558 days

11-19-2011 11:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box box joint

Please let me start out by saying that I am definately NOT an expert woodworker… more like an experienced hobbiest. I’ve never designed a piece from scratch before; I’ve always used a plan from a magazine or something. A friend of mine asked me to build a watch box. Not finding anything in plans, I decided to take what (limited) knowledge I had and try and design something myself. He’s happy with the results; I was hoping that by posting my idea here I could make sure that it will actually work as I have it planned.

The insert will be made from 1/4” maple using rabbets on the edges for the outside, and grooves along the inside faces for the grid. The grid pieces are each full length, with grooves cut halfway through the material to allow them to set inside eachother.

The outer box is 1/2” koa, using a 1/2” box joint. A ledge glued on the inside of the koa box supports the maple insert. The curve in the bottom is centered, starting at the edge of the box joint and 1/2” tall.

The lid is what really concerns me. It has a 1/2” overlap of the sides and front, and flush in the back. The outer lid is 5/8” koa, 1 1/2” wide with mitered corners. On the inside edge of the lid I placed a 1/2” wide 3/8” deep rabbet to accept the 1/8” thick glass and 1/4” thick glass stops. In front of the glass are 1/4” thick maple mullions, half-lapped where they overlap; these will be attached to the glass using clear silicone.

Attached is the picture of my idea in Sketchup. I am very open to any ideas or suggestions for the design. I know that as I have it designed now it is within my ability to create. I think that the design works… Please tear it apart!


3 replies so far

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30 posts in 2558 days

#1 posted 11-20-2011 12:28 AM

Hmmm… After examining the layout to determine how huch wood I need, the Koa will probably be changed to Walnut or Mahogany. Something dark to contrast with the Maple.

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92 posts in 2558 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 02:34 AM

One thing to consider is what you want or your friend wants. Having contrasting woods causes the focal point to be emphasized more on the wood, not the watches. Although separating the inside allows more visual interest as to the contents and draws the viewer in the contrast takes away from the watches themselves slightly. Also the cross pieces on the outside of the glass being a contrasting wood also negate this to an extent. Having that lighter wood on the outside brings the emphasis on the inside to the outside instead, especially since the maple will be darker on the inside then the outside due to shadows.

Another thing to consider is what type of metal makes up the majority or minority of the watches, or any patterns there are in this because it might be worthwhile to consider this with the choice of the hinges, maybe even the wood as well, certain woods look better with brass, others do not.

With an object like this it is as important if not more important to think about how the object will look with the objects inside of it, but don’t design it solely for that. Using some of the mechanical and design motifs used in the watches, or at least some of them, can draw the objects closer in relation to the form you are making for them.

As far as my personal opinion having the lid over hang is distracting. Although my design preferences does not really matter I would recommend considering why it over hangs. This is the only place there is a component that is proud instead of flush, and I find this distracting. Having an inset door, again in my opinion, is a much cleaner and more sophisticated look the majority of the time, just leave a small gap for expansion and contraction.

Another component I feel does not completely belong is the curve on the bottom. This does add more visual interest, but it might be a good idea to continue a similar design somewhere else on the piece. Curving the lid where the glass sits in, putting a tapering chamfer in certain places to make parts look curved, or shape the sides so they are slightly concave (after you cut the joinery).

On a much more particular note if the maple liner of all the cross pieces are set flush with the edge of the carcass of the box they will expand and contract slightly differently meaning at times it might be set down lower, or even prevent the top from closing all the way. This is a small matter, and the only way to try and avoid it is to use wood from the same log, or epoxy it together, preventing cold creep from yellow glue, again it might be a good idea to use the same wood if you glue it. Having the inset lid would help hide this, but if you still want an overhung lid then one thing you can do is fasten the top of the inner cross pieces to the outside leaving some room for the back to move separate. you could use tenons, dowels, simply edge glue the top or even magnets, I don’t know if you plan on the lining maple to be removable or not but these are all things to consider. None of these suggestions are full proof though, I think we all have found out regardless of our best efforts wood simply has a mind of it own

Hope this helps, looks great so far! And I must compliment you on your sketch up work.

Btw I love the look of Koa and have been waiting for the right project to use it.

Good luck!

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

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30 posts in 2558 days

#3 posted 11-20-2011 03:03 AM

Thank you so much for your input! I had only considered the box itself, not really what was going INTO the box (other than size). I see your point in regards to the lid and the curves on the bottom – other items that I have made this way have these features mirrored elswhere in the design. I’ll look at different lid options and see what I can come up with – I like the curves on the bottom, as you said to add visual interest – I’ll probably try to incorporate this into the lid design. As for the maple insert, I had planned to make it removable (although not required) and although the outside frame is set to be flush with th carcass, the inner cross pieces are set 1/4” lower.

Once again, thank you very much for your input!

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