"Just a Box....Any Box"

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Project by MsDebbieP posted 02-01-2007 05:46 PM 3104 views 1 time favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well here it is—the Box!!

Again, this was a process of learning, having never attempted anything like this before. I am open to any helpful hints for my next effort.

Rick provided me with some rough cut circles, cut out of scraps of wood we had lying around. Some of it is plywood, some cedar, and some .. hmm. pine I guess.

I then used the Dremel Scrollsaw to cut the heart shapes out of the centres —including the botttom (sheesh) and so Rick found another piece of scrap material to cut me another circle for the bottom.

I then glued the circles together. I thought I had the circles layered alternately but when it came out of the gluing clamps I saw that some little wood elves had switched the layers on me! The little devils.

I then sanded, sanded, sanded and sanded some more. My options for grit at this moment is whatever is on the sander and a 320 grit. So that’s what I used. I then gave it a coat of some wood stain that I had lying around and did some more sanding.

Next came the lid: using my little $1 store chisels I cut out an area for the leather to fit into (which was stuffed with some cotton balls for padding). I then glued the two pieces of lid together with the leather wedged between.

When this was all dried and I had sanded the box one more time, I gave it a little coat of some finishing oil that I had bought for my kitchen wooden spoon and then I attached the lid.

I had wanted to use some dowelling that we had but it was too large for this little box so until I get my hands on some smaller dowelling I have attached the lid with a screw. My goal is to glue the dowel into the lid and just let it sit in the bottom—I want the lid to swivel for access but be able to be removed if so desired.

I finished the project (to this stage) yesterday just in time to give it to my daughter as a little celebration gift—she just got a permanent contract with the school board. (Her foot is now officially in the door and she is thrilled).

What were my daughter’s comments?? ”This is beautiful—it’s so smooth!!”

Well that’s not a bad response for my first real woodworking project. Yup, not bad at all.

Ok… now, what are the tips and tricks for next time?

———— UPDATE: November, 2010
We are now pretending that some grease is stored inside this box (that is no longer in my possession) ... As a “grease box” I am now an official member of the Grease box owners club.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

24 comments so far

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4777 days

#1 posted 02-01-2007 05:50 PM

Very cool box! Quite a treasure for your daughter.


View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#2 posted 02-01-2007 05:51 PM

thanks :) It wasn’t intended as a present but the timing was right – and she liked it :) So, a perfect little gft. She can keep paper clips in it on her desk at school or something :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4800 days

#3 posted 02-01-2007 05:57 PM

A nice box and a clever lid design. I guess we can say Debbie thinks outside of the box.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#4 posted 02-01-2007 05:58 PM

oh is THAT an understatement!!! thanks for the compliment! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4953 days

#5 posted 02-01-2007 06:48 PM

And your hearts in your work

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4812 days

#6 posted 02-01-2007 07:14 PM

Tip #1: Giving titles to your pieces

About a year ago at my local woodworking guild meeting, one of the members presented something at our “show and tell” session. He called them, “stupid little boxes” and said he made a dozen or two of them a year to give away to people. When he passed them around, I gave it a look-over with a critical eye and saw glue drips on the inside that he hadn’t cleared out and sanding marks on the outside where he didn’t remove all of the scratch marks properly. And then I counted and determined that he’d used seven different species of wood in his box that was less than 4” square and quietly passed it to the guy next to me, not that impressed.

Calling them “stupid little boxes” created a lasting first impression that he wasn’t really that happy with his work and he didn’t really put that much thought or effort into them, when, in fact, he might love making them and he might have tried very hard to get them just right! After I thought about it a while, I wondered… would I have looked at his box with a less critical eye if he’d presented it differently? What if he’d said it was a box he lovingly made for his granddaughter? My attitude when reviewing the box might have been different.

So how much work did you put into your box, Debbie? After you add up the amount of time you spent on it, is it still “just a box”? Or is it a gift you made for your daughter with your very own hands to congratulate her on her permanent contract at school?

Think about it…

Tip #2: Small rare earth magnets

On some of my smaller ring boxes, I use a pivot method similar to how yours turned out, but I use small rare earth magnets in the lid and the base to keep the lid in the closed position. Actually, on some of my boxes, I used rare earth magnets as the pivots, too (one magnet imbedded deeply into the base and one sticking out of the top that also lines up with the magnet/hole in the base).

