Woodworking, Shadow Box (Prototype)

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Project by PASs posted 04-01-2011 07:32 PM 2495 views 2 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Got a commission to do a couple of shadow boxes for a military retirement.
Since I’ve never made one before I did a Google sketch-up then built a prototype to get the manufacturing process figured out.
It ain’t too pretty, or finished beyond sanding and staining, but I’m working on the full-scale ones now.
Will post that when I get finished.
I made the bottom of the frame removable to get the lexan in and out.
And I made the back removable for putting the medals in.

The frame is Poplar 1×2 from Home Depot.
The front is lexan, an old scrap.
The back is re-purposed Masonite flooring.
I used Styrofoam for the backing and a scrap of velvet for the backing.
The Styrofoam was thick enough to push the medals up against the lexan.
Deb said it didn’t use the depth of the box well.
So I had to confess the Bronze Star isn’t pinned on, it didn’t have a pin attachment so it’s held in place by pressure between the foam and the lexan.

RIDGID 10” table saw.
Hitachi 12” compound miter saw.
Craftsman old-iron 6×48” belt/disk sander with 180 on disk and 220 on belt..
Allied floor-standing drill press.

Cut slot for lexan (table saw.)
Cut rabbit for back (table saw, but will use router next time.)
Cut miters using stop block for length (miter saw).
Cut lexan (table saw, but will score and break next time.)
Dry fit.
Sanded wood (belt sander.
Cut backing (table saw.)
Sanded chamfers on backing (belt sander.)
Glued frame (Titebond III).
Drilled holes for bottom of frame (drill press.)
Drilled holes for backing (drill press.)
Stained with Min-wax Ebony stain.

Since there was a lot of thinking and head scratching and coffee drinking and going to the bathroom this took about 6 hours.
But actual work was about 2 hours.

Appreciate any comments or suggestions, especially how you’d glue 3 sides of a box together. I used a 4-corner band clamp with a couple of wooden screw clamps for alignment, but the process was painful.
Additional photos at:

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

1 comment so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4534 days

#1 posted 04-06-2011 08:13 AM

I would think making a jig would be your best bet to hold the three sides together while gluing. You might try gluing all four sides and just make the back accessible. Not sure why you need to get the lexan out.

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