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Horse Chestnut Box

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Project by jjoe posted 05-03-2020 01:30 AM 1440 views 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found this site by accident several years ago and it inspired me to try and learn how to make boxes for a hobby. You “box-maker” dudes really impress me. I’ve been practicing and hope to keep improving my skills until I’m as proud of my boxes as I am of my wood. I’m retired now so there “should” be enough time…

This wood came from a 60 foot tall Horse Chestnut tree that I planted as a child of about five years old. My father was an amateur nurseryman and very talented wood turner and carver. He kept the tree root pruned and when my wife and I bought our first and only home, he drug the tree over and we replanted it together in our new yard.

40-plus years went by and the tree had to come down. My brother in law has a bandsaw mill and he cut the tree into 2-inch slabs about three years ago. I hope to make some furniture at some point, but right now I’m learning skills with boxes.

This one is about 11×6 x 5-1/2 inches tall. The sides are 3/8 inches thick as is the lid which was glued to the sides and then cut off. The edges of the lid were trimmed with some scraps of unknown wood that my Dad had salvaged from a scrap bin at a local guitar shop many years ago. (Somewhere there is a matching electric guitar). The handle was also made from some of the guitar scraps. The bottom is 1/4 inch chestnut that matches the sides. I rattle-canned several coats of shellac, then rattle-canned several more coats of lacquer which I wet-sanded with 1000 grit and buffed with paste wax.

The pictures show all of the mistakes that I had to figure out how best to hide. I’ll sure be glad if I can finish one someday without so many mistakes. But I think I am getting better at hiding them…

Give me an honest opinion and critique. And if anyone can tell me how they put a glass finish on a box that has handles and legs attached that isn’t as freaking tedious as wet sanding with a very small block and 1000 grit, PLEASE let me know the secret.

Thanks for looking.

-- Just a Joe





21 comments so far

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

1669 posts in 1403 days


#1 posted 05-03-2020 01:37 AM

Great history you have with that wood. I like that it ties in with your father too. I see a heirloom. I like the canted sides and lid and the legs and pull are cool too. The panel for the lid is very nice.
Great job!!!
Thanks for sharing.
Jon

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8342 posts in 4633 days


#2 posted 05-03-2020 03:43 AM

Love your story as I do your Horse Chestnut Box. You mentioned hiding your mistakes but I see none. All I see is some beautiful woods and fine craftsmanship. The only thing I would do different is lowering the legs to raise the box up just a little but more. But I think you did an outstanding job on your box.
Thanks for sharing Joe!

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

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

9194 posts in 1854 days


#3 posted 05-03-2020 04:34 AM

Awesome looking box, that wood is something. Even more awesome back story. Thanks for posting.

I like the feet.

-- Think safe, be safe

View ronstar's profile

ronstar

673 posts in 4990 days


#4 posted 05-03-2020 04:38 AM

Nice box! and not too many woodworkers can say that they made something from a tree that they planted.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

2846 posts in 827 days


#5 posted 05-03-2020 08:04 AM

Yep, you should be real proud of that beauty. Great wood combo, finish looks good too.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

4141 posts in 3229 days


#6 posted 05-03-2020 09:54 AM

Joe, really nice box. I am impressed! I love the story too.

-- Petey

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

5950 posts in 2902 days


#7 posted 05-03-2020 11:44 AM

Beautiful box – great history
I’m not much of a box maker nor great at a finish but my past tells me that wet sanding and buffing provide the best gloss finish

-- 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 splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

6003 posts in 2502 days


#8 posted 05-03-2020 02:38 PM

Love the box and the story with the tree! That wood has a nice grain pattern for a small box, many woods have cool grain, but it gets lost when the pieces used are smaller.

I’ve given up on polished finishes after assembly. As you noted, it’s too much of a pain to get into the crannies and once you start linear sanding these areas, the scratches get impossible to hide.

For me, I’ll pre-finish the shiny bits, usually with good wood prep (pore fillers, etc.) if I’m after a smooth surface. A few extra coats of lacquer then I can block sand everything dead flat with maybe 220 and then up. The last of the grits are usually the Abrasive pads (2000, 4000) with mineral spirits. Then I switch to the automotive finish products (rubbing compounds, mirror glaze, etc.)

It can get complicated figuring out the order to avoid damaging the finish with further cutting/assembly operations but so far it’s been a big time saver over trying to do the finish as a final operation.

Keep it up!

View oldrivers's profile

oldrivers

2780 posts in 2846 days


#9 posted 05-03-2020 06:07 PM

Love the box and it’s history. This is my first view of Horse Chestnut but it is beautiful. Great job Joe.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#10 posted 05-04-2020 01:47 AM



Love the box and the story with the tree! That wood has a nice grain pattern for a small box, many woods have cool grain, but it gets lost when the pieces used are smaller.

I ve given up on polished finishes after assembly. As you noted, it s too much of a pain to get into the crannies and once you start linear sanding these areas, the scratches get impossible to hide.

For me, I ll pre-finish the shiny bits, usually with good wood prep (pore fillers, etc.) if I m after a smooth surface. A few extra coats of lacquer then I can block sand everything dead flat with maybe 220 and then up. The last of the grits are usually the Abrasive pads (2000, 4000) with mineral spirits. Then I switch to the automotive finish products (rubbing compounds, mirror glaze, etc.)

It can get complicated figuring out the order to avoid damaging the finish with further cutting/assembly operations but so far it s been a big time saver over trying to do the finish as a final operation.

Keep it up!

- splintergroup


-- Just a Joe

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#11 posted 05-04-2020 01:52 AM

I have a buddy that says I should do the finish before assembly. I’m not sure how glue-up would work though. Do you mask, or take the finish off where you need to glue? My buddy says I use too much glue anyway… I guess I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for your comment, and the encouragement.

-- Just a Joe

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#12 posted 05-04-2020 01:53 AM



Love your story as I do your Horse Chestnut Box. You mentioned hiding your mistakes but I see none. All I see is some beautiful woods and fine craftsmanship. The only thing I would do different is lowering the legs to raise the box up just a little but more. But I think you did an outstanding job on your box.
Thanks for sharing Joe!

- woodshaver Tony C


-- Just a Joe

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#13 posted 05-04-2020 02:02 AM

They say you shouldn’t talk about your mistakes… I guess I am my own worst critic. I was really careful laying out the wood for a continuous grain match at all four corners. Then I cut the last 45 with the board facing the wrong way up…It not only messed up the grain match, but the box is no longer the dimensions that I had planned.. There are a couple other little goofs too. I spend too much time watching YouTube videos, then get excited and mess up some of the details. Oh well.

I might argue about the leg height, since it’s only personal taste anyway, I think the box looks a little too tall already :-) I really appreciate you comment and your taste is probably better than mine.

-- Just a Joe

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#14 posted 05-04-2020 02:03 AM



Great history you have with that wood. I like that it ties in with your father too. I see a heirloom. I like the canted sides and lid and the legs and pull are cool too. The panel for the lid is very nice.
Great job!!!
Thanks for sharing.
Jon

- MrWolfe


-- Just a Joe

View jjoe's profile

jjoe

40 posts in 2614 days


#15 posted 05-04-2020 02:07 AM

My Dad was my inspiration. He was a wood-turner and relief carver with amazing skills. He always wanted me to be a woodworker, but I waited until he was gone… It seems when you are younger there just isn’t enough time. My loss. But it makes me happy to do some of the things he always enjoyed now that I’m retired. Thanks for your comment.

-- Just a Joe

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