Powercat Box #1

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Project by Woodhacker posted 04-17-2008 06:53 AM 4578 views 7 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This box is posted for any Kansas State University fans out there. I made 3 of these to date, each somewhat different, but basically using the same “Powercat” inlay. Some time ago, I contacted KSU to get permission to use the Powercat logo, in case I ever decided to sell one of these boxes rather than use them as gifts. I sent pictures and everything but never heard a word back.

The contrasting woods are purpleheart and birdseye maple. The dovetails are hand cut and are slightly grouped into two’s for a unique pattern. The top is a frame/panel type construction using tongue and groove joinery on all four sides. The panel in the top frame is flush with the frame and both have a slight 45 degree bevel to highlight the border between the two. The miters could be a little tighter. They have a 3/8 inch by ¼ inch maple spline running the entire length of the miter for strength. The feet are birdseye maple as well.

The lid handle is also purpleheart and is fastened via mortise/tenon.

The four inlay pieces that make up the Powercat were cut using a scroll saw and the recesses for the inlay were cut by hand, but I also used a trim router with a 1/8 inch bit too carefully remove as much as possible prior to changing to chisels and flexcut gouges to remove the excess from the perimeter of the recesses.

The piece was sanded to 320 grit before finishing. Since I wanted to preserve the purple color as long as possible (before it turns brownish with age) I used a water based finish with UV protection to slow down the aging affect from light. I was afraid that an oil base finish would darken the purpleheart too much initially. I put on 8 coats and sanded between every several coats until most of the grain pores were filled in….finishing with 1500 grit. I hand rubbed the finish using an auto body polishing (no grit) compound…which worked very well, then rubbed in a light coat of clear liquid wax made for guitar finishes.

-- Martin, Kansas

17 comments so far

View Davesfunwoodworking's profile


278 posts in 5207 days

#1 posted 04-17-2008 07:15 AM

Very nice job. You did a great job on the dovetails and the inlay. Very nice box!!!!!!

-- Davesfunwoodworking

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5218 days

#2 posted 04-17-2008 07:58 AM

GO K-STATE!!!! Very nice job. Last thing I heard was that K-State does not own the logo some coach does and I can’t remember the name.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5398 days

#3 posted 04-17-2008 09:22 AM

Great looking box – the dovetails are really nice, the contrasting woods bring everything together. Don’t know much about K-State, but I know I like their box. Good job.

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5579 days

#4 posted 04-17-2008 10:30 AM

Beautiful colors and unique box. Well done overall. Love the contrasting colors. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 5138 days

#5 posted 04-17-2008 10:38 AM

I like contrasting colours and these are really nice. Good job.
Were the inlays done using templates and the router?

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5154 days

#6 posted 04-17-2008 12:34 PM

Hi Martin,

This is a beautiful box. The contrasting woods add visual interest to the piece.

Thanks for the post.

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

View wwnovice's profile


104 posts in 5518 days

#7 posted 04-17-2008 01:39 PM

Beautiful box – I like the wood choices, the dovetails and the inlay is great.

-- John

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 5131 days

#8 posted 04-17-2008 03:14 PM

Exceptional work – the choice of woods is excellent -

I think you were smart contacting K-State before trying to sell – in either case if the logo contains the little R in a circle—-it is a registered trademark and cannot be USED without the owners permission. You may contact them again with offering a percentage of your sales price be donated to the general scholarship fund——-this may give a small gratis incentive for them to provide you permission…. You may really finish one out and send it to the Chancellor with a letter – but I strongly suggest NOT selling before you get thier permission, many take a harsh view of proprietary rights – in any case

Wonderful craftsmanship.

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5321 days

#9 posted 04-17-2008 04:12 PM

Fantastic job! Excellent inlay and execution!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5551 days

#10 posted 04-17-2008 05:41 PM

Very nice job. The inlay is terrific!

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

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 5056 days

#11 posted 04-18-2008 12:04 AM

Thanks for all your comments/encouragement. It’s really amazing to see all the great craftsman and their work here on this site.

David – I probably don’t do my inlays the easiest way, since I rarely use templates. I start by cutting out the inlay piece out of 3/16 inch or so stock (in this case the purpleheart) then scribe (using a sharp knife) it onto the surface accepting the recess. I use a trim router with a small bit and route freehanded as much as I can. Then I use a combination of chisels, knives, and flexcut gouges to sneak up on the outline. When gluing I mix the sawdust from darkest of the contrasting woods with glue to help hide any gaps.

Bill, thanks for your comments on the trademark. My understanding is that the football coach (Bill Schneider) created the powercat logo, but he couldn’t “cash in” on it as long as he was the active coach. He’s retired now. At that time I made the request (Bill Schneider was still coach at the time) I knew of others who made similar requests and rec’d permission for it’s use…such as on purses, etc. ...of course for a percentage.

I kind of like the idea of sending one to the Chancellor…I’ll have to give that some serious thought. Thanks again.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5183 days

#12 posted 04-18-2008 01:55 AM

Very original.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5207 days

#13 posted 04-18-2008 02:39 AM

Really coo, Martin. Great idea using the mascot.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Kevin's profile


291 posts in 5290 days

#14 posted 04-18-2008 04:36 AM

Coach Bill Snyder is the one who came up with the design, along with another guy in Manhattan.

You should get permission prior to selling.

All of that aside, I love it. I love everything K-State though.

I hope that I can do inlays as well as you did. I have a lot of projects I’d love to put a little Powercat in.

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

View Lip's profile


158 posts in 5382 days

#15 posted 04-30-2008 08:47 PM

That’s a wonderful piece … thanks for sharing!

As far as the Powercat logo goes … if you’re serious about selling stuff with their logo on it … then I would suggest talking to an attorney who’s familiar with acquiring licensing rights … not to say you have to make a federal case out of this … but before I went forward I would want to talk to one to make sure all my ducks were in a row.

You see … I have a sneaking suspiscion that the reason you may not have heard back from anyone may have had something to do with the fact that you were asking the wrong people. While Bill Snyder may very well own the actual trademark rights to the logo … and thus is entitled to a cut of the revenue generated from it … I’d be willing to bet the farm that neither he nor the university have any control over granting commercial licensing rights to it … because other than the University of Notre Dame … it’s the NCAA which grants commercial licensing rights on behalf of it’s members … not the individual schools. These days … the individual schools usually only retain the power to grant rights on a limited basis to campus clubs, fraternities, and alumni associations for fund raising purposes.

As far as those other folks … they may very well have received permission to use the logo from the school at one time or another … and the school may still honor those permissions … but NCAA merchandise has become a big business in recent years and while contractual ties with the entities such as the Big-12 and the BCS have become very lucrative for schools such as Kansas State … in many cases, they’ve also forced schools to tighten up their rules to comply with their contractual obligations … and so a schools that may have been a little more relaxed about granting permission just a few years ago are not as willing to be so relaxed now.

At any rate … I’m not trying to scare you or anyone else off … I’m just simply trying to point out the fact that you or anyone else who’s thinking about going down this road would be wise to at least speak with an attorney before going down this road

-- Lip's Dysfuncational Firewood Farm, South Bend, IN

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