Commemorative shadow box

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Project by Froggy posted 11-11-2011 08:55 AM 3548 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, from a woodworking perspective, there is hardly anything especially interesting in this project, but for me it is quite special… This is a tribute to my grandfather. He fought in the Red Army during The Great Patriotic War (for all Russians it will always be remembered by that name, not the World War II). He took part in the battle of Moscow, had victories and defeats in Ukraine, in Belarus, on the Baltic… He celebrated the Victory Day in Eastern Prussia, near Kenigsberg, being a First Leutenant at that time. Retired Major in 1963. I was thinking about making some sort of a display for his mementos for a long time, and finally, here it is. It’s interesting, when I finished it, I had a feeling that I kept a promise given a long time ago. Hard to describe, but it’s very rewarding and satisfying, and I am sure many of you who did similar projects can relate to that…

The material for the box and the door frame is maple, lightly gel-stained “golden oak” and finished with 5 coats of a dewaxed shellac (I also used a sealing coat of the same shellac before staining, to prevent blotching). The backboard is made of 1/4” floor laminate boards. The box is square, so, with the removable display panel (1/8” hardboard with felt), it can be hung in any orientation, with the door swinging to the left or right, or lifting upward. For the same purpose, the hangers on the back are also mounted on all four sides. One thing I want to mention is the joinery for the box frame (on the sketch). I wanted to do something stronger than a miter, and better looking from the outside than a rabbet or butt joint (with no visible end grain). “Lock miter” would have been ideal, but I didn’t have that router bit. However, I did have a “drawer lock” bit, which I used in combination with a standard 45-deg chamfering bit (see the drawing). Sorry if I reinvented the wheel, but I haven’t seen joints done in this particular way, and would be glad if someone finds it useful… :)

Profiles, grooves and joints for the box were done on a router table; everything else with hand tools. All miters (the door and small frames) were done on a shooting board—I made one for myself some time ago after watching a video by David Charlesworth, and I love this tool!

I wanted to install a lock in it, but coudn’t find something I’d like among standard furniture locks, so I used one of a handful of cam locks I collected from various sources (had to “invent” the latch mechanism).

Thanks for looking!

11 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17819 posts in 3794 days

#1 posted 11-11-2011 12:44 PM

This is a great story and tribute to your Grandfather. Mine was also an officer in that was for the US Marines. I had the privilege to meet some Russian Sailors in Pakistan while I was in the US Navy. We were all surprised to learn we had many things in common and got along well. It became evident that the only reason we didn’t like one another was our government or news taught us this. We had had a great time together and will never forget that time in my life.
Great project and post.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View John Cleary's profile

John Cleary

74 posts in 3389 days

#2 posted 11-11-2011 02:00 PM

This is a very nice piece. Great story also as ken90712 wrote.

-- crumbs make bread--

View CampD's profile


1807 posts in 4092 days

#3 posted 11-11-2011 04:31 PM

Very nice presentation.
fitting day to post it

-- Doug...

View a1Jim's profile


117906 posts in 4183 days

#4 posted 11-11-2011 05:32 PM

very nice tribute to your grandfather


View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6789 posts in 3800 days

#5 posted 11-11-2011 06:21 PM

I think your granfather would/is be very proud that his grandson made this beautiful shadow box. The story was great behind the building of such a wonderful gift….Is your grandfather still alive? I take it he is…...

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View DigitalFabber's profile


95 posts in 3764 days

#6 posted 11-11-2011 08:10 PM

Awesome ….

-- Factory in a box ...

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 3267 days

#7 posted 11-11-2011 08:35 PM

Thanks, guys!

Ken – you are right about us being not so different. It’s sad when the whole nations are painted as enemies by governments, and we all know that the actual people of a country are not the same as their government…

Doug – the day was a pure coincidence, but a good one.

Rick – I wish my granddad was still alive, I would pay dearly for that… He was only 69 when he passed away in 1987.

View Rembo's profile


408 posts in 3556 days

#8 posted 11-11-2011 08:44 PM

хорошая идея ! посмотрел тоже есть ордена и медали .
полный набор кавалера знака “шахтерская слава ” и орден “знак почета ”
постараюсь тоже оформить ,как и вы .

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 3267 days

#9 posted 11-12-2011 05:11 AM

Роман – рад, что идея понравилась и оказалась полезной! :)

View tigger959's profile


50 posts in 4335 days

#10 posted 11-16-2011 01:59 PM

Beautiful. Want to do the same. Hope it comes out half as nice!

-- Tigger, Texas

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3409 days

#11 posted 01-16-2012 04:04 PM

a very gr8 way o tell a story, and/or give a tribute. very well done

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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