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Project by Joe Brumley posted 03-02-2008 05:28 AM 2373 views 9 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are four boxes that I made as gifts for Christmas 2007. They are the Gary Rogowski boxes from Fine Woodworking issue #139. I cut the joinery for the two cherry boxes with my Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw and I cut the joinery for the two ash boxes on the tablesaw and band saw. Both methods worked equally well and both were pretty quick. The only time saver using the power tools was that I did not have to clean up any saw marks with my chisel. The cherry boxes are 4.5” x 10.5” and the ash boxes are 4” x 10”. The finish is shellac. It was my first time using shellac and you can tell from the finish. I was a little pressed for time so I was not able to remove the poorly applied finish and redo it. I was not aware that it is not a good idea to brush on a 3 pound cut until after I had done so. I did try to hit it with some 400 grit sandpaper but that only partially helped.
The handles on the ash boxes are made from walnut, and on the cherry boxes are brazillian cherry handles but you can’t tell the difference with that small of an amount of wood. The interior bottoms are lined with two sheets of rice paper that my wife found at an art supply store. The bottom sheet is plain brown rice paper and the top sheet is more transparent rice paper with the silver design printed on it. I was going to use leather but when my wife showed up with the patterned piece I decided on that instead. I will most likely use leather on the next set that I make.
I had a great time making these boxes and I will definitely make them again. The next time though, I will give myself more than two days to get the finish on before giving them away. Hope you all enjoy.

-- Joe, Indiana,

15 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4276 days

#1 posted 03-02-2008 05:37 AM

Nice looking boxes and gifts. I think leather will make a nice addition to your next boxes. I look forward to seeing those as well.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4599 days

#2 posted 03-02-2008 05:39 AM

Love the design of these boxes. They are on my project list. I like the paper on the bottoms.

The best with all of those finishes is to do lots of samples first. Live and learn.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4331 days

#3 posted 03-02-2008 05:50 AM

These are nice boxes. I really like the addition of the rice paper. It adds a nice touch to the box. Finishing requires patience. A general rule of thumb is that the finishing process should take as long as the construction process. But usually by the time we are finished with the construction phase of the project we get in a hurry to “see” the final product and tend to rush the finishing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 4348 days

#4 posted 03-02-2008 06:40 AM

Nice boxes!

How are you applying your shellac now?


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4297 days

#5 posted 03-02-2008 07:18 AM

Great work, this one has been favorited! I like the addition of the rice paper, it really draws the whole design together.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4575 days

#6 posted 03-02-2008 12:01 PM

Nice work – I agree with everyone on the rice paper – looks great.

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

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 4447 days

#7 posted 03-02-2008 02:38 PM

This box was one of the first things I ever made. Your boxes look a lot nicer. :) Any tips on clamping? I had a hard time with getting the joints tight when clamped.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4727 days

#8 posted 03-02-2008 05:26 PM

Nice job. I really like the way you did the pulls on top.

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

View sharad's profile


1118 posts in 4313 days

#9 posted 03-02-2008 06:54 PM

Besides the making of the boxes I liked the handles.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4050 posts in 4573 days

#10 posted 03-02-2008 08:08 PM

They look great! I think you’d be fine with a little more rub-out and some wax. I love Zinnsser SealCoat because at the supplied 2 pound cut it goes on smooth with a rag rubber and is easy to manage right out of the jug, plus you can topcoat with anything (poly, varnish, whatever).

I also would pass on a tip about using Mirka Abralon pads for rub-out with a RO sander. Couldn’t be faster or slicker.

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

View mjlauro's profile


244 posts in 4270 days

#11 posted 03-02-2008 08:11 PM

Great looking box , nice job

View Joe Brumley's profile

Joe Brumley

70 posts in 4291 days

#12 posted 03-16-2008 02:28 AM

Hey guys, thanks for all of the comments. Douglas thanks for the Mirka link, that seems like a great product. I picked up some Zinnsser SealCoat and I also have a bag of dewaxed shellac so that I don’t have any excuse for the next project.
Josh, as far as clamping goes I made sure to follow Gary’s direction on cutting the joints and clamping went pretty smooth. I set the sides between two bessey clamps and tightened them just enough to hold the ends while I put the f-style clamps on the ends. The horizontal plane of the joints were pulled together with a couple of 4” bessey mini-mite clamps. I will try to take pictures of the next ones.
Thanks again, everyone.

-- Joe, Indiana,

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4492 days

#13 posted 03-16-2008 03:13 AM

great posting … welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4383 days

#14 posted 03-16-2008 11:16 AM

Great looking boxes.

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 4314 days

#15 posted 03-16-2008 12:21 PM

Really nice boxes. I like the colour of the timber – rich.

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