Maple and Cherry Box #9: What I Learned and Wrapping Everything Up

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Blog entry by Cheapguy82 posted 01-22-2017 07:42 PM 906 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: 'Crossing the Finish Line' Part 9 of Maple and Cherry Box series no next part

I tried a handful of new things and learned a lot, building this box.

I did some things well and some not so much…

Some things that went poorly were due to my lack of equipment…and PATIENCE to properly check and double check that the equipment I had to work with was set up as precisely as possible before making any final cuts.

Other things went poorly because I’m inexperienced and/or a bit uncomfortable with some tools. Full disclosure – routers make me nervous. So far, I’ve been able to get by without using routers too much with my projects, but I think that this is just like anything else in life. Working on the things that I’m good at will not make me better at those in which I lack skill. Common sense, right? Well. I like sticking to my comfort zone. You know – that place where things go well and I keep all ten fingers intact. I like that place. I’ve just got to find ways to use tools that I’m uncomfortable with more safe so that I can focus on developing skill, rather than being able to teach my kid how to count all the way to ten with my own hands and no props.

Of the things that didn’t go well, two things stick out the most. First, cutting too deep in the bottom corners stick out to me the most as something to never do again. Secondly, not cutting ALL of the cherry pieces out in the beginning to the same dimensions so that they aligned all around the box sticks out. This was a planning mistake on my part, which is actually a good thing I think. It’s good because bonehead mistakes can be fixed next time if I just take my time and think. When I try to do this again, I will not have this issue. I’ll do a better job of planning and have a few extra pieces, rather than coming up short and figuring that I can make more to fit exactly.

Of the things that went well, four things stand out to me. First, the finger lifts came off just as advertised (thanks Boxguy (Al)!). I really liked making them and could see how I could modify them by changing angles to make each box its own and give each a little personality. Secondly, even though the detail didn’t line up as well as I would have liked, I like the look and stability of having a solid top on this box. I could see how I could use different woods and make pretty nice boxes using this method. Third, I’m pleased with how the inside of my box came out. The cherry and maple liner and compartments came out pretty well and I think that they make the box nice. Lastly, using tung oil, wipe on poly, and paste wax to finish this box was simple, pretty dummy proof, and looks very nice. I’ll be doing that again.

I like having this stuff written down so that I can go back and laugh about all the stuff that I screwed up. Hopefully in the future, I’ll go back and just shake my head (having not made the same mistakes in a long time). In any event, I plan on tracking progress of some of my future projects – especially as I try out new things.

Well, I suppose that’s about it. I really appreciate those of you who have followed along and especially those who have provided feedback. I hope that some of you have enjoyed the process and picked up a thing or two from my (mis)adventures. I hope to see that some of you continue to play along and see how I mess stuff up.


-- Stephen - Georgia

3 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


4354 posts in 2594 days

#1 posted 01-22-2017 10:02 PM

Very nice box and good self analysis. I have never made anything complicated that did not have a “problem or two”.

Figuring out the issues and working to correct them makes everyone better.

View Boxguy's profile


2864 posts in 2873 days

#2 posted 01-23-2017 11:35 PM

Stephen, I am glad your finish turned out as well as it did. Link to detailed finishing steps. How many coats of poly did you use?

The finger lifts really can be varied if you change the angles of the center and outside indents. Varying the depth of indents also gives variety. How to make finger indents. More about finger indent shapes.

One of the nice things about new tools is that you begin to think through them to get to a new way of doing something. That is to say a new tool lets you imagine a new technique or new look…at least that is what I tell myself when I am buying that tool. Have fun and enjoy playing out of your comfort zone.

I have 7 routers set up in my shop. Each comes through a board and has a different shape or size of bit in it. I hate the time it takes to set up a router bit so these help me to be able to just walk up to the tool, do the job, and walk on to the next step.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Cheapguy82's profile


83 posts in 1139 days

#3 posted 01-25-2017 04:22 PM

I ended up using two coats of poly as descibed in your procedure. I hit the surfaced with 0000 steel wool lightly before applying paste wax and buffing and the finish wasn’t as smooth as I wanted, so I hit the surfaces with some 1200 grit paper that I have JUST until all the little umperfections I felt went smooth. After that, I applied wax with 0000 wool and buffed with these pads that I had bought a while ago at an auto parts store (they sell them for buffing wax by hand). It worked like a charm.

Thanks for all your guidance!


-- Stephen - Georgia

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