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Project by Timmy2Hands posted 12-21-2019 02:38 AM 731 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I want to thank Matt Kenney (@mekwoodworks) for his work on the book “52 Boxes in 52 Weeks”. This piece was wholly influenced by his design, but it is not a direct copy of any one of his boxes.

Cherry sides, Sepele lid, Ebony handle, and plywood bottom. All parts are 1/4” thick.

7” long, 3.5” wide, and 3” tall. The handle is 1/2” tall and has a bevel from 5/16” wide at the top down to 3/16” at the base. The finish is Arm-R-Seal satin topcoat.

The slight bevel of the Ebony pull feels just right when lifting the lid

Besides my tiny pill box theses are the thinnest box parts I have ever done at just 1/4” thick.

The rabbet for the lid and the bottom panel are just 1/8” x 1/8”

This is some 8/4 cherry that was left over from my Sofa Table build

The area of the boards above these lines is quarter sawn and has a beautiful ray fleck pattern and I’ll keep it for later.

I’ll mark it off and rip cut it.

Well folks, after five years of strictly working with only hand tools I decided that my shop needed an apprentice to make the long rip cuts and resaw cuts that take way too long to do by hand.

It’s a Laguna 14twelve and I’m running a 3/4” Resaw King carbide tipped blade.

(don’t spend $135 on the light from Laguna, Get a $10 sewing machine light off Amazon)

I’m going to resaw thin strips off the face of this stock, so I need to flatten it first

Winding sticks are used at either end to check for twist.

They make it very obvious which sides are high and which are low.

I then use my jointer plane to flatten the stock and remove the twist.

I like where the sapwood and heartwood transition. I use a panel guage to mark the width I need, this will also determint the height of the box. I go back to the bandsaw and rip cut the waste.

I then cleanup the saw marks with my #7 jointer plane and make sure the edge is 90 degrees to the face and mark the reference face and edge.

Back to the bandsaw again to resaw two strips that are a little over 5/16” thick and then trim them to the length I want at the bench with my crosscut backsaw.

Now I get out my 4 1/2 smoothing plane to cleanup the saw marks and get both panels to the exact same thickness of 1/4”

The shooting board is used to cleanup the ends and get both pieces to the exact same length.

I need to cut a rabbet on the top and bottom of each board. A marking guage is set to 1/8” and I mark out all of the cuts.

I don’t have a tail vise so this is my solution instead.

I have a Veritas Rabbet Plane, but the cuts are so small I decided to use my shoulder plane instead. You have to be careful with the first cut, but if you use your fingers as a fence it’s not too hard to run the corner of the shoulder plane right in the guage line. After one or two passes the shoulder is established and you can concentrate on not cutting too deep and going past the line.

I’m trying out the technique of resawing a board and turning it “inside out” to get the grain to wrap around all four corners of the box.

You have to remeber to cut the side pieces off of opposite ends of the boards for this to work.

The sides are cut off and the ends are cleaned up at the shooting board, making sure that the long pieces and the short pieces are exactly the same size.

The donky’s ear is used to cut the long miters on each of the pieces.

Blue tape is used to clamp things up and make sure the miters are tight.

Pinch sticks are a great way to capture an inside dimension on things where you can’t easily fit a ruler. The binder clip keeps things in place while you transfer the measurement to something like an adjustable square.

I mark out and cut a piece of 1/4” Baltic Birch plywood for the bottom panel.

I picked up this beautiful vintage Brown and Sharpe model at an antique store for 12 bucks including the bevel protractor. It still has the scriber too.

I cut the panel just outside the guage line.

Clean it up at the shooting board until I get and exact fit.

The visable edge of the plywood will be stained black with some Arm-R-Seal gel stain before finishing.

Time for the glue up.

I use plywood for the bottom panel because it won’t move too much with seasonal changes so it can be glued into the rabbet all the way around and really helps to reinforce the mitered corner joints.

Now I go and get every clamp in the neighborhood and squeeze the ever livin’ sh…..

Just Kidding.

I know it looks like a lot, but I’m really not putting too much pressure on any of these. Just enough to hold things exactly where I wan them.

The easiest way to cleanup and even out the top of the box is on some sandpaper glued to a flat surface.

I don’t have an air compressor, I use Duster to keep the paper clean and extend it’s life.

The router plane is used to cleanup the bottom of the rabbet and make sure that it is still 1/8” deep after we sanded down some of the top edge.

I guess I’m a belt and suspenders kinda guy. having the bottom panel glued in will help keep the miters together, but I’m going to add keys as well. Just one on each corner.

I use my rip cut tennon saw for this cut.

I found that two thicknesses of comercially available veneer fit perfectly into the kerf cut made by this saw.

I use Titebond Liquid Hide glue for this and glue in the pieces double thick.

While the glue is drying I move on to fitting the lid panel

It’s done in the same way as the bottom panel was.

I mark out the 1/4” thickness and get out my scrub plane.

I chamfer each edge right down to the guage line.

I then trap the workpiece in the corner of these two planing stops and work across the grain until I get to within 1/16” or less to the line.

