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Project by kiefer posted 10-21-2014 08:54 PM 2856 views 7 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this box to send to a friend that are building a log cabin in the Canadian Rockies and their climate is rather humid whereas our climate is fairly dry most of the year .
I was a little worried about the top of the box expanding from the humidity and thought that a floating top would be the way to go to overcome this problem.
This is how I made this box which also has internal splines as I thought normal corner splines would distract from the look that I was looking for .
I took some pictures of the build that should explain the build better then I can put into words .

The piece of aspen I used .

The mitred sides grooved for the splines ,top and bottom .

The top panel groved

Dry fit of the top looking from the bottom of the box.
The top panel fits nice with room to expand .
The splines glued into the grooves ,the sline that will be in the lid portion is flush with the sides and the spline that will be the support for the tray is left protruding .
The splines that fit into the left and right sides are cut short so that the front and back splines can extend into the mitres and act as a tenon to reinforce the mitre joint ,the bottom made of plywood also will be glued and further reinforce the mitre joint .
The top panel does not get glued as it needs to expand and contract over the seasons .

The mortises for the leather hinges chiseled out before the top and bottom are separated to ensure good alignment .

The cut height for the separation of the lid set and the left and right sides are only cut partially cut through whereas the front and back are cut all the way through ,the lid is then completely separated with a hand saw and the remaining waste planed of .
This is followed by sanding on the flat sander to level the lid and box mating joint for a good fit .

The hinge covers glued in place with the leather sandwiched in between using CA glue .
Just a little tray with a pine cone as a lift to make and some beating up of the surface with various tools and a lether latch with a horseshoe nail .
Some BLO to bring out the colour and wait for it to mature in colour .
I think I will use this type of construction for future boxes as some of my boxses seem to wind up in some different climates and will survive better using this type of construction as opposed to the top panel glued to the sides which has caused problems over time .

I hope they will enjoy this box and find a purpose for it .


-- Kiefer

24 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 10-21-2014 09:12 PM

What a perfect box this is Klaus. The wood is spectacular, almost like a desert painting and the construction is very nicely done too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Andre's profile


2695 posts in 2257 days

#2 posted 10-21-2014 09:24 PM

Pretty nice, that piece of Aspen looks familiar!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4228 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 10-21-2014 09:39 PM

Very nicely done my friend.
I am sure your friend the recipient will love this piece.
Thank you for including the excellent photos of your build too.
This always helps those new to the craft, and I am sure is appreciated.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2744 days

#4 posted 10-21-2014 09:46 PM

Very attractive box with interesting construction details, especially the internal splines and floating top and bottom panels. I’m sure your friends will treasure your work. Thanks for sharing.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2964 days

#5 posted 10-21-2014 10:03 PM

Very nice Klaus, I’ve heard that with our box making at their size there’s very little movement if any at all and was told that it’s not a concern, I’m not an expert on this though.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View kiefer's profile


5659 posts in 3118 days

#6 posted 10-21-2014 10:15 PM

Yes that is one prtty looking piece of wood but with that much character it’s hard to find something to go with it .

Thats the piece you are thinking of and it called for being this box .

I too hope they like it and I also hope this will help someone make a box .

Yes this method worked out great as it also makes things easy to line up when assembling .

Some woods will move more than others but they are all unpredictable so why not use this as a little insurance .
I have a oak box that I built some years ago and when we moved here suddenly the bottom which is solid wood decided to crack after many years .

-- Kiefer

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6737 posts in 3804 days

#7 posted 10-21-2014 10:23 PM

How can anyone say they don’t like this beautiful box. The wood grain and finish are spectacular! I love how you come up with the way the box should be constructed by knowing what climate it’s going to live in. You truly are a great craftsman Sir Kiefer! Your friend is one fortunate guy to have you in his life!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Roger's profile


21007 posts in 3255 days

#8 posted 10-21-2014 10:37 PM

A real beauty Klaus. I really like the hinges.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View kiefer's profile


5659 posts in 3118 days

#9 posted 10-21-2014 10:48 PM

Thanks Tony
I always try to make something special for someone and this pice of wood just wanted to be this box and worked out to my liking .
Climate is a thing to keep in mind and you probably know living in Florida ,I see wooden boxes from oversees that just self distract because of change in humidity .

Give those hinges a try ,very inexpensie and easy to make and I never have to order a pair .

-- Kiefer

View hoss12992's profile


4149 posts in 2344 days

#10 posted 10-21-2014 11:46 PM

That looks great. Love the floating tip. Great job buddy

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View doubleDD's profile


8536 posts in 2495 days

#11 posted 10-22-2014 12:15 AM

Not only a great looking box but now we have the tech-knowledge of built in climate control. I have to say I don’t think I would of ever considered this and I am finishing a jewelry box for my sister in law in Florida. I will have to tell her to keep it in the air conditioned house. LOL. Love those hinges too.
Thanks for the tip. Perhaps something we all should think about when building for different locations.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View DocSavage45's profile


8850 posts in 3294 days

#12 posted 10-22-2014 12:24 AM


Your at it again! I like the balance and pattern. I’ve not seen splines used this way. I probably wouldn’t have considered the differences in climate although ours here in MN is all over the place from summer to winter. Ghessh another thing to think about! LOL!

Another thing to put on my list when I ask myself “What would Klaus Kiefer do in this situation?”

Great and elegant work.

Thanks for the pictures but I don’t think it’s your communication, I think it’s because you conceptualize waaay beyond us amateurs! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View jbschutz's profile


570 posts in 3143 days

#13 posted 10-22-2014 01:24 AM

Klaus, nice box, buddy….....great piece of timber and the construction is top notch. You have taken care of everything to make this a box that lasts for generations.

-- jbschutz

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2860 days

#14 posted 10-22-2014 01:39 AM

Nice design, nice build, and nice box!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View kiefer's profile


5659 posts in 3118 days

#15 posted 10-22-2014 03:41 AM

Thanks Hoss
The floating tup is my answerand I think it will prove itself.

I hope your box works out and has no problems with humidity but you can always fix it when you are visiting in Florida which would do you good .
Give those leather hinges a try .

Don’t worry about what I would do just do it and enjoy your project and post it for all of us to enjoy .

I hope you are right and it will last as my name is on the bottom and the date too.
That piece of wood just spoke to me and I just worked it until it was happy to be what it wanted to be ,RUSTIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks and I gave it a good try by listening .

-- Kiefer

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