Boxguy Tutors Jack In The Box

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Project by Boxguy posted 11-18-2017 01:40 AM 2342 views 13 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for taking time to look at this posting. Your questions and comments are what make posting these projects fun for me to do. I try to reply to all comments. So, check back for feedback.

Pictured: A box (L 9 1/2” X W 6” X H 6”) that Handsome Jack made. The sides are made of Bloodwood Box Elder and a top and corner splines are figured Black Cherry. It features an attached top, hinged lid, splined corners, and faux feet.

The splined corners with matching grain turned out great in Jack’s box.

Story: Handsome Jack is a high school student who has been working with me for a couple of years now. I pay him to help with maintenance and projects that work better with two men. He joins me once a week and we work on projects together. We work from three to five hours depending on how much homework he has to do, or how much he has to do at his house.

Sometimes we cut grass…there is lots of that to do in the summer.

Sometimes we install new things in the shop like a big green board to hang jigs, new LED lighting and a six-inch pipe to hold wires.

For several weeks we worked on plumbing and wiring while installing a compressor in the basement of the shop.

Working together on projects involves laughing, and kidding back and forth when we mess up on our part of a project. In short, we have fun.

During the winter months, Jack has been helping with finishing boxes and recently we made this box for him to take home.

I think that it is important to pass woodworking skills on to the next generation. Very few schools teach Industrial Arts classes now. Where else are kids going to learn about woodworking if guys on Lumber Jocks don’t teach them?

Look here for tips on teaching boxmaking.

Keep boxing, keep posting, and start teaching.

Tutorials: For methods used to make boxes like the one pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic.

Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Jig for 45ing corners:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Finishing tips:
$5 band clamps:
Combining Wood Colors:
Sizing Tea Boxes and Dividers From Venetian Blinds
Making Kleenex boxes:
Making music boxes
Routers and Rounding edges
Why round box corners?
Organizing a glue-up table:
Adding splines to a box:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Cutting off the box top and sizing piano hinges
Adding finger indents:
More about finger indents.
Mortising and installing hinges:
Tips on making sliding trays: for inside boxes:
Cutting cloth liners for trays and the bottom of boxes.
Swapping Wood By Mail:
Making a serving tray with angled sides.
Roy Underhill's tool tote.
Teaching Boxmaking

-- Big Al in IN

26 comments so far

View pumperdude's profile


27 posts in 2526 days

#1 posted 11-18-2017 01:53 AM

It is so nice of you to take him under your wing and teach him the craft. Some people keep their trade secrets close to the vest. I review your post quite often and admire your tips and tricks. You must have had a good teacher yourself.. THANKS

View Scott Dirt Road Woodworks's profile

Scott Dirt Road Woodworks

171 posts in 1832 days

#2 posted 11-18-2017 02:16 AM

That’s awesome youre teaching him woodworking skills. I had to teach myself and sometimes it hurt. Maybe my middle finger would work a little better if I had been shown some better saftey techniques on my table saw.


View pottz's profile


6345 posts in 1493 days

#3 posted 11-18-2017 02:57 AM

big al let me give a gig hug buddy,god I love people who give of themselves and share what they have in monetary or more importantly,knowledge the greatest gift we can give.i can appreciate what you have done because I tried for years to pass on the gift of woodworking to my own son,he never was interested until this last year and now the the flood gate of yerning for knowledge has opened wide.your a good man al-god bless,oh and before I forget,a nice box as always. ps-your now on my buddy list weather you like it or not!-LOL.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View drewpy's profile


966 posts in 1865 days

#4 posted 11-18-2017 03:35 AM

Great story and great box. Keep up the wonderful box making and teaching.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View Boxguy's profile


2855 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 11-18-2017 04:53 AM

Replies To Comments:

, thanks for the kind comments. I did have fine teachers. A couple dealt in wood most of them dealt in knowledge about the world and how people work. Teaching often works both ways. Jack has things to teach me, and i certainly am grateful for his help on projects. I don’t climb up ladders as well as he does. He makes touching the floor look so easy. It has been a joy to watch him grow and learn.

Dude, it is time for you to post some projects.

Linkovitch, all woodworkers dread getting injured by the tools of the trade. I have tried to teach myself and Jack to have good work habits. I also never work in the shop when I am tired or not alert. That is asking for trouble. Hope you continue to heal.

You have made some beautiful boxes. I like the variety in what you do.

Pottz, thanks for the “buddy.” It is always an honor to be so blessed. I am glad your son came around to woodworking. My son is a fine man and a good father and husband who is very skilled in what he does, but woodworking was not his thing. So, that freed me up to “adopt” other young men who did want to learn about woodworking. Several of them now have their own shops and are working on their own projects. So I guess in a sense they have “graduated.” In my book, that is a good thing.