I switch over to a planing board with a very low wooden fence and get out the smoothing plane to finish it right to the line.

The grain in Sepele runs in different directions so getting a nice finish off the plane is nearly impossible.

I use blue tape and super glue or carpet tape to hold the board in place while I hand sand with 150 and then 220 grit.

A little mineral spirits shows me what the contrast in the two species will look like with finish.

The next morning I trim the keys flush and get out the smoothing plane, card scraper, and sanding blocks for the final cleanup.

I cut off a piece of Ebony for the handle. It’s 5/8” x 5/16” and I used the narrow dimension of the lid to determine it’s length.

I planed it down to 1/2” tall x 5/16” wide and then added a bevel to the front and back from 5/16” wide at the top down to 3/16” at the bottom.

I also put a slight bevel on the two ends. I don’t know the angle, I just clamped two paint sticks to the fence of the shooting board and shot the ends until the cut met the top edge.

It’s centered up and glued on with hide glue.


I did three coats of Arm-R-Seal Satin Top Coat with a light sanding with 400 grit between each coat.

After about a week of curing I’ll add some Alfie Shine Hard Wax Polish and buff it out.

I hope you enjoyed following along, If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them.

Tim McCoy – Timmy2Hands

I’m training to become a professional boxer…

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

12 comments so far

View therealSteveN's profile


5735 posts in 1341 days

#1 posted 12-21-2019 04:23 AM

Excellent box, excellent picture post of your journey, and a shout out to a great book. Kinda makes for a great post. Nice job.

I must say though, that last pic, has much more BOOM than Matt’s Milk painted assembly. I’ll take that wild grain any day over paint. I’d say you looked, learned, then went past your motivation. Very nice job there.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Timmy2Hands's profile


200 posts in 1732 days

#2 posted 12-21-2019 05:27 AM

I’ll take that wild grain any day over paint.

Thanks, Steve.
I have to say that this piece is much more subtle as far as the wood grain is concerned, but this design really needs that staight grain look in order to work so well.
But, stay tuned…Here is a sneak peak at the board I’m using for my next box project.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

View Acts65Woodworks's profile


108 posts in 1310 days

#3 posted 12-21-2019 07:45 AM

beautiful box! thanks for sharing the process

-- Steven, California,

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


1629 posts in 314 days

#4 posted 12-21-2019 08:43 AM

Well done on the play by play, very informative. I had forgotten about pinch-sticks as a measuring device, now I can make use of some scrap cutoffs.

Thanks for the post.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: Because cheese isnt a healthy source of cheese, I will use grated cucumber to top off this raw food vegan pizza.

View recycle1943's profile (online now)


4450 posts in 2389 days

#5 posted 12-21-2019 11:59 AM

thanks for reminding me of the pinch sticks and thanks for sharing your journey with pictures of a great looking box

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View BB1's profile


1638 posts in 1615 days

#6 posted 12-21-2019 12:43 PM

Wonderful work and greatly enjoyed going along through all the progress pictures and narrative. Thanks for sharing! I am interested in your use of hide glue. I’ve never used it – what do you see as the advantages over other glues for this type of project?

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5357 posts in 1349 days

#7 posted 12-21-2019 01:52 PM

Nice box and very nice explanation, Tim! The resaw and turn the pieces inside out to get grain wrap is one of my favorites, and why almost all of my decorative boxes are made with 3/8 or 1/2 stock (resawing from 3/4 or 4/4) that gets taken down to 1/4 for the finished box.

I prefer hand-cut faux-dovetail splines, as it looks more “handmade” than flat keys on the miters, but that more a matter of taste, I think. Plus it means I can tune the thickness of the spline by planing off the thick edge of the wedge.

The handle on the lid is also very elegant. Simple, but the taper looks right to my eye.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Timmy2Hands's profile


200 posts in 1732 days

#8 posted 12-21-2019 01:53 PM

I am interested in your use of hide glue. I’ve never used it – what do you see as the advantages over other glues for this type of project?

- BB1

I like hide glue for certain things because it cleans up really well with a damp rag mostly.
I did use Titebond III wood glue for the main construction of this box though, I think it’s more robust in the long run especially on the long grain miter joints.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

View MrWolfe's profile


888 posts in 891 days

#9 posted 12-21-2019 02:42 PM

Great box and excellent tutorial.
... added to my favorites.
Great miter shooting board and donkey ears and other jigs and tips!!!!!
Thanks for sharing.

View splintergroup's profile


3772 posts in 1990 days

#10 posted 12-21-2019 03:22 PM

Awesome story!

The care in wood selection really paid off.

View Timmy2Hands's profile


200 posts in 1732 days

#11 posted 12-21-2019 03:51 PM

The care in wood selection really paid off.
- splintergroup

Both the Cherry and the Sepele will darken nicely with time too.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

View Timmy2Hands's profile


200 posts in 1732 days

#12 posted 12-21-2019 03:53 PM

Nice box and very nice explanation, Tim!
- Dave Polaschek

Thanks Dave, it’s always nice to hear from you.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

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