Buffalo Box #1: Milling the stock

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 11-10-2009 06:31 PM 1806 reads 9 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Buffalo Box series Part 2: Box Glue-up »

I will begin this WIP series with a little history. I have been creating Intarsia since 1992 after reading an article in Wood magazine by Judy Gayle Roberts about how to do this beautiful woodworking artform. After doing a couple of her patterns, I started creating my own Intarsia patterns and began collecting many different woods to use in my art. Learning about the wide selection of natural colors and grains of the various woods and being able to incorporate them into my pieces is still the best part of the Intarsia process.One of the best ways that I have found to utilize these woods was to incorporate them into the tops of keepsake boxes which are functional , don’t require a lot of wood and can be detailed and easily customized. Although I do 20-30 of my standard boxes every year it is the custom patterns that are the most fun to create.
For this WIP I will be designing a pattern for my wife’s cousin who owns a Buffalo farm in North Carolina and wants the boxes to be auctioned at the Buffalo conventions that he will attend.
I will begin by showing the steps for making the box.

These boxes will be made from Black Walnut and will measure 6” x 8” x 3.5”

Here is the walnut stock that will be used.

A couple of passes through the jointer make it nice and flat.

The next step is to resaw to the rough thickness. (9/16”)

2 passes through the planer gets me to 1/2” thick.

Once the stock has been sized to the correct thickness and height, it’s over to the miter saw to cut the box sides to the correct lengths. I like to cut the sides of my boxes so that the grain runs sequentially around the exterior so I begin my miters by cutting one end at a 45 degree angle.

The inside dimensions of the box is 6” x 8” so after measuring and marking the first 8” side I do my miter cut. The piece of masking tape on the saw fence is used to mark the reference for the other 8” side.

Swinging the saw over and sliding the stock over I continue cutting until all 4 sides are cut to the proper length.

Once all of the box sides have been cut ,it’s over to the router to route all of the grooves for the top and bottom back boards. I use a 1/4” router bit for the grooves
The bottom backer is 1/8” from the bottom of the box and 1/4” deep.

The top backer is 1/4” from the top and 1/4” deep.

These boxes also will include an accent strip groove which is located 1” from the bottom of the box and is 1/8” deep.

This concludes the milling process for the custom Buffalo Keepsake boxes. The next sequence will be the glue up process.

-- Mike --

8 comments so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 11-10-2009 07:38 PM

Great step by step process so far. Thanks and will look forward to your next steps.

-- John @

View Bret's profile


166 posts in 3516 days

#2 posted 11-10-2009 07:57 PM

This post reminded me of a question I’ve been dying to ask someone but keep forgetting….

Is there any difference between swinging the miter saw from left 45 to right 45 or flipping the stock over to accomplish the same thing? Is it a matter of preference, convenience, and shop layout, or is there a difference in the quality of the fit?

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#3 posted 11-10-2009 08:05 PM

A good beginning look forward to more.

I don’t know about others but I like to swing the miter around . You can flip the stock over and as long as your saw is accurate (most miters are not) then it will work fine.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View sras's profile


4805 posts in 3151 days

#4 posted 11-10-2009 08:20 PM

This should be fun to watch!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View wdkits1's profile


215 posts in 3375 days

#5 posted 11-10-2009 08:23 PM

The main reason that I swing the saw from side to side is because the stock is sequenced so that the grain runs all the way around the corners. Also I have adjusted the saw so that the miters are true 45 degree left and right.

-- Mike --

View Bret's profile


166 posts in 3516 days

#6 posted 11-10-2009 08:42 PM

I’ve always done the same—moving the saw, but was curious as to whether it would make a miter joint fit more preciesely to leave the saw fixed and move the stock. Doesn’t sound like there’s enough difference (if any) to justify the broken light fixtures. :-)

I too am looking forward to seeing how this comes out. I think most of my winter projects will be boxes, so all this recent activity has shown me a bunch of construction methods that I hadn’t though to try yet.

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#7 posted 11-10-2009 09:49 PM

Mike, this is a nice tutorial. The process that you are using is clearly documented. Thanks for taking the time to do this and I am looking forward to the next installment.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3580 days

#8 posted 11-11-2009 04:12 AM

Great job and I look forward to the rest of this tutorial. I Just have to sit down and try one of these Intarsia projects one of these days. I get Judy’s monthly newletters and enjoy reading them.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics