Cigarette Box

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Project by Douglas Bordner posted 07-27-2011 07:27 AM 3676 views 6 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am still a smoker, but have chosen to stuff my own tubes to cut down costs. Having been throwing my daily rollings in a Tupperware tub for the last several years, I finally decided to build myself something to hold smokes at my desk (the traveling humidor will come later). I have been saving a slab of air dried Claro walnut burl for about a decade, waiting for the right project, and this is it.

The second project impetus was to use Veritas 5mm shelf pins
as a hinge. These are the economy type which don’t have a flat spade which fits under the shelf. These are just two 5mm rounds with a ≈7mm x 1mm flange between the two sides of the pin. The pin is captured in holes on the lid edge and blind holes in the box sides. I made the lift tab out of a small walnut – purpleheart – walnut lamination, shaping and cutting away to form a .125˝ x .325˝ tenon at the back of the knob. I made a tiny mortise (with a Japanese 3mm chisel – too nervy for router work) off center on the box to highlight a great grain area on the inside of the box, which draws the eye to the lift tab when the box is open. The cutaway at the front of the box was all done with hand tools. Let me take a minute to congratulate all you handcut dovetail woodworkers. I have a steep learning curve ahead before I will try the handcut dovetail as a joinery technique.

I added the homemade walnut-maple banding at the last. The plough is only about a sixteenth of an inch from the bottom of the box, which made for a slight pucker factor during the routing, but I hedged my bets by taping with shipping tape before the cuts to avoid torn out and blown out grain.

Finish is dewaxed garnet shellac ( under Emtech EM 6000 waterborne lacquer from Target Coatings. Rubbed out to 2000 grit with Mirka Abralon pads. Interestingly enough. although developed for the automotive industry, these are now used in woodworking, and apparently for bowling balls too (not sure why, exactly).

Box is 8.5˝x 5˝x 2.75˝ with cherry and walnut sides (Thanks Dennis Zongker – I’m still working my way through your kind wood gift of offcuts), with a Spanish Cedar-Birch ply lamination bottom and Spanish Cedar lining. The box isn’t air-tight, as generally the smokes need a little drying after being rolled up, but I’m hoping the Spanish Cedar will add something to the bouquet.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

27 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3121 posts in 4564 days

#1 posted 07-27-2011 12:05 PM

Great Box Doug!!
I over-heard some people talking the other day… one of them was starting to twist their own too… Might be a trend?

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4374 days

#2 posted 07-27-2011 12:32 PM

Very nice work and choices of wood all harmonize well for this project.

Just starting into a little box making, and it’s a lot harder than I thought.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5280 days

#3 posted 07-27-2011 02:41 PM

I never figured you for a roll-your-own kinda guy. :-)

That’s one gorgeous box, Doug. I love the combination of woods, and the joinery as well.

I really like the idea of using those shelf pins as hinges, but how were they installed? Did you have to glue up the sides and install the lid at the same time?

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

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5125 days

#4 posted 07-27-2011 03:32 PM

Yep, Charlie, it all comes together at glue up. Insides already finished with shellac and waxed at squeeze-out areas inside the box.I almost went back to Polyurethane glue for this one – for the long open time, but I just had everything close at hand during a dry-fit and moved fast…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 4203 days

#5 posted 07-27-2011 04:35 PM

Great looking box! I’ve been thinking about building a cigarette my brother. I’d build one for myself but I’m going to quite soon, I promise…

-- David

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 4519 days

#6 posted 07-27-2011 05:08 PM

Beautiful box.

-- Paul , Calfornia

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 4143 days

#7 posted 07-27-2011 05:30 PM

Fantastic box. That walnut on the lid is just gorgeous. The figure is just amazing.

-- Matt -

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4944 days

#8 posted 07-27-2011 07:01 PM

Now that is a mighty handsome box.
I like it.

Nice seeing you again, buddy.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 4180 days

#9 posted 07-27-2011 07:23 PM

Sharp looking box, beautiful wood with fine construction, Your detailed explanation is great, love all the details. Thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Hallmark's profile


432 posts in 4168 days

#10 posted 07-27-2011 08:23 PM

Very attractive box, well done.

-- Style is simple, but not my execution of it.

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5127 days

#11 posted 07-27-2011 08:32 PM

Great looking box Douglas, I really like the contrasting woods and attention to detail. I also appreciate the “heads up” on your shelf pin tip – I’ll give that a try.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4365 days

#12 posted 07-27-2011 10:00 PM

Douglas, that is one beautiful sure is. i did a little smoking when i was a young teen , but that was many years ago…and im not around anyone who smokes now…so it seems a little foreign to me these days…maybe you will try to quite…even if you do , you will still have a beautiful box…but even if you dont…youve got one classy cigarette box…good to see you post also… is there another project on the drawing board…take care buddy…i still love your smile…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3755 days

#13 posted 07-27-2011 10:12 PM

Gorgeous box. My favorite part is the waves of grain guiding you to the little nub. I would never have thought to do that; but will borrow your courage in the future. Excellent work!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Karson's profile


35271 posts in 5462 days

#14 posted 07-28-2011 12:07 AM


A great looking box. Very classy. I like the design.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5125 days

#15 posted 07-28-2011 01:05 AM

Howdy to Little Cope, SPalm, Cajunpen and Grizz — Good to “see” a number of you older jocks (Steve, you will always be a Rocket Surgeon to me no matter what you say.) It’s a pleasure to meet you newer folks. Thank you for your kindness.

Wood this good needs attention to detail. I forgot to add the fact that the burl had very wide open grain pores, and I used Karson's pumice+BLO trick with wet sanding as a preliminary step with the lid finishing. Any of the open grain woods like Walnut, Ash, Oak etc. can benefit greatly from this, especially if you plan to rub out to anything approaching a gloss luster in the end. The alternative is to pile on the clear coats and rub out to a uniform smooth surface, but this is a big time and money waster as opposed to the pumice and binder option.

Bertha, I have blogged before about the fact that my Dad was not especially patient teaching me when I was growing up, and that my entry back into woodworking included giving myself permission to bumble along making whatever mistakes necessary to teach myself. Take the risks and let your eye and the wood itself move your design along. At worst you will end up with some components for a future endeavor (Like my storage area of “Box Lids and Shame”), or at least a slightly smaller project (”I cut this twice and it’s still too short.”)

The only exception to that broad rule is the realm of safety. Read all about it and think everything through before turning on the power or picking up the edged tool. If you are starting out, learn to do it safely with the appropriate vision and hearing protection, and you won’t end up half-deaf, one-eyed and shy a finger or two like so many of us who decided to wing it…
I still have all my parts; through the Grace of God, some awesome luck and a healthy dose (bordering on fear) of respect for safety. My hearing has suffered though I can’t certify that all of this occurred in a shop environment. (~};)

Have fun out there, Gang! Hope the summer is treating you all well.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

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