US Navy CPO Charge Book Box

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Project by Pat Cavanaugh posted 09-06-2011 12:29 AM 30612 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend of mine was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and was required to attend a course as part of the promotion. Each of them must carry a “Charge Book” and the book must be protected in a box the promotee builds. Despite being a SeaBee, my friend doesn’t have the requisite woodworking skills to complete something this refined so he asked me to help.

He was given a pretty detailed list of parameters the box had to meet. These included seasoned hardwood, brass corners, handle, hasp and name plate, laser engraved USN Chief’s Anchor and Combat Warfare Badge, and blue velvet lining. He said he could handle the lining if I would help him out w/the woodworking. No problem!

I was able to find all the hardware locally with the exception of the brass corners. I had to order them from a company that specializes in kits for bulding cigar box guitars. And they were able to get them to me in 1 day from half way across the country. This was important as I only had three days to complete the box.

I resawed some red oak and planed it to 1/4” for the front and back of the box. I then took a 3/4” stick of red oak and ran a 1/4” rabbet along both edges. I them cut it to the necessary lengths for the box. After placing the front and back in, I wasn’t happy with the small gap around them. Since I knew the corners were going to be covered I decided to add a walnut strip to fill that gap. I routed an 1/8” groove right along the joint edge and glued in the walnut. I feel it adds a nice accent. Once the glue was dried I cut the sealed box in two with the back section slightly deeper than the front to ensure the handle was balanced. I then took the front to a trophy shop for the laser work. I applied 5 coats of spray polyurethane on the exterior and a couple coats of flat black spray paint to the interior (as a base for the velvet lining).

-- Pat - Biloxi, MS

11 comments so far

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3167 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 12:39 AM

Very nice work

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View degoose's profile


7257 posts in 3862 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 12:45 AM


-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1126 posts in 3938 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 02:42 AM

No NO NO… can’t help the new chief do what he was required to do. As a retired Chief, I can tell you these detailed instructions are meant to help the new Chief, regardless of how frustrating they may seem.

I too had similar instructions. I bought the $99 delta table saw, set it on some boxes on the 10×6’ deck of my 3rd floor condo, and got to work. I wasn’t about to let these “real” Chiefs make a fool out of me. I ended up creating it out of big box store wood, put all the requisite hardware on, then proceeded to drill out the screw heads so no devious underling or chief could get in the box if were stolen from me. The point of the box is to protect the new chief’s “charge book” from being desecrated. I didn’t have the tools or experience to inset a lock on it, so I improvised and used a keyed window sash lock and again, drilled out the screw heads. No one could intentially damage the box, but if you left them a way in, say by unscrewing the hinges, it was fair game. My box never was compromised and it sits in the living room to this day, and I made Chief in 1995.

You did a great thing making the box for him, but he didn’t get the intent of the exercise. Hope he doesn’t compromise his orders when the men he leads are counting on his integrity and resourcefulness.

Sorry, making Chief is no easy task, and the process one goes through on the way to achieving that milestone in ones career is very near and dear to my heart.

STGCS Scott M. Oldre RET.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Pat Cavanaugh's profile

Pat Cavanaugh

164 posts in 3878 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 03:13 AM

@ Scott – I appreciate what you’re saying. However, you stated “when the men he leads are counting on his integrity and resourcefulness”. I don’t believe he compromised his integrity while relying on his resourcefulness to get a task completed that he knew he couldn’t possibly do himself. In my opinion, he recognized his limitations and utilized the resources at his disposal.

-- Pat - Biloxi, MS

View TimL's profile


36 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 03:18 PM

Like your box, it took that selectee a lot to seek you out for help. Great that he sought out the “system expert” for his project. Should ask him if he needs a vessel to protect his new cover as well. Just make sure you sign your work so he remember’s who made it.

View Freakazoid's profile


68 posts in 3286 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 10:40 PM

Ahhhh memories….

CPO class of 2002. Retired as ETCS in 2007.

-- I can complicate anything

View chilimac's profile


29 posts in 3405 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 02:17 AM

Pat, that’s a fine looking vessel. I think that your buddy will keep his integrity intact as long he gives you credit when presenting his book to the Genuines. He has certainly displayed resourcefulness by going to an expert to assist him make the vessel, he might (and should) catch a little hell for not doing it himself, but that is just a part of the process.

In my group we fortunately had a couple of people who were skilled woodworkers and it certainly rekindled my love for woodworking that I hadn’t felt since I was learning from my dad as a kid. Personally, I think he might have been showing a little respect to the book by looking for an expert to help, I think he knew or was told how serious that part was.

Speaking of signing our work, we enlisted the aid of some of the family members when making our hat boxes, so each selectees and each of the family involved signed the bottom. Good times.

-- Big discoveries don't go "Eureka!", they go "Huh. That's funny..." They just as frequently go *bang* and *woosh*...

View Mike R.'s profile

Mike R.

214 posts in 3152 days

#8 posted 08-07-2014 01:54 PM

A seabee that couldn’t work with wood ?

View wildhorse629's profile


1 post in 801 days

#9 posted 08-06-2017 02:42 PM

Do you have plans for this project? Always like to get multiple ideas prior to starting a project.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3374 days

#10 posted 08-06-2017 07:13 PM

This is a beautiful box and so beautifully done.

\helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Pat Cavanaugh's profile

Pat Cavanaugh

164 posts in 3878 days

#11 posted 08-07-2017 07:23 PM

wildhorse69 – I don’t have plans as I followed the instructions he provided and as I said they were very detailed.

-- Pat - Biloxi, MS

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