Boxguy Grows Four Legs...and a Tale

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Project by Boxguy posted 06-30-2012 03:37 AM 8311 views 18 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: A jewelry box with a lift-out tray. The box measures 16” L x 9” W x 7” H, with American Walnut sides, splines, and top piece; and Black Cherry for legs, lid, and tray.

The Tale: I am sure many of you in Lumber Land have had the same dilemma. I just felt a restless need to do something a little different in the shop last week. I still wanted to craft a box, but it needed to be different kind of box.

I make a lot of boxes and am constantly trying out new designs and techniques. This box looked like it wanted to grow legs, so next thing you know that is just what happened. I am still working on the general look and design. Before I build the next in this series, so your suggestions are welcome. I tried several different shapes for the top piece and decided I liked the one that had the same curve as the legs it didn’t look right until I put a 1/4 inch reveal under it. Without the top piece it looked a little too much like a foot stool. Without the reveal the top piece looked just stuck on.

Techniques: If you look closely at the above picture you will notice that each of the shaped and tapered legs are made of one, single piece. They are fastened to the oblong walnut under-box with large splines.

Shaping Legs: I started with a cherry 4×4, and cut a 3/4 inch “L” from two sides. (The 3 3/4 inch square remaining piece became legs for the next box and so on.) Then the legs were then tapered from 3/4 at the bottom to about 1/4 at the top. (They looked too thick otherwise.) The outside leg edges were then sanded to a curved shape, routed and sanded.

Attaching The Legs: The walnut under-box was splined together in the usual manner and then finish sanded since it would be difficult to do that with the legs on. I glued one side of each leg to the under-box and used a strap clamp to hold them in place until the glue dried. Then I cut the progressively shallower corner slots into the legs. The very large bottom spline aligns with the inset bottom of the under-box so the spline can be large, tie all parts of the box together, but not intrude into the box interior. The others just go through the corners of the under-box.

Thanks: As always I appreciate your taking time to look, and I really appreciate those who take time to comment and make suggestions. I will especially welcome any recommendations you have about the general style and shape. Woo-hoo to all of you who made this project a “Top Three.” What an honor. I am grateful to you.

-- Big Al in IN

31 comments so far

View kiefer's profile


5812 posts in 3717 days

#1 posted 06-30-2012 04:42 AM

That’s a nice one AL.
I like everything about it ,looks very serene .
Also the handle could be a little lighter .
The legs are just superb .

-- Kiefer

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4627 days

#2 posted 06-30-2012 04:44 AM

Really cool design and a super build.


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4354 days

#3 posted 06-30-2012 04:45 AM

if you would have carved some toe nails on the bottoms, and put a trunk on one end, it could be a ele fant box, lol…ok not what you want to hear, ive had a reallly long day at a really bad craft show…ill attribute it to the over 103 heat we had…but to me the legs are a little over powering for the box size…they just look to big to me al…but your craftsmanship never fails…but its only my 2 cents and doesnt amount to a hill of beans…i do like the way the splines hold the legs on…well i better quit and just lay and chill…i will pm you with a few details so i can cry in my sweat…goodnight al

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

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4155 days

#4 posted 06-30-2012 05:28 AM

Well Boxguy, I WAS going to put legs on a box. I sure won’t do such detail on mine, If I do it. Great job. I really need to retire and spend some quality time with a project. I kind of agree with Grizzman that the legs seem a little big, but they still look nice. Overall this is a fine box.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 4192 days

#5 posted 06-30-2012 06:40 AM

Hi Boxguy, The craftmanship top notch I am just not sure of the leg size,the lid thickness and the top piece / handle size to big a little more refined would look good. Never the less you maybe on to something with the legs Please see this as my opinion. Regards Roger

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Boxguy's profile


2894 posts in 3318 days

#6 posted 06-30-2012 08:14 AM

Kiefer, Jim, Robert, Roger: The early consensus seems to be smaller legs and trim down the “dog bone” on top. It doesn’t work much as a handle since the edge is easier to pick up. I may post the first one of this series I made with straight legs and a swooped top. That one needed bigger legs I thought. Perhaps I over-compensated. Thanks to all so far for the input I was kind of stuck with how to make this look more like I wanted it to look. If you have any second thoughts…pass them on too.

The nice part about the over-sized splines is that they solve the problem of what to do about gluing together grain that runs two directions. I don’t really expect the glue to hold the legs on, but the spline connection should last a long time.

Grizz, my son called these the “Flintstone” feet since they reminded him of the cartoon characters. It got up to 105 here today. I decided it would be a great day to post this box, take my wonder wife to see a movie, and enjoy a nice meal out. I didn’t set foot in the shop. You must have been in misery!

-- Big Al in IN

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3458 days

#7 posted 06-30-2012 09:49 AM

Beautiful job…..feet and all.

Was 101 here with hellish storms last evening. Temp went from 90’s to 70’s in 1/2 hour!!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3907 days

#8 posted 06-30-2012 10:04 AM

That is a grand box

Very original which must be hard to find

new designs each time you make a box


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Bennie Woods's profile

Bennie Woods

63 posts in 3724 days

#9 posted 06-30-2012 10:45 AM

Nice legs Big Al!
It gives the box some…prominence! I’ve often thought of attaching legs to a box like this but I haven’t yet ventured into those uncharted waters. Artfully done!

-- Bennie Woods, US Navy, GUAM

View Philzoel's profile


303 posts in 3393 days

#10 posted 06-30-2012 10:46 AM

I like the box. Mayb it’s not a jewel box. Looks masculine. Oriental?

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3917 days

#11 posted 06-30-2012 10:54 AM

Very unusual and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3854 days

#12 posted 06-30-2012 12:23 PM

You are killin it with your box designs BigAl. Wow! Super kool

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

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 3818 days

#13 posted 06-30-2012 12:56 PM

While the box is great as usual, the finish is spectacular. If I may ask, what finish process did you use?
Thank you

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 4169 days

#14 posted 06-30-2012 01:09 PM

Very Cool Box Al, this is a real eye catcher and has lots of style, the tray is a nice added feature to a beautiful box, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3548 days

#15 posted 06-30-2012 01:19 PM

I much admire the general design and like the legs as they are, though they seem a little too close together on the end view. Increase the width of the box a bit?
The handle would benefit from having a deeper curve I think, being a touch higher from the lid and having a tapered curved under scoop to enable a better grip. Although it might be difficult, a shallow curve lengthwise on the handle top would compliment the legs. Good looking start Al.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

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