Shaker oval boxes, cherry

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Project by Jeremymcon posted 12-26-2017 10:27 PM 1183 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Shaker oval boxes made by my wife and I. She was actually really enjoying the process of whittling the bevel on the tails, hammering the tacks, and helping to fit the bottoms with a spokeshave!

These gave me a bit of trouble initially. I had made some in maple before and they actually went pretty well. A lot of these cherry bands broke on me though. I milled them myself with my bandsaw and planer, and some of them didn’t have perfectly straight grain like the maple ones I milled over the summer. Also, my shop is 20 degrees colder than it was in the summer!

By the time I figured out that I needed more insulation on my steamer box, a few that I needed to hold the bands in the escaping steam while bending them so they didn’t cool down too quickly, I had already broken most of the smaller ones, and a couple of the larger sizes.

What I hoped would be a dozen boxes ended up being only 7 total (one not pictured here).

I like the looks of the cherry ones though, and plan to make some more once my shop warms up a bit!

12 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


4504 posts in 2660 days

#1 posted 12-26-2017 10:31 PM

They look really nice

View Belg1960's profile


1104 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 12-26-2017 10:49 PM

These are something I’d like to learn more about any specific suggestions on where to get good info?
These came out very nice and you learned something in the process.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Jeremymcon's profile


408 posts in 1351 days

#3 posted 12-26-2017 11:39 PM

These are something I d like to learn more about any specific suggestions on where to get good info?
These came out very nice and you learned something in the process.

- Belg1960

John Wilson at has a free pdf on his website in the articles section! I also have a pdf copy of an article he wrote for fine woodworking magazine, I believe.

I bought the copper tacks from him too.

He also sells everything you could need to make them – bending forms to veneers for bending, top and bottom stock, even copper or galvanized trays to boil the strips in!

I chose to mill my own strips, and bend them in a steamer box rather than boiling them. I also used a spokeshave to fit the bottoms, when John uses a power sander of some sort.

Fwiw – I think he maybe thinks about them too much! He sells like a million different tacks, for example. I found that I really only needed the no 2 for the small boxes and no 2 1/2 for boxes up to #4. Also he used different thicknesses of veneer for each size box. I’m not sure that’s necessary either. I basically used 2 thicknesses – one thinner for the #1 and #2, thicker for the rest. In maple I found I only needed the thicker strips, but the cherry didn’t bend as well, so needed to be thinner for the small boxes.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1319 days

#4 posted 12-27-2017 12:00 AM

Looking good, Jeremy. As these little boxes are no easy feat, I think you and your bride did a great job. Kudos!

View BurlyBob's profile


7176 posts in 2937 days

#5 posted 12-27-2017 12:25 AM

I agree those are really great looking boxes. I’ve long admired them but have as yet never tried them. I’m definitely going to look into that website. Thank you.

View PaulDoug's profile


2359 posts in 2375 days

#6 posted 12-27-2017 12:30 AM

Yours look great. I’ve been studying these boxes for the last couple months and will be trying they this next year. I ordered info from John Wilson to get me started. I want to incorporate the scroll saw with them so I will try some inlay on the tops of the lids.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4006 days

#7 posted 12-27-2017 12:47 AM

Very nice work these beautiful boxes Jeremy.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jeremymcon's profile


408 posts in 1351 days

#8 posted 12-27-2017 01:08 AM

Pauldoug – I could see scroll saw work looking neat in a lid. Your scrolls awesome work is fantastic BTW! I just browsed through your projects.

View ronstar's profile


566 posts in 4382 days

#9 posted 12-27-2017 01:57 PM

Very nice boxes!

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3538 days

#10 posted 12-27-2017 03:05 PM

This is a beautiful collection of Shaker oval boxes with lots of nice features and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Grumpy's profile


26113 posts in 4523 days

#11 posted 12-27-2017 10:28 PM

Nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Belg1960's profile


1104 posts in 3737 days

#12 posted 01-18-2018 09:58 AM

Jeremy, Thank you very much for the info.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

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