A Modest First Box

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Project by smitty22 posted 01-16-2011 06:42 AM 2370 views 2 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, it’s really a fib to say this is my first box since I practiced a bit (see pic #5), but it’s the first nice box that I’ve made, and I am happy with the result. It’s a gift for my daughter, and is about 6” x 8”, 4” deep.

The box actually has sort of a tangled build history as do most of my projects, and who would use poplar for a nice box? The story is thus: The first four boxes were made as an exercise in learning box joints. A lid for one of these was made from scrap poplar – a glue up that joined the light sapwood in the middle – and it seemed way too pretty to go on a ply box. So, off to the orange box store and found a nice $4.50 poplar board that was close to the lid in grain and the funky green color.

Back to the house, and now instead of making a lid for a box, I was making a box for the lid. Decided to try miter joints with the 45 deg taped joint technique that I believe BBM (thanks Martyn) had revealed a bit ago, and the joints came out really nice, with the grain just flowing around the corners in a most pleasing fashion.
Made a tray out of 1/8” ash from rockler, more miter joints.

Anyway, about 6 or 8 coats of sprayed and hand-rubbed lacquer later, I decided it was done. The poplar with this finish has a very soft almost sllky but warm feel, and a bit of wax and maybe some velvet in the tray and bottom should finish it off.

My wife saw the glue-up and thought it was hilarious that it took so many clamps, so that’s the last pic. Like I said before, I’m new at this!

Thanks for looking, now on to my cutting board and workbench projects.

-- Smitty

25 comments so far

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4585 days

#1 posted 01-16-2011 06:46 AM

Not so modest if you ask me. Very nice.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View B13's profile


463 posts in 3108 days

#2 posted 01-16-2011 07:55 AM

That’s a good looking box. I like the top.

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3488 days

#3 posted 01-16-2011 08:01 AM

It’s a very nice box and I think poplar is a great wood to work with if your learning, it’s cheap and easy to work with. Poplar does have a funky green color which isn’t very attractive but that green will turn a nice shade of brown after a while and become a pretty nice looking wood.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Orion Woods's profile

Orion Woods

67 posts in 3184 days

#4 posted 01-16-2011 09:21 AM

I like the poplar, it is cheap, and I like the colors. It’s not for everything this is true but if you don’‘t mind some color then that’s fine! I used it for my dad’s toolbox and really liked how it came out.

I have had some similar glue ups, be careful you don’t over tighten and snap your bottom piece, I did that once on my planned last turn, it still works i just don’t put a lot in there. Now I glue up bottom panels and cut them so the grain runs across the short width of the box.

-- Brian

View sawdust55109's profile


64 posts in 3264 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 09:54 AM

Nice.. Keep going.
Box’s are some of the most difficult projects. 1/32” off and its a HUGE difference.
A well built box is a thing of beauty…..

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3480 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 11:45 AM

Great job. The joints are very tight as well. No need to be modest about it. Great job.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3451 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 12:14 PM

We all started from modest beginnings. Besides this is a lot better than my first box.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mafe's profile


12075 posts in 3504 days

#8 posted 01-16-2011 02:15 PM

I was never modest, but your box is sure more well made than any box I have made yet! LOL
Really nice work!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3369 days

#9 posted 01-16-2011 02:38 PM

And it turned out well. Hope to see more boxes from you in the future.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View bigike's profile


4056 posts in 3704 days

#10 posted 01-16-2011 03:42 PM

great looken box, I love how you made it from the top down. LOL

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View David175's profile


101 posts in 3104 days

#11 posted 01-16-2011 03:46 PM

I think you have a very nice box,,,love the colors in the wood and the shape…..great job

-- Dave..Pensacola Fl.........In GOD we trust

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3749 days

#12 posted 01-16-2011 04:14 PM

Modest might apply to you Smitty, but the box has all the hallmarks of a well crafted and thoughtful design. The wood really gives this box a wow factor which is emphasized by it’s clean lines and workmanship. The handle on top also seems perfect too. Simplicity and beauty are not always easy to find in a single piece!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4634 days

#13 posted 01-16-2011 04:16 PM

I was thinking you needed more clamps. :-)

Great job on the miters. Like Martyn said, it’s a heckuva lot nicer than my first box.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3466 days

#14 posted 01-16-2011 05:46 PM

I think this is a fantastic start and wouldn’t have guessed it was your first box.

And better to use too many clamps, than not enough.

I really like the way you used the grain for the top of the box.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3362 days

#15 posted 01-17-2011 01:48 AM

Thanks much to all who viewed my handiwork, and especially to those who also post their projects. The inspiration from others on LJ is hard to beat!

-- Smitty

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