Making a Small Wooden Box #4: It's the Small Details that Matter

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Don posted 08-28-2007 08:11 AM 21176 reads 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Lid and Trays Part 4 of Making a Small Wooden Box series Part 5: More Detail »

After my detour to make this box, I’m back to working on the box that is the subject of this blog series.

Today I worked on the small details of the trays.

The longer I make boxes the more I realize that it’s the small details that distinguish a well made box. Unlike larger furniture pieces, boxes beg to be picked up and examined closely and in detail. There is no such thing as a hidden back or bottom; all surfaces need to be treated with equal importance.

The series of pictures below show the attention I pay to the trays.

These trays are made up of nine pieces; 4 sides, three dividers and a two part laminated bottom.

The bottom is a Maple veneer I cut on my band-saw. It is laminated to 3mm MDF for stability. The Maple shows on the bottom of the tray. The MDF will take a laminated pad which I will show in another episode of this series.

This is the bottom of the tray showing the Maple veneer.

Here I am setting up to scribe an arc for the handles. I use my Bessey Clamps and a thin strip of wood to form the arc which I copy directly to the wood and then cut on my band-saw.

This picture shows the tray components after cutting the arc, rounding over the top edges and cutting a half-lap joint using my dado blades for a precise fit.

Finally the assembled tray with the dividers dry fitted. It’s probably too hard to pick it, but I have made an allowance for the thickness of the padded lining that will be installed in the bottom of the tray. When that is done, the dividers will match the sides of the tray perfectly.

There are two of these trays. The lower dividers and rail supports for the tray will be made next.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

15 comments so far

View 's profile

593 posts in 5129 days

#1 posted 08-28-2007 10:25 AM

Did I ever say that: “I just love your small boxes”, Don?

View Kaleo's profile


201 posts in 5297 days

#2 posted 08-28-2007 10:54 AM

Nice job Don- I really like the step by step pictures. Where did you get the maple vveneer over here? Keep them coming Don.

-- Kaleo ,

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5223 days

#3 posted 08-28-2007 11:22 AM

Don, beautiful box. How will you suspend the tray inside the box? Will it simply rest on the bottom or will it “float” somewhere in the box? If floating, how will you accomplish this – by inserting a track on the ends, or perhaps having one of your splined miters go all the way through to the inside of the box? Just curious and trying to get some ideas from the master. I love small wooden boxes also – just can’t make them as well as you can.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5334 days

#4 posted 08-28-2007 11:53 AM

Quote Kaleo: ”Where did you get the maple veneer over here?” (Australia)

Kaleo, I purchased some American Maple from Matthews Timber in Vermont in the form of 25mm rough-cut timber and milled it down to 19mm (3/4”). I then sliced a 3mm sheet of veneer on my band-saw.

Quote cajunpen: ”How will you suspend the tray inside the box?”

Bill, your question will be answered tomorrow.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5137 days

#5 posted 08-28-2007 12:33 PM

Hi Don;

Great photo’s. Are you cheating?

I mean I counted two hands in the picture, and I’m guessing you needed two hands for the camera.

Just how many hands do you have?

Beautiful work, and I like the fact you manage to take a small topic, (small wooden boxes), and come up with so many variables. Was this choice in creating your boxes due to shop size?

I rarely ever, other than my demilune tables make the same thing twice, so I never truly master a topic.

You are truly a master!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5119 days

#6 posted 08-28-2007 01:12 PM

Thanks, Don. I’m getting an education here for free.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5334 days

#7 posted 08-28-2007 01:48 PM

Lee, you have no idea how encouraging I find your comments considering your high standard of work. I’m just an recreational woodworker. (Definition of a recreational woodworker – one who doesn’t show how many pieces he messes up before he gets it right.)

The tripod is always my friend when taking pictures – this old man could hold a camera steady to save his life. LOL

Yes, Lee you’ve got it correct – my shop is simply too small to make anything large. My largest project to date was a real pain to make; all of the assembly work had to be done outside.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5235 days

#8 posted 08-28-2007 03:08 PM

Another outstanding pictorial Don. Thanks so much for your help in woodworking.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5558 days

#9 posted 08-28-2007 04:01 PM

Don: Did you pick up your wood when you were in Canada or did you have it shipped to Aussy Ville.

Great tour through the box making. The Bessy clamp trick for making the curve are neet.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 5280 days

#10 posted 08-28-2007 04:20 PM

I love this can’t wait to see the rest of what you are going to do with it.


View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5194 days

#11 posted 08-28-2007 04:42 PM

You’re not blogging fast enough, Don! Not fast enough, I say!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5404 days

#12 posted 08-28-2007 07:09 PM

DON, you are a master, I just love your small wooden boxes. You do make it look easy, and I know it is’nt. Why are we all so damn critical of you anyway, is it because you criticize our work? mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5334 days

#13 posted 08-29-2007 12:55 AM

Quote jockmike2: ”Why are we all so ,,, critical of you anyway, is it because you criticize our work?”

Sorry, my friend, I don’t understand this line.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14191 posts in 5140 days

#14 posted 08-29-2007 01:14 AM

Great topic.
Only stumbled on to it today.
Clamp and strip of wood to make the arch is a good trick never noticed before. Afraid I’ll have to borrow that one.
Been using a strip of wood and some picture wire …... bow-style, but like your method better.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View DocK16's profile


1199 posts in 5244 days

#15 posted 08-29-2007 05:53 AM

Have enjoyed this whole series, I like the neat trick with getting the arc with the strip and the clamp. You’re just full of neat little tips. Keep’em coming.

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