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Assorted Boxes (Varied Exotic/Domestic Hardwoods)

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Project by nashvillenative posted 08-21-2020 03:45 PM 1054 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m getting ready to start producing these boxes to sell for Christmas and, while this is a project post, I am looking for any tips/tricks/criticism/better ways of doing things as well as some pricing advice from y’all.

The external dimensions are around 6” x 8” x 5”, internal are about 5.5” x 7.5” x 4”. They are friction fit lids lined with the same species as the tops and bottoms. I attempted to finish with Arm-R-Seal gloss on the first one, but had trouble with the sanding between coats so I moved to buffing with a carnauba wax topcoat, much easier in my opinion and similar results.

For the construction, I hand cut the dovetails (ha! just kidding. I used my brand spanking new Leigh D4R pro.) I routed 1/4” slots in the tops and bottoms with a tongue and groove bit I got from Amazon. For some reason it was hard to find a router bit for bottom slotting that had a bearing that allowed a 1/4” DOC in a 1/2” shank. But the bit was like $20 for the set and it seems to be a pretty decent bit set. I always judge the quality of the bit by how easily it slides into the musclechuck, and the results on some scrap Osage orange.

After routing the slots I milled the tops and bottoms from 1/2” stock with the same bit. Which leads me to my first request for tips from you guys:

Question 1: Since the slot is 1/4” should I go with 1/4” stock? When I slide the panels in there is a gap between the piece that is still at the 1/2” thickness all the way around the inside of the box. Which is visible on the tops but not on the bottoms, due to the liner covering it up. I’m thinking it would be. But wanted a more experienced woodworkers opinion.

Since I used the method of building the box and assembling it and routing the slots using the bearing on the inside of the box I ended up with slots that are rounded off I have to round off the radius of the tops and bottoms, which leads me to my second question.

Question 2: What are the other methods you guys use to cut slots in boxes to allow the tops and bottoms to slide in without having it show in the joints? Is there any way that’s better/less guessing in terms of the radius?

After assembled I glued them together. The joints were tight enough that clamping was a breeze. After overnight drying I pulled out my crosscut sled and cut the lids from the base. There was a technique I used where I raised the blade just below the thickness of the stock and then cut through using a razor blade.

I might lose some of you guys on the next step when it comes to squaring the tops and bottoms…

I ran them through the planer until they were flat. I know, I know it’s asking for a disaster. But I have a shelix head on my planer, took SUPER shallow passes and angled the box so that there was little concern of tipping. Worked well.

After assembled I used a shop built bar gauge to get the measurements for the liners. (it’s a cedar block with two dowels running through it locked in place by threaded inserts in the top. I’m proud of it!)

Before inserting and CA gluing the liners in I buffed and waxed, and then glued them in. After letting the glue cure, I buffed and waxed the outsides.

For the insides and the tops of the boxes I used some boiled linseed oil to get the grain to pop. Not sure if i should have done this before I buffed and waxed but it turned out well. Would like input on that as well.

All in all I enjoyed making these boxes and hope to be able to sell them for Christmas gifts. Which leads me to my final question for you guys:

Last question: What should I charge? What would you guys charge? I have the hardest time trying to price anything I make. I was thinking $100 a box but have no idea.

Thanks for looking!

Dimensions: 8”W x 6”L x 4”T
Materials: Curly Maple, Padauk, Purpleheart, Teak, Cherry, Quartersawn White Oak, Canarywood
Finish: Carnauba wax, Boiled Linseed Oil
Tools Used: Table Saw, Planer, Router, Leigh D4R Pro
Time to Build: 4 hours (per box)

-- "any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless"





8 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

5061 posts in 2635 days


#1 posted 08-21-2020 05:02 PM

those are some nice boxes, good lumber choices and combinations.

$100 per box ? Good Luck ! Pretty sure your market will tell you what to charge. On a good day, I can get $50 for one of my walnut tissue boxes and on a better day $60 for a wormy chestnut box. You can look thru my projects for them, maybe give you an idea what to do.

-- 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 MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

1472 posts in 1137 days


#2 posted 08-21-2020 06:30 PM

Nice Boxes NN!!!
I really like the different wood combos and I think the teak and purpleheart look fantastic. All the species you are using do and the different combos are nice. Nice hardwoods and exotics are not cheap.

I like the carnauba wax finish too. Maybe not the b.l.o. so much but not because of optics, it looks great. I’ve tried using tung oil or b.l.o. in my finishes and they add too many days to my finishing schedule. I’ve recently been using a blend of tung oil, mineral spirits, oil based poly and maybe a splash of oil based stain… three coats then carnauba wax buffed out. In the Texas heat I can apply three coats of the blend on one of our 100 degree days and be into shellac (optional) and wax on the second or third day. Time becomes a factor when you are selling items.

I wish I could comment more on the questions you’ve asked but I don’t know much about those techniques. Maybe you could use a sharp utility knife to score the rounded corners in the slots followed by a 1/4 inch sharp chisel to square them up. Then you might not have to round the lids. I don’t think your design needs that though. Also, that would add time to your project which will effect your profit.

Again, different techniques so I can’t really comment on your build but they look great!
Do production runs of 5 or 10 boxes at a time (or more).
Set your tooling up once and run A LOT of parts.

For me, tool set up is a huge part of the time I spend making boxes. I only make them one at a time though.
Wish I had more to say about your questions.
Great work!
Jon

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7700 posts in 4381 days


#3 posted 08-21-2020 06:53 PM

I don’t see any hinges, I assume that is intentional and why?
You choice of material is very nice and your joints are exceptional.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View splintergroup's profile (online now)

splintergroup

4714 posts in 2236 days


#4 posted 08-21-2020 10:56 PM

Nice wood selections, a real smorgasbord!

