Boxguy Does Liner Notes

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Project by Boxguy posted 07-07-2012 10:10 AM 4378 views 11 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: A walnut and oak box designed to hold all the tools needed to accurately cut cloth or leather to fit inside boxes. It is about 2 1/2’L x 2’W x 3’‘H. On the top is a self-healing, ruled, rubber mat designed to let you use a rotary cutting wheel and wide plastic ruler to cut cloth accurately. These tools were actually designed to cut out pieces of cloth for making quilts and are available at sewing centers and cloth stores. The steel rule is used to get accurate measurements of the cloth size needed.

The goal is to add a cloth liner to the box or tray inside the box.

The Box

The Slot: The wide, see-through ruler slides inside and is inserted into a slot much like the one used to insert floppy discs into a dated computer. The finger indents above and below this end of the box let you get a grip on the end of the wide ruler and pull it out. These wide rulers are useful for two reasons. First you can get your fingers out of the way when you are using the rotary cutter. Second, you can align the marks on the ruler with the grid on the mat and get a perfectly straight, square cut on the cloth.

The Drawer: This is cloth lined over a plywood cutout of the tools. The cutouts are slightly over sized to leave room for the cloth. This drawer holds the rotary cutter and the scissors.

The Handle: This lets me move an awkwardly-sized box easily, and set the it out of the way and on the floor when I am not using it. The handle is made of some plumbing fittings painted black. (Note: I included further construction details in answer to Joe’s question below.)

If all has gone well, it should look something like this.

Critique: This simple box helps me keep my tools for making box liners organized and in one place. Time spent wandering around the shop looking for tools to do the job is time wasted, and is frustrating. If you have everything you need at hand and ready, the work goes more smoothly and pleasantly. A rotary cutter, mat, wide ruler, and scissors are a necessity if you are going to get cloth or leather to fit exactly inside a box or tray. I like to use a wide variety of cloth and colors to pick up the look of my jewelry boxes. It helps sales and attracts the eye. Most Lumber Jocks prefer the look of all wood, many customers don’t, and softer surfaces keep scratches off jewelry.

Thanks: As always thanks to all of you in Lumber Land who take time to look at this project. A special thanks to those who go to the trouble to make comments and suggestions. Your support in making this a “Top Three” is a real boost and keeps me going on my projects and postings thanks again to all in Lumber Land.

-- Big Al in IN

19 comments so far

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3760 days

#1 posted 07-07-2012 10:45 AM

Big Al very nice! I tried the cloth on my first boxes but I found it time consuming for me, then I learned about the flocking system so that’s what I’ve been using but I don’t flock all of my boxes, my spalted hackberry is not flocked or covered I just can’t see covering up that beautiful wood. :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View ruddy's profile


550 posts in 4186 days

#2 posted 07-07-2012 10:59 AM

Big Al,
That is a great set up you have made. You are obviously well organised…..
Thanks for posting.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4104 days

#3 posted 07-07-2012 12:30 PM

Very well done

Nice neat and looks GREAT


-- 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 GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3520 days

#4 posted 07-07-2012 02:32 PM

Big Al,

I beleive there would be a market for that cutter box, and you should display it when you show your other Beautiful Boxes.

My Mother is 86 and holds 2 Quilting classes weekly, all three of my sisters quilt and one of my Granddaughters is now learning the craft.

I would like very much to send the pictures of your portable cutting system to them for their comments, if you wouldn’t mind. This could possibly open a new door for you if you would be interested.

Best Regards – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View a1Jim's profile


118259 posts in 4824 days

#5 posted 07-07-2012 02:38 PM

Very unique design great job,very creative.


View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 07-07-2012 02:46 PM

Hey, you made a box so you can make more boxes efficiently. You are a dedicated man. Did you get that Wabi-Sabi book?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4051 days

#7 posted 07-07-2012 02:51 PM

A super nice work station for doin what you said. Very nice and useful.

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4114 days

#8 posted 07-07-2012 03:33 PM

This is a beautiful station for your shop. All of your work is exceptional to me. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 4857 days

#9 posted 07-07-2012 04:50 PM

You do some beautiful work , very clever design and great idea for cutting material .

