Oak box

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Project by MichaelT77 posted 09-06-2021 01:57 PM 1238 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Oak box to hold a birthday present. Actually, the box was meant as the birthday present, but my grandson was more interested in the truck.

A couple years ago, I pulled a fireplace log out of a dump truck at a West Virginia gas station. The guy was selling a load of oak firewood, but he gave me the one piece I had spotted when I told him about it, and what my plan was. Most of the logs, because of how they are split, are somewhat pie shaped in cross-section. This one was more rectangular, and I thought I could cut some little boards out of it that would be more or less quartersawn. So that’s what I did. I believe it’s white oak, and it has those medullary rays as part of the figure.

I built this box to fit around the little F-150. Handcut dovetails. I cut the first few with my Japanese Dozuki saw, but then used a little Zona saw (made in USA) for the rest because I hadn’t really used that one before. Chiseled out the sockets with a couple of 1/8” chisels (Narex and Lie-Nielsen). Things went together well, but what I had planned for a Saturday morning project went well into Saturday night, and then most of Sunday morning.

The box bottom is a piece of poplar captured in grooves, and oriented so that any expansion would be in opposition to the dovetails. Considering the time of year and the fact that I have no air conditioning, I imagiine it’s at its greatest expansion now.

I brought it home to apply some finish, and to figure out some kind of handle for the lid. Not using hinges. I cut a rabbet around the underside of the lid so it sits into the box about 1/8”. The box is about 9-1/2” × 4-1/2” × 4” deep.

Edit: someone asked about the finish in the comment section. I’m inclined to rub some boiled linseed oil on it, and then come back with shellac after a few days.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

12 comments so far

View MichaelT77's profile


144 posts in 3568 days

#1 posted 09-06-2021 02:06 PM

Trying to squeeze in an extra picture

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View gdaveg's profile


511 posts in 658 days

#2 posted 09-06-2021 02:22 PM

Nice box and the dovetails very well done. What finish is going to be used, the flecks in the oak will pop.

-- Dave, Vancouver, WA & Tucson, AZ

View therealSteveN's profile


9985 posts in 2030 days

#3 posted 09-06-2021 04:39 PM

The BLO will pop the ray fleck nicely. For something going to a young Man I think I would consider something more bullet proof than Shellac though for a top coat. Poly would fit the bill. Or you can do an all in one like Arm r Seal from General Finishes.

Nice looking box from a stick of firewood. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View rtbrmb's profile


909 posts in 3844 days

#4 posted 09-06-2021 09:01 PM

Awesome rescue from a piece of fire wood- the grain on it is amazing.

Excellent work on the box- hand cut dovetails are a nice touch. You going to post pictures after the finish is applied?

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI

View splintergroup's profile


6939 posts in 2678 days

#5 posted 09-06-2021 10:35 PM

When they are really young, they seem to prefer the box 8^)

You are too late!

Looking forward to the finished unit, I love the white oak and tidy DTs!

View Andre's profile


5253 posts in 3262 days

#6 posted 09-06-2021 11:24 PM

Good looking box, someday he will appreciate the box more than the truck?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View 489tad's profile


4153 posts in 4467 days

#7 posted 09-06-2021 11:25 PM

Nice job on the rescue oak. Those are some tight looking dovetails. Well done!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View AHPDEB's profile


60 posts in 2845 days

#8 posted 09-07-2021 02:43 AM

Did I read “oak firewood”correctly??

-- Andries - South Africa

View MichaelT77's profile


144 posts in 3568 days

#9 posted 09-07-2021 08:52 AM

Did I read “oak firewood”correctly??


You know, bucked and split. Probably partially seasoned (I didn’t ask how recently it had been cut, so I let it sit in my basement for about a year. Probably should have waited another year to cut it, but I’m sometimes impatient.). Ready for someone’s fireplace soon. High heat content. Burns for a long time.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View Peteybadboy's profile


4834 posts in 3405 days

#10 posted 09-07-2021 10:22 AM

Very nice dovetails!

-- Petey

View MichaelT77's profile


144 posts in 3568 days

#11 posted 09-07-2021 10:28 AM

It’s essentially done, but I’m thinking about adding a handle. Carved from the same piece of wood. I already rubbed down the lid with BLO, so if I go with this I’ll have to drive a couple of little screws from underneath. I hate to put a couple holes in the lid, though.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

View recycle1943's profile


7003 posts in 3078 days

#12 posted 09-07-2021 01:56 PM

I totally admire the dovetails – The box is nice but the DT’s are great !

-- 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

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