For Q1, I’m not fully clear on what the gap you describe is from. Is it because the routed slot is wider than the top/bottom is thick?

If so, then for Q2, what I do is use any standard table saw FTG rip blade and make my slots on the sides before assembly. Of course when using this method I typically am using mitered/splined corners 8^) For your DTs, you can use the same method for the sides where the slot is hidden by the opposing DT and use a small diameter straight bit on the router table to make stop cuts on the sides where the slot would cleave a DT and show (or just use a straight bit for all sides). Of course your slot cutting bit is much faster. If you continue as you have and are dealing with the radius in the corners (only on two of the sides), you can put a similar radius into the corresponding corners of the top/bottom (if the radius is smaller than your sides are thick.

Another way is to just use a TS blade and cut the sots fully, then use a small piece of the same wood sized to patch the visible slot “holes”. Careful selection and cutting can make the patch nearly invisible (patching end grain is easier to hide). Contrasting plugs can also become a design element. Apply this method before assembly as it is a lot easier to cleanly fit a patch into the slot at this time.

These added efforts are why I tend to go with the miters, especially for lower priced items 8^)

There are neat tricks where you can cut the DT across the corner and slide in a matching “wedge” to make it look like DTs.

The “cut almost all the way through and then use a razor” for liberating the lid is the same way I do it.

I had to smile when you mentioned sanding the finish 8^) I hate that too, especially on small items. I’ve gone to just a rub it in type finish and wax for small boxes. As to BLO on the inside, it leaves an odor that sticks around for a long time unless sealed in with a top coat, but sure does a number on popping the grain.

Pricing? as mentioned, really depends on where/how you sell. Price for what moves, but doesn’t move too fast.

The only thing I sell that is somewhat similar are my poker card boxes (about 4-1/2” x 5-1/2”) and I sell these for $30.

View nashvillenative's profile

nashvillenative

37 posts in 736 days


#5 posted 08-22-2020 12:09 AM



I don t see any hinges, I assume that is intentional and why?
You choice of material is very nice and your joints are exceptional.

- oldnovice

Yeah, I went with a friction fit lid for the sake of cost/time to build. Why are brass hinges so expensive?! I’ve seen a lot of posts with dowel hinges like Rob Cosmans, so I’m gonna look into that! Thanks for the props on the wood selection. I’m actually always concerned about that because I am color blind and have issues with what is going to look good.

-- "any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless"

View nashvillenative's profile

nashvillenative

37 posts in 736 days


#6 posted 08-22-2020 12:28 AM

We


Nice wood selections, a real smorgasbord!

For Q1, I m not fully clear on what the gap you describe is from. Is it because the routed slot is wider than the top/bottom is thick?

- splintergroup

So every piece of stock, aside from the liners, are ½” but the slots are ¼” so I’m essentially cutting a rabbet leaving a little less than ¼” (to account for possible expansion) but my interior dimensions aren’t absolute so there’s an unsightly (at least to me) gap. Hard to explain. I’ll probably do a run with ¼” tops and bottoms and see how that goes.

Also, thanks for the compliments on the selections. I’m colorblind so I get pretty self conscious when it comes to colors and what compliments what.

-- "any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless"

View splintergroup's profile (online now)

splintergroup

4714 posts in 2236 days


#7 posted 08-22-2020 02:47 PM

Ahh, so your top/bottom is 1/2” thick and your groove in the sides is of course 1/4”. Would there be any issues with making your groove full thickness (1/2”)?
Given your dimensions, the movement of the T/B will be minimal, 1/16” total would be generous (1/32” on each side)

The T/B won’t change dimensions in length so you only need to address the sides. If you plan you DT locations so the groove on the sides is hidden by the DTs, make the side grooves 1/2” wide by 3/16” deep, cut the full length (no radius to deal with). Cut the T/B to width so there is a 1/16” expansion gap on each side (leaving 1/8” of the T/B in the groove).

For the box end parts, either cut a very shallow (1/16”) 1/2” wide groove. A straight cut 1/2” dia. router bit and a stopped cut would make this groove quickly as it is only 1/16” deep and would require very little or no chisel work since you could stop the cut 1/8” from the ends. The T/B can be cut to length for an exact fit, bead of glue (maybe 1” long) in the center of this groove to keep the T/B centered side to side). No glue on the sides.

View nashvillenative's profile

nashvillenative

37 posts in 736 days


#8 posted 08-22-2020 06:21 PM



Ahh, so your top/bottom is 1/2” thick and your groove in the sides is of course 1/4”. Would there be any issues with making your groove full thickness (1/2”)?
Given your dimensions, the movement of the T/B will be minimal, 1/16” total would be generous (1/32” on each side)

The T/B won t change dimensions in length so you only need to address the sides. If you plan you DT locations so the groove on the sides is hidden by the DTs, make the side grooves 1/2” wide by 3/16” deep, cut the full length (no radius to deal with). Cut the T/B to width so there is a 1/16” expansion gap on each side (leaving 1/8” of the T/B in the groove).

For the box end parts, either cut a very shallow (1/16”) 1/2” wide groove. A straight cut 1/2” dia. router bit and a stopped cut would make this groove quickly as it is only 1/16” deep and would require very little or no chisel work since you could stop the cut 1/8” from the ends. The T/B can be cut to length for an exact fit, bead of glue (maybe 1” long) in the center of this groove to keep the T/B centered side to side). No glue on the sides.

- splintergroup

YES! that’s super simple. I think I was just enamored with the idea of using the box slotting bit and totally didn’t think of this. Thanks so much! Not having to sand that radius will be so much easier!

-- "any dog under 50 pounds is a cat, and cats are useless"

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