View Boxguy's profile


2901 posts in 3515 days

#10 posted 07-07-2012 05:53 PM

Randy, I find that with this system I can line a box more quickly than I can flock one, and it is way less mess. I also get greater variation in color and pattern. It is all about the tools (as always).

Ruddy, if you are selling boxes…organization is money and time is beyond price.

Jamie, thanks…and I love the Goethe quote.

Pa-Pa Len, if you like the design, I’d be glad to work with you so you could make one for your family quilters. Nothing difficult about it.

Jim, thanks for the compliment.

Doc, I found it on Amazon and buying the book is on my “to do” list when I get my next check from the gallery.

Jim, Roger, Charles, Jerry, thanks all of you. This is sort of Boxguy’s big box for building better boxes. (Try saying that three times really fast.)

Charles, many in Lumber Land hear the beat of their own drummer, and step to it quite nicely.

-- Big Al in IN

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3495 days

#11 posted 07-08-2012 01:23 AM

Boxguy, this is amazing. My wife would love one of these. How is the self healing mat held down? I imagine it is easily replaceable?


View Boxguy's profile


2901 posts in 3515 days

#12 posted 07-08-2012 02:47 AM

Joe, Thanks for the thoughtful question. A friend who does quilting says these mats last a long, long time. I have used this mat for quite a while and it is truly self-healing so I decided to glue it to the plywood top with the greenish gooey stuff you use to stick down floor tiles. I applied it with a notched trowel. I suppose I will just stick another on top of this mat if it ever wears out. Here are the problems I faced: Any metal fastener would get in the way or dull my rotary cutter. a rim or clamp would interfere with the ruler, I didn’t want any wrinkles in the mat, and I like to keep solutions as simple as possible…therefor the glue. You may find a better solution. If you do let me know, please.

If you are going to make one, look at the back. The center divider there provides a way to put a dado groove in both sides to let the drawer slide. Although I used just the front part, the slide goes the full length to give me a stop and it keeps the “drawer” from tilting when opened. The drawer is basically a sliding board in a groove with a lined cutout board on top of the slide.

The ruler slot has a board at the bottom and top to let the ruler glide in and out easily. I also put a couple of coats of finish on the board before I installed it. You may want to leave enough room for two rulers at least. Other sizes and shapes may be useful in quilt making.

Joe, I basically made this just like I would make a box with an inset bottom except I did not glue the 45s on the drawer end, and the top sits flush in an open dado. If you have other questions just ask.

-- Big Al in IN

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3495 days

#13 posted 07-08-2012 03:07 AM

Thanks for the great tips! I am definitely making one. The mats do heal well, but my wife usually goes through them annually, and she buys expensive ones. Do you use the titanium cutters? My idea was to inlay it and use that tacky stuff that you use to hold down area rugs under it. I’ll keep the border about 1/32” lower than the mat. her’s are also reversible so when one side stops “healing” she can flip it There exists the possibility of sending the cutter over/through the wood on the top, but she will just have to be careful. She mostly uses it for quilting and almost never cuts full edge to edge (she uses the 18”x24” mats, and generally cuts 12” squares). Also since she almost always cuts on 90 degree angles, I was thinking of incorporating some woodworking style jigs like a ruler on T-tracks with positionable positive stops. Finding a way to incorporate that without detracting from aesthetics will be hard, and she is all about aesthetics.

To make things even more complicated, I want to put the top on a hinge so I can create a storage area for thread spools and bobbins. She has a lot of boxes of random stuff that creates a lot of clutter. A single solution would be very welcomed. My selfish motive is getting the crappy White (brand and color)plastic boxes out of here. Also I do quite a bit of sewing (go ahead an laugh guys, but you’d be surprised how handy canvas pouches and tool rolls can be, and making them work WELL is not as easy as it looks)

When I start drawing up plans, I will definitely send you a few specific questions as I run into them


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3937 days

#14 posted 07-08-2012 03:18 AM

A really nice box with a purpose. I can see a lot of uses for that type box/top. I’m sure my wife will want one to go on her 3 legged sewing table that I built for her sewing room.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile


2901 posts in 3515 days

#15 posted 07-08-2012 09:15 AM

Andy, keep me posted if you make one. I am always looking to improve on ideas. Three legged table?

Joe and others, if you find better design ideas or concepts let me know. Even better, ask the person in your house who sews about adding improvements.

-- Big Al in IN

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