Just make sure you set it up so you have reverse poles touching on the magnets; otherwise, you’ll never get it to close right! (Experience is sometimes a cruel teacher…)

If you want to play around with rare earth magnets, try to order a sample pack of about 10 of several different sizes and shapes and play around with them. There are a ton of ways you can work them into your projects.

-- Ethan,

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4966 days

#7 posted 02-01-2007 08:34 PM

Yes magnets can be cool… I tried making, sans prototype, a “seamless” box where the lid was held in place with magnets. THe box does close, but seamless (like one solid piece of wood) it was not. Shows the limitations of my cheap tablesaw, sans jigs…

so the project turned prototype, and taught me a lot. I agree with Ethans thoughts on naming as well…

so to quote from Dennis (which was pretty funny) if “your hearts in your work” then it’s not “just a box”

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4812 days

#8 posted 02-01-2007 08:50 PM

Well said, Scott.

As far as “seamless” lines go, I’ve done two things to resolve those issues. One is to clamp the lid and base together as tightly as I can, with the clamps going around on opposing sides (e.g. the front and the back) and then sanding the base and top of the other two side until they are perfect. Then I’ll clamp the two sides I smoothed and unclamp the other two sides and smooth them, as well.

Or… you hide the flaw by putting a champher along the edges where the base and the lid meet. That’s what I did on Dana’s Ring Box.

Oh, and I also used rare earth magnets as the closure method… you can see the small silver top of one of them in the base.

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#9 posted 02-01-2007 08:52 PM

oh I really like the magnet idea!!! thank you :)

now… for the name, I totally agree. It is like Frank’s interpretation of the piece of wood I found with the “face” in it—for most of us it was scary but he approached it with a positive attitude and saw a smile.

Why did I name it “just a box”—because I wanted to “make a box… just a box… any box”.
So, I was trying to follow through my big woodworking wish! I had wanted to make “just a box” and now I had.

Is it a “justa”? No way – this is a BIG achievement for me (which I was trying to capture in the name by using the little saying that I have been posting since I joined.

In my notes, it is called “The Heart Box”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#10 posted 02-01-2007 11:25 PM

NOW I find a plan!!
I just opened Woodworker’s Journal Free plans – and there was a heart box. Now wouldn’t THAT have been easier! Oh well… next time :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4815 days

#11 posted 02-02-2007 12:07 AM

It might have been easier, Debbie, but it would not have had your design signature written on it. I know the title, “Just a Box….Any Box”, is an echo back to your many posts where you uttered these words as a reflection of your desire to create a box. And now you’ve done it – started your journey to becoming the box make you want to be.

Of course no box is “just a box” as Frank has taught us. Each carries its own story as does yours. And each evokes memories of that journey we have undertaken. You are well on your way – and, Oh! – I like your Little Heart Box. It juxtaposes your big heart!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#12 posted 02-02-2007 12:56 AM

ah shucks :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4845 days

#13 posted 02-02-2007 03:06 AM

Hi Debbie;
—-well see, you are coming right along and all that ‘character’ that you are showing us as you now start filling this place up with your works of art.

I was just looking at the number of projects you have posted here Debbie, this one is #12 and I think that’s doing ’very good’!

To my way of thinking and seeing, I count ‘5’ boxes:
(1), a box for your daughter….
(2), a box for holding your words….
(3), a box for holding potatos….
(4), a box for holding napkins…
(5), a box to sit upon and let your imagination run free as you dream of your next project!!!

As you continue making and posting these projects I am watching your true character come forth with greater and greater ‘works of art’!


-- --frank, NH,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#14 posted 02-02-2007 04:06 AM

12 !! I didn’t realize it was so many.
an interesting twist you put on my projects and now you make me think—isn’t it interesting that someone who thinks so “outside the box” and who is so misunderstood because of this “out of the box” thinking, so desperately wants to create – a box!
This might keep me awake tonight. Thank you for the opportunity to peel back another layer of self-awareness

And thank you for the support :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4799 days

#15 posted 02-02-2007 04:31 PM

I took a piece of dowelling and sanded it down to fit my box, glued it into the lid, added a light-pink bead to the lid, covering the top of the dowel, gave the whole thing a wipe down with a finishing wax and voila … the little box is now finished :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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