Maple and Cherry Box #7: Fixes, Finger Joints, Sanding, and Finishing Prep

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Blog entry by Cheapguy82 posted 01-16-2017 05:30 PM 959 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Splines, Shaping, Sanding, and (Unfortunately) More 'Learning Experiences' Part 7 of Maple and Cherry Box series Part 8: 'Crossing the Finish Line' »

I’ve been sick for about a week, so I was unable to do anything with this project so for those of you who are following along and looking forward to my next entry, my apologies for the delay.

All of the repairs set up pretty well and are stable. I tried making a paste with sawdust and glue for the repairs to the maple (in each of the four corners, where my router bit went too deep), but the color isn’t right. They’re stable, and the box is for me, so it’s ok. I think part of the issue with how the repairs turned out was that the glue that I’m using for this project dries with a yellowish tint. In the past, I’ve had a lot more success but was using a different glue that dries clear. Next time, I think I’ll just make sure to not go too deep. A novel idea, I know.

some repairs (I’ll provide closeups in my next blog entry)

Once I did a little sanding to get all the glue off the outside of my box, it was time to cut off the top. I had seen a video, suggesting to cut almost through the wood and finishing up with a sharp box cutting knife. This process works well. The issue that I ran into was that for some reason, my table saw wasn’t cutting exactly straight. Normally, being off by a gnat’s behind over a couple feet is no big deal, but on a box, it turns out to not be good enough. The cuts need to be bang on. I really don’t know what the deal is with it, so I’ll have to do some research. At the time it just was what it was. Anyone have any guidance on this?

For my finger indentions, I went to my local Lowe’s and picked up a pack of these sanding drums that come in grits between 50 and 120 (and a spindle to mount them on) for use in my drill press. I popped on an 80 grit drum, put a piece of wood under the back end of my box to keep a somewhat consistent angle, and got shaping/sanding. This worked like a champ, really. I used the tutorial that Boxguy (Al) has for guidance on measuring and controlling angles to change how the lifts look. Good stuff for those of you who are interested. I’m really pleased for a first effort for sure. (below for top off and finger indents done pics)

For the inside of the box, there were two things that I needed to do. First, I needed to make a lining for my friction fit setup. I decided to do this with cherry and I used my table saw and sled to sneak up on the right cuts. I rounded the corners over with my belt sander. Secondly, I decided to make one compartment that was split into two rows and a piece of wood with a notch that slides along, locking the items in place. I plan on eventually making a box to go into the large space so that I will have two levels to stack small items on, but for right now, I’m happy with how it is. I made this part out of the curly maple that I have left.

(this has tung oil on it, so it’s a bit of a peek ahead – but I wanted to show the inside compartments and didn’t take a photo before I put the finish on)

After that, I got to sanding. I hit everything, going through the grits that I have on hand. 60, 120, 220, 400, then 1200. Again, I am following a finishing method that I read about on here that goes to 320 instead of 400 and 800 instead of 1200, but I had these grits on hand, and I hope that it doesn’t make much of a difference.

Until finishing, the outside of this box is done. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with how it came out and about learning more about fixing mistakes. I found out some things about my tools that I’ll need to address

-- Stephen - Georgia

2 comments so far

View magaoitin's profile


249 posts in 1556 days

#1 posted 01-17-2017 12:25 AM

The Trials and Tribulations my friend have made that box magical. Very well written piece and a finely crafted box.

How you can overcome the problems and not let the little problems plague you is the toughest part of woodworking for me. The first split or crack and I am okay and can repair and move past, the second and my blood starts to boil, by the time the third, whatever happens, suddenly I’m Bruce Banner and its all HULK – SMASH.

Well done! I look forward to the finish.

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

View Cheapguy82's profile


83 posts in 1141 days

#2 posted 01-18-2017 12:52 AM

Thanks Jeff! I’m usually right there with you after a repair or two for sure. I definitely had a few moments where I had to walk away and take a deep breath or two.

I think that wrapping my head around the ideas that (1) the idea with this project was that this was going to be a learning experience for me and (2) that it was going to end up actually being for me – and not someone else – were the only things that kept me in it until the end.

I plan on having a ‘what I learned’ entry to wrap things up that’ll talk a bit more about the project from a ‘things that kept me from turning this thing into firewood’ prospective.

Thanks for the comment and I hope that you like the end product, especially knowing all the ugly little secrets that it has.

-- Stephen - Georgia

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