"Second wind"

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Project by KnickKnack posted 05-17-2013 12:02 PM 2817 views 21 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As my mother would have said – this piece of olive was “fait a la mao”, which I think was supposed to mean “hand made”.
When we first moved into this house in Portugal 5 years ago, we had to chop down a “dead” olive tree – it has since regrown into a fine, if multi-, upstanding citizen. This was one of the branches I’ve been lovingly caring for all this time, and I thought I’d have a go at using a piece of it.
It seems like I’ve been actually working on this piece for ever – in fact it’s only 4 weeks (yes, if you do the calculations, that’s 3 days per butt joint (in fact, they’re floating tenons, but that’s just a butt joint’s rich cousin, isn’t it?)). For a few weeks before that I’d been fighting a battle between the forces of good (leave them as they are), and evil (throw away the bark and make them square).
Two weeks were spent working out how to make appropriate hinges – you can see below the ones that didn’t make the grade.

Olive, jatobá, fumed oak, mahogany and cocktail stick hinges.
At it’s biggest, it’s 31cm wide, 17cm deep, and 7cm high.
Finished with Linseed oil (for the colouring), then danish oil and varnish.

I keep forgetting how I did things, so, for my future reference and in case something might pique someone’s brain cells, there follows some construction pictures…

Cutting “strange” angles on the table saw is easy (even if I had one, which I don’t), but then routing the mortises on those edges isn’t. So I adapted my most excellent 45° router jig . It took a few attempts on scraps to get the exact angle to match the tops …

Pieces made – ready to go, except I need hinges! ...

It took a while to make these oak and mahogany detailed hinges, but I decided they were a bit on the large side, even though they’re pretty jolly small …

These little jatobá guys just didn’t seem right …

Glueing “strange” angles is always a challenge …

Finally – hinges I can work with – just need a lot of sanding with nail manicure sticks. Luckily I had a 2.5mm drill bit – I couldn’t find any 3mm cocktail sticks. Wave the sandpaper 3 times at the stick and it’s snug, but not too snug, fit …

How to get gluing pressure on a tiny hinge bit? ...

OK – the scary bit is over – and, testing the pudding – do they open? ...

Make basic base from book-matched end-grain oak. All the oak is bookmatched and, before I put on the finish, it looked just lovely on the front bar – but the finish has almost killed the match – officionados with microscopes can see it though, and I know it’s there…

Bottom finally made – the dowels holes are so I can relocate it in exactly the right place. I can’s finish it later, after assembly, since it needs serious fuming, and I don’t want to grey up the jatobá …

I need the base proud of the box itself. Now, how am I going to do that? Add a bit of wood the my fence, above the bit…

And for the back – a flush trim bit, but flush trim to a bit of plywood I clamp onto the side …

Final assembly …

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

30 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2033 posts in 3631 days

#1 posted 05-17-2013 12:13 PM

That is a fantastic box!

Congrats on braving the storm of “issues” and coming out on top.

Also, I love the hinge idea – this one is a favorite for sure!



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2617 days

#2 posted 05-17-2013 12:15 PM

cool box

-- Joel

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 05-17-2013 12:19 PM

That’s a really nice box. So well done and so well presented.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30475 posts in 2901 days

#4 posted 05-17-2013 12:23 PM

Absolutely awesome. Closed it looks like a B1 bomber.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


8808 posts in 2606 days

#5 posted 05-17-2013 12:36 PM

Really beautiful, and great design. Actually reminds me of a stealth fighter.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Karson's profile


35209 posts in 4963 days

#6 posted 05-17-2013 12:49 PM

Beautiful box and great construction details.

A very nice tutorial.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View LookingGlass's profile


77 posts in 2671 days

#7 posted 05-17-2013 12:59 PM

A beautiful box. One of the best I have seen.

-- Take care.....Ed

View scrollsaw's profile


13032 posts in 4417 days

#8 posted 05-17-2013 01:08 PM

I like the design and the look.Great job

-- Todd

View Chad256's profile


131 posts in 2449 days

#9 posted 05-17-2013 01:22 PM

Very. Very nice box! Way to keep pushing through the problem areas and coming up with a great solution. Thanks for sharing…

-- -- Chad -- T&C Woodworks

View fisherdoug09's profile


125 posts in 3237 days

#10 posted 05-17-2013 01:32 PM

Beautiful box, I love the look of Olive wood. Living in the US its hard to come by. I have gotten some from an uncle in No Calif. near the town of Croning which is the olive capital of the US.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3871 days

#11 posted 05-17-2013 02:47 PM

Awesome is obvious that you put a lot of work and thought into it.

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2830 days

#12 posted 05-17-2013 02:48 PM

I like this box for the sheer audacity of making a truly original shape and design. It was four weeks well spent. One of my favorite things about building boxes is the problem solving involved in the process. In this design you have set yourself a real task and have solved the attendant problems beautifully. I especially like the determination you showed in the hinges by not settling for “good enough” and instead strove for “excellent.”

Thanks for taking us through the building process and telling us the story behind the wood. This was an enjoyable posting and has earned a well-deserved “Top Three.” Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Woodbridge's profile


3692 posts in 2981 days

#13 posted 05-17-2013 02:52 PM

beautiful box. that is a great design, so unique.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Gary's profile


9411 posts in 3996 days

#14 posted 05-17-2013 02:53 PM

Man, you did some really great work. The construction was really cool to see. Thanks for a great tutorial

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3326 days

#15 posted 05-17-2013 03:48 PM

You have out done yourself ! Beautiful, awesome, fantastic, and all the rest of the accolades in the world cannot express what you accomplished !

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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