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Little birch, walnut and juniper box

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 12-18-2020 01:46 PM 556 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As a break from making bookcases, I decided to make a little box. I started with some birch scraps I had left after trimming a blank for one of my turned bowls, and went from there. It was a fun project because I had to figure out workholding for the small pieces,

find some of my smaller tools

and figure out some new techniques for doing things. Cutting dovetails this small is challenging, and I’m going to need to make a new, smaller turning saw if I’m going to do more tiny work. I even ended up resawing some juniper out of a small piece of branch to make the banding around the box (a late design change), and then had to figure out how to miter the small corners of that banding (not entirely successfully). I also attempted to put hinges on the lid, before removing them (and cracking one of the sides – working with small stock can be challenging – even a #0 wood screw needs a pilot hole if you’re going to avoid splits).

The box is a little over 3 inches square and 2¼ inches high. Most of the stock was between ¼ and ⅜ inch thick. The inlay on the sides was sawn to about 3/32 inch thick before being sanded down to less than 1mm thick.

I think the juniper contrasts nicely with the walnut, but also makes a nice contrast with the birch. My attempt at inlaying the piece of juniper in the walnut lid didn’t go completely awry. And some of the crushed turquoise I used to fill a void in the juniper is still visible. It’ll be interesting to see how the colors change over time. I’ve never worked with juniper before.

The birch and walnut were bought in Minnesota before we moved, and the juniper is from a branch on a tree in our yard here in New Mexico that we “limbed up” this summer.

And in the end, my sweetie thinks the box is pretty, so I’m happy with it.

Finished with shellac and BLO French polish. Used some dye on the inside of the lid, but it was too runny, so I didn’t also do the inside of the box.

Thanks for looking!

-- Dave - Santa Fe





18 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

4951 posts in 2596 days


#1 posted 12-18-2020 02:34 PM

cute little box – the top is awesome

-- 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 pottz's profile

pottz

13851 posts in 1958 days


#2 posted 12-18-2020 02:49 PM

nice dave good job on those tiny dovetails.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

4389 posts in 2196 days


#3 posted 12-18-2020 02:56 PM

Wow, I figured at least 8”x8” with the first photo. That is some small detail work!
It’ll fit up nicely on one of your new shelves, nice “diversion” box!

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3156 posts in 3165 days


#4 posted 12-18-2020 03:15 PM

Nice work, and figuring out technique improvements makes for a happy woodworker. I’m of the impression that the real nature of woodworking is in the thought process for perfecting our methods.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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GR8HUNTER

8259 posts in 1686 days


#5 posted 12-18-2020 03:17 PM

a neat and cute little baby box GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

1406 posts in 1097 days


#6 posted 12-18-2020 03:23 PM

Cool little handsome box Dave.
I like the contrast and the lid has some interesting features/knot/turquoise.
Great job.
Al

View doubleDD's profile (online now)

doubleDD

10009 posts in 3017 days


#7 posted 12-18-2020 03:38 PM

Nice way to challenge yourself Dave and a good way to take a break away from all those bookcases. LOL.
Nice looking box.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

2412 posts in 521 days


#8 posted 12-18-2020 04:49 PM

Would make a sweet little “stash” box. But I am guessing you dont do that anymore; neither do I. Juniper is high on my list of woods I want and will likely never get.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6663 posts in 1556 days


#9 posted 12-18-2020 05:03 PM

Thanks, Dick! I really like the look of the juniper. Wish I had easy access to some larger pieces.

Thanks, Pottz! Took some care to cut them that small.

Splint, I see the problem! The box is 8×8 cm

Tom, it took me about 5 times as long to make as a bookcase, but an awful lot of that time was staring into space figuring out what came next so I didn’t cut myself into a corner.

Thanks, Tony! I might have to try making one an inch square out of ⅛” veneer or something. ;-)

Thanks, MrWolfe! Digging through the scraps to find a nice piece takes longer when that piece could be ¾ x ¼ x 3…

Yeah, Dave. More than once I was cursing my bratwurst fingers, but I prevailed.

Brian, I’d be happy to swap olive for juniper some time. Shoot me a message and maybe we can figure out some details. Probably have to be spring or summer so I can harvest the juniper, though.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View crowie's profile

crowie

4229 posts in 2925 days


#10 posted 12-18-2020 11:26 PM

Dave, You won my big tick of approval with the dovetail corners on that beautifully finished box.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1031 posts in 2266 days


#11 posted 12-18-2020 11:35 PM

Very art full box and nice color contrast.

We had a big Juniper tree close to our house on our property in big bear Ca.

I we had to trim it and I used the branches for firewood. Wished I saved some.

I didn’t know the wood would look so nice.

What type of mini plane is that?

-- James E McIntyre

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6663 posts in 1556 days


#12 posted 12-19-2020 01:41 AM

Thanks, Peter! I think I can do better, but this was mostly a learning project, so I’m happy with it.

Thanks, James. I wasn’t sure what to expect of juniper. I should maybe send a chunk to the guy that runs The Wood Database so he can get pictures and such for it.

The mini plane is a Bridge City Tools HP-8 Mini Block Plane and the rails on the side make it very handy for thicknessing small pieces. Plus, having been using my other block planes a lot making bookcases, this one was known sharp.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View pottz's profile

pottz

13851 posts in 1958 days


#13 posted 12-19-2020 02:19 AM


Thanks, Peter! I think I can do better, but this was mostly a learning project, so I’m happy with it.

Thanks, James. I wasn’t sure what to expect of juniper. I should maybe send a chunk to the guy that runs The Wood Database so he can get pictures and such for it.

The mini plane is a Bridge City Tools HP-8 Mini Block Plane and the rails on the side make it very handy for thicknessing small pieces. Plus, having been using my other block planes a lot making bookcases, this one was known sharp.

- Dave Polaschek


i spotted that bridge city right off,many here will put you down with,oh bridge city i guess your rich,comment.their tools are top of the line meaning, veritas,lie nielson quality except a level above that! i happen too own a few of their tools and i regret none.that plane for 79.00 is a very good deal based on the precision of their tools.at least based on the ones i own that were made before they were sold.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6663 posts in 1556 days


#14 posted 12-19-2020 02:58 AM

Pottz, I don’t regret any of their older tools, but I bought a JointMaker Pro after Harvey took over. It’s one of the few tools I regret buying. I’ve emailed with John Economaki (after getting no response contacting their customer service) and got replacement parts under warranty, but it’s still sitting in pieces and I haven’t gotten it put back together with the replacement parts I never should have needed in the first place.

I get that a lot of companies are having trouble with staffing in the age of COVID and that things happen, but the JMP is a big hunk of regret, taking up space in my shop. I wish it was up and running. Would’ve used it building this box if it had been. Maybe one of these days I’ll get the motivation to put it back together, but more likely, it’ll sit there serving as a reminder.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7009 posts in 1548 days


#15 posted 12-19-2020 12:08 PM

Nice box Dave. Making small stuff can be a challenge. Looks like you got the best of it. Love that flare on the top.

-- Think safe, be safe

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