Education and torment #1: Canary wood Box

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Blog entry by GeneR posted 12-15-2013 06:36 PM 2716 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Education and torment series Part 2: Red Oak Sandpaper Storage cabinet »

The box is 4” square and made from canary wood and walnut, with a birdseye maple and walnut top.

This started as an idea for the wifes Christmas present and grew to a little monster.

I first decided on the box size being determined buy the length and thickness of the piece of canary wood. the piece was about 28 in long 4 1/2” wide and 1/2” thick so 4” square gave me some screw up room.

At this time I figured I would use a 1/4” piece of plywood for the bottom and I cut a dado about 3/16” from the bottom on which would become the inside of the box.

I then laid out, numbered and cut the pieces on the miter saw to enable me to put them together so the grain will continually wrap around the box. I then cut the 45 degree angles for the corners on my table saw.
I did not want to leave plain plywood showing on the bottom so I veneered and dyed a piece of aromatic cedar veneer to it and set it aside to dry.

SO in this down time I decided to make the lid out of a piece of Birdseye maple scrap that did not have but 1 or 2 birdeye in the whole chunk. so I used rubber bands to mock up the box and got my dimension measurements for the inside of the lid Knowing that the exterior would be 4” square. This is where I should have started drinking but decided to stay sober as the lame brain crazy started coming out.
I cut the lid and decided that is was too plain and said I have done a little inlay marquetry I will inlay some walnut in an interlaced square pattern for some nice design detail. (this added a couple days to a simple project but did turn out nice)

So as I was waiting for the glue to dry on the top inlay it was back to the box. I mocked it up again with the bottom installed. at this point I used Watco Danish oil on what would be the inside and clear coated it with lacquer. and of course sanded it to 600 grit prior to finishing and also in between coats. I also sanded and did the same finish on the lid while I was waiting for the inside of the box to dry.

Before finishing the lid I also chamfered all the edges to 45 degrees and sand it to 600 grit as well.

Next I waxed the inside of the box for ease of removing glue squeeze out. I then assembled, glued the box and clamped it together with nothing more then rubber bands. This was a mistake to do this now as I decided later to add a thin strip of walnut across the top edge of the box. (this should have been done before cutting the original board apart.)

once the glue dried I spent hours trying to figure out how to spline it but did not want to do straight splines, or dovetailed splined and was too late to do a 45 spline down the centers of the corners. Then I had the not so bright idea of using a small walnut dowls drilled through. But I really did not want to see the dowels either. Now came another great test of patience I decided to try the greene and greene technique of using rounded square plugs. (this is very time consuming and tedious and will probably never do them again, well unless someone pays me a ton of cash. lol) That is the spline secret tit is doweled and hidden by the square plugs.

The plugs were not installed yet.
When I laid out the spline hole locations I laid out the square plug locations then drilled through the centers of the location to be able to hide the plugs.
to cut the plug holes I used a 1/2” hollow mortis chisel and hammered it in until it stopped and the used a forestner bit to drill to the depth I wanted. I then used a hand chisel to clean out and square up the holes. (this took a long time and was very tedious and there was lots of Cursing those Greene and Greene guys. lol)

It was after doing the splines when I decided it needed the walnut trim piece on the top edge of the box. so I glued it on with 45 degree miter cuts on it as well then sanded and chamfered the entire box on the router table.

I then sanded all sides an glued in the square plugs and filled the gaps with hand made putty. (Saw dust and glue to match the wood coloring) I then sanded all the putty smooth and finished it with Watco then about six coats of lacquer and then polished with steel wool and clear paste wax.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

1 comment so far

View MrWolfe's profile


1832 posts in 1579 days

#1 posted 10-21-2020 12:46 PM

Cool little box.
I like the end result and thanks for sharing your process.
Designing on the fly like this makes it interesting.
Thanks for sharing.

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