Box Display Cabinet #1: Well, its a start

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 05-08-2011 09:13 PM 2259 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Box Display Cabinet series no next part

For some time now I’ve been needing a display cabinet for my boxes. They are taking over the house and thats the prerogative of Sue’s ‘School Stuff’. So a cabinet. In the ideal world I’d start from scratch; fire up the CAD package, doodle away, spend hundreds (if not thousands) on the best materials. We are not living in the ideal world though. I’ve got the same cash flow problems everyone else has at present. So an idea took seed. Adapt an already existing cabinet.

The cheapest are around £80 ($120+), cheap and tacky. Never fear though. A while back I joined our local ‘Freecycle’ ( contraction of Free and recycle) group on the web. Here people put unwanted objects up for grabs for free. They are only going to be scrapped anyway so why not let someone get some use from them. I’ve already scored a 1980’s Bang and Olafson music centre (complete with remote control) from this source. Its the heart of our entertainments centre, providing decent sound for the flat screen tv and MP3 connectivity with a little adaption (I used to be in electronics).

Yesterday my ship came in. A display/storage corner cabinet came up for grabs. About 5’10” high and 2’6” wide. I collected it today. Its very ‘brown’, a descriptive if slightly derogatory term we used to use on a furniture course I did 2001-3. Well. its a start though. Here it is



An inspection revealed that its already been messed around with a little. Originally Ash veneered Ramin (or similar) and far Eastern ply, its been stained a muddy red/brown Mahogany ( traces of this on the Brass plated hinges). The leaded glass is the real McCoy but it makes my poor little boxes look like they’re banged up in a jail cell. There needs to be some action taken.

Finish is to be black. Plain glass in the front. Replace the two plywood shelves with three glass ones. Install a light in the top and possibly mirrors to the inside back (my own Tardis, it’ll look bigger on the inside than it is outside) though this might be a bit over the top. What the heck I might expand the top to the width of the bottom. Decisions decisions! Oh well it cost nothing so I’m not overly worried. Just dont want to make it look any uglier than it is now.

What do you think?

Am I flogging a dead horse?

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

17 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3712 days

#1 posted 05-08-2011 09:26 PM

Any port in a storm..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3473 days

#2 posted 05-08-2011 09:47 PM

no you have to go far more drastic to it …. in the good way
thinking the lovely small dollhouse lights ... but use leedlight instead and make stagespotlight
you can click on/off seperatly as you wish or make it automatic changing with different intervals
to highlight the single item on matblack background and shelfs with doors that has clear glass
and has a lighter colour outside that match the rest of your entriouer in the room
there shuold be thre to four spots to every single piece of art so you can make the shadows as you want

you have used so many hours on your beautyfull work so you have to make something that can match it :-)

good luck with it , I look forward to see what you come up with

take care

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3394 days

#3 posted 05-08-2011 09:56 PM

Fascinating ideas, Dennis. This really would be making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I’ll see what I can do.

I’ve already thought of another myself. Single clear glass panel for the bottom door and two shelves in there instead of one.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4443 days

#4 posted 05-08-2011 10:24 PM

It’ll Work! Glass doors… definitely glass doors. And light. It will be Beautiful. Good find, Martyn.

PS- and, additional glass shelves.


View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 05-08-2011 10:26 PM

it has good life yet
as you have thought to do

you could even change the period look
by doing some of your own ‘martyn mouldings’
over the old or replace them

just remember
‘he who hesitates is lost’

get cracking
before sue
needs it too

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View bigike's profile


4056 posts in 3646 days

#6 posted 05-08-2011 10:34 PM

very nice work, the boxes are great too.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3661 days

#7 posted 05-08-2011 10:44 PM

nice score mate…i trust you will do your works of art justice and will be righ in style with what you already do…oh yes..this could be very exciting indeed… the old term comes into play…LIGHTS…ACTION…CAMERA…...on with the show this is it….........

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4239 days

#8 posted 05-08-2011 11:41 PM

Flog away. As mentioned, glass will intensify the contents a lot.

I have lights in a lot of cabinets around the house. Karen and I never turn them on. Weird. They do make the nick nacky things inside look better. Dimmers might help, so as not to make things glow too much.

It will be neat to see what you do.

Are those LPs in the first photo?

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View mafe's profile


11946 posts in 3447 days

#9 posted 05-08-2011 11:54 PM

Glass doors! I want to see those boxes!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9238 posts in 3277 days

#10 posted 05-09-2011 03:39 AM

I think you found a wonderful starting point. When I first saw the picture, my first thought was that it wasn’t something that I would expect that you would pick. After reading about your planned modifications however, I can definitely see it come to be something that would serve you well. I am happy you are opting for all glass door fronts. I think that is absolutely necessary to properly display your fine work. I am also happy that you are replacing the leaded top glass with plain glass. Although I like leaded glass in many settings, this is one time when it would be just too overpowering. You want the focus to be on the treasures inside. The possibility of glass shelves is also very appealing. They will allow the most optimal illumination of your boxes and I think they are the way to go. Even your choice of black will be a great improvement. A clean and crisp backdrop. I am not sure if the mirrors would be something that would make the background a bit busy. (Just my thought. It may look good, but it is just that your pieces are so detailed that reflecting them back at the viewer from behind may take away from the boxes themselves)

Overall it is a great score and I look forward to seeing its metamorphosis. I am sure it will be awesome. Congratulations!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3462 days

#11 posted 05-09-2011 07:48 AM

Someone gave that away? You have some great ideas for making that a beautiful display spot for your boxes. Instead of mirrors, how about some lighter colored wood. Nothing too fancy, but those boxes deserve a nice background that doesn’t compete or detract.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3280 days

#12 posted 05-09-2011 02:22 PM

Glass walled and just framings all around. Mirror on the back wall, lights on the front post and glass doors. Shelvings to be transparent glass. ... That is how worth your boxes where to find home. Am I dreaming… that is the effect of hypnotoad.. and the others.. LOL.


-- Bert

View shipwright's profile (online now)


8286 posts in 3155 days

#13 posted 05-09-2011 07:50 PM

Good score Martyn. It already looks better on the inside than on the outside so why not bigger too. :-)

Glass doors for sure, but I sort of like the leaded top one, because it hides the contents a little. It makes you want to take a closer look and maybe open it up to get the full effect. Give them a little and make them explore to see more.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3394 days

#14 posted 05-09-2011 10:17 PM

Steve, yes they are LP’s, including a numbered box set of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and the Beatles White albums (intact). Unfortunately one of the cats has been using them as a scratching post so none of the sleeve edges are readable. Fortunately I know they’re in alphabetical order, none of them are Sue’s.

Well its looking like clear glass door top and bottom, glass shelves (two in bottom, three in top) and black lacquered outside, matt black inside. I would like to follow up David’s new moulding idea but I’ve made an unfortunate discovery. The top and bottom boards are MDF, with a moulded edge. That should be fun to trim neatly! First I’m going to model it on the CAD to see what it should look like. I’ll experiment with the lighting there and possibly once I’ve got the glass and done the re-modelling on the actual cabinet. Thank you all for your input. More anon.

Be seeing you.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View stefang's profile


16700 posts in 3692 days

#15 posted 05-11-2011 11:36 AM

The leaded glass door is very nice. If I were you I would use it on another piece or at least the glass portion if removable, and make a new glass door for your display cabinet.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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