Drew, thanks for taking time to comment and encouraging me to keep posting. I liked the variety of projects…lamps, boxes, clocks, trivets. Fun, well done projects.

-- Big Al in IN

View DocSavage45's profile


8865 posts in 3351 days

#6 posted 11-18-2017 04:56 AM


always the teacher. LOL! Pass it forward

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Scott Dirt Road Woodworks's profile

Scott Dirt Road Woodworks

171 posts in 1832 days

#7 posted 11-18-2017 05:01 AM

Thanks Al. You’re always so nice.
I hope to have a few more projects done soon.


View pottz's profile


6345 posts in 1493 days

#8 posted 11-18-2017 05:07 AM

al thank you for making this a great Friday night my new “BUDDY”.this is lumber jocks!and what makes it the greatest forum on the net!!!!.god bless woodworkers!!!

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View robscastle's profile


6362 posts in 2713 days

#9 posted 11-18-2017 06:51 AM

Nice post, ... but where is a picture of Handsome Jack.

nice mowing too, ... did you do that with a push mower (powered one that is) or ride on?

-- Regards Rob

View pottz's profile


6345 posts in 1493 days

#10 posted 11-18-2017 07:16 AM

Nice post, ... but where is a picture of Handsome Jack.

nice mowing too, ... did you do that with a push mower (powered one that is) or ride on?

- robscastle

damn rob, I cant take you anywhere! he has a gardner!.this is America-I told you don’t mow our own lawns!-LOL,

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6826 posts in 3861 days

#11 posted 11-18-2017 11:05 AM

Great post Al!
Teaching the young is very important and I often wonder where I would have gotten my start in woodworking if it weren’t for the shop classes I took in High School back in the 60’s; Metal shop, Woodshop and Drafting. Now most schools have dropped those classes. It’s great that you take the time to help Handsome Jack; what he learns will affect the rest of his life. Well done sir!
The box turned out wonderful! The grain is so beautiful. Outstanding work guys!

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

View Boxguy's profile


2855 posts in 2776 days

#12 posted 11-18-2017 11:49 AM

Replies to Comments:

Doc, you have caught me at it again. Teaching without a license is probably illegal where you live, but here in Southern Indiana I can get by with it.

Linkovitch, and Pottz, what nice responses, thanks. Have a nice weekend. Make some sawdust.

Rob, Jack and I cut grass with a 35 HP Kabota tractor. I took a picture of Handsome Jack mowing this spring, but I couldn’t find it for this post. Here I am using the tractor.

My buddy, Joe, helped me mow when I was ill.

This is my future helper.

Pottz, I agree. You probably can’t take Rob too many places. I think that is why we see him at home doing great woodworking projects all the time.

I wouldn’t call Handsome Jack a gardener. My motto is: ”If you can’t bushhog it or chainsaw it, don’t plant it.” That said, Handsome Jack loves to drive the tractor. He smiles and sings while he mows. Makes me feel guilty paying a kid to have that much fun. This tractor with power steering, hydrostatic transmission, and four-wheel drive makes cutting the lawn fun to do. Cutting a five foot wide swath, it will mow five acres of lawn in about two and a half hours.

Tony, thanks for the kind words, always great to hear from you again. You are really stacking up the project posts. Those drawers for your bench look beautiful. Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Steffy did a great job of teaching shop classes when I was a high school freshman. Of course I also learned from my dad.

-- Big Al in IN

View EarlS's profile


3091 posts in 2856 days

#13 posted 11-18-2017 12:22 PM

Hey Al – another nice box and a great post. My better half keep asking me when I’m going to make her another jewelry box to go with the one I bought from you.

I can relate to Pottz except from the other side. I wasn’t really very interested in woodworking when I was in HS. During college I was busy learning engineering. After college it took another 5 years before I started to get interested. I learned some basics from time spent with my dad when we would visit them, and the rest has been self-taught.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3375 days

#14 posted 11-18-2017 12:56 PM

Al, I love your home and the beautiful setting that it has. You do beautiful work on your boxes and I really do appreciate the way you share your experience and knowledge. Thanks for all of the information and advice that you put into this post and others. Did you ever consider writing a book about box making? It’s about time for another good box making book! Or, if you have already written such a book I would like to buy a copy. Thanks

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jeffswildwood's profile


4054 posts in 2486 days

#15 posted 11-18-2017 12:58 PM

Al, first that is a beautiful box. Well done! Second, what you are doing for young Jack is wonderful. The memories you and him are making will stay with him a lifetime. I agree, we need to pass our skills along.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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