Boxguy's Mail Gets Mangoed

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Project by Boxguy posted 07-24-2013 02:38 AM 5450 views 28 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks, to all who take time to look at projects. I always enjoy reading and replying to questions and comments from you out there in Lumberland. There is a list of tutorials on specific techniques at the end of this posting. I will respond to all who “have your say” in the next 24 hours. So check back for feedback.

Pictured: A small jewelry keeper (8” x 6” x 6 1/2”). The top, tray and internal rails are made from a Mango tree that grew in a friend’s yard in Florida. The sides are from a White Ash tree that grew in Southern Indiana. The corner splines are from a Black Walnut tree that grew in the Knobs area of Southern Indiana.

The tray has a cloth liner and White Ash corner splines. The dividers are made from recycled wooden Venetian blinds.

This is the third and final box commissioned in this size and format for a customer who wanted these to give to relatives as gifts. To my eye, the color tones in the White Ash and walnut help to bring out similar colors in the Mango.

Focus, Wood Swaps: Lumberjock Tim, who lives in Florida, suggested that it might be fun to swap some local woods. Tim and I each sent some wood on the same day, and it was like Christmas waiting to see what would come in the mail. (Hence the posting title “Mangoed Mail”) It might be fun for others out there in Lumberland to try. We certainly had fun swapping wood.

Shipping: Tim and I found that the United States Post Offices have a great deal. For just $12.35 you can send a 14 x 12 x 3 inch package of almost any weight to anywhere in the United States. It arrives in 2 or 3 days, the cardboard container is free, and tracking is free. No worries!

This Flat Rate Package is a great size for box sides, box tops, and small pieces of exotic wood. Planed down to 3/4 inches or so there is enough room to put the parts for 3 wooden boxes into one $12.35 Flat Rate cardboard package. As you can see, Tim sent me a fabulous piece of Mango to make this top.

See Below: For further tips on making boxes there are tutorials arranged by topics below. Just scroll and click.

Tutorials: For methods used to make a box like that pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic. The top topic on the list is new.

Combining Wood Colors:
Adding finger indents:
Mortising and installing hinges:
Cutting off the box top:
Adding splines to a box:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
$5 band clamps:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Jig for 45ing corners:
Organizing a glue-up table:
Finishing tips:
Tips on making trays: for inside boxes:

-- Big Al in IN

30 comments so far

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 5406 days

#1 posted 07-24-2013 03:01 AM

I believe you need to publish a book with all of your tips, techniques , tutorials and TALENT. I want the First copy ,Please sign it as follows.
READ FOLLOW APPLY then maybe you too can be a box maker.

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3161 days

#2 posted 07-24-2013 03:08 AM

Beautiful Box Big Al. People comment on your boxes because you do great work and always give great detail on the building of them, always very informative. You are another LJ I always look forward to seeing what your doing and how you do it. You are very much respected by all ….keep up the great work.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 07-24-2013 03:19 AM

Yep use USPS for all of my shipping, Nice choice of woods on this one Big Al.

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

View SFLTim's profile


59 posts in 3318 days

#4 posted 07-24-2013 03:57 AM

Another great box Al! It was a pleasure trading the Mango with you and I’m so glad to see it worked in the hands of a true craftsman. The next time I get my hands on some “ugly Florida wood”, I will send you a package. I look forward to seeing what you have in mind for that figured Sapodilla I sent. For those that read Al’s description of our trade, you need to know he sent me a stunning collection of some quilted maple, cherry and beautiful walnut. I’m almost afraid to do something with it because it’s so nice. Anyway, I’m glad the Mango found its way to the right guy for the job!

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4179 days

#5 posted 07-24-2013 04:00 AM

Al ,

Good work teach!

Wabi Sabi

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View doubleDD's profile


10926 posts in 3380 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 04:16 AM

You do make some beautiful boxes Al. Your work is one of a kind. Thanks for the links, will take a look at them.

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4645 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 04:31 AM

Great looking box Al…I have never seen mango wood before…it has a really awesome grain.
It is too bad that USPS doesn’t have a larger box than their largest one for the “One price” fee. I need a box at least 5” tall to ship my boxes and couldn’t use their boxes. I end up shipping UPS and pay considerably more…

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3604 days

#8 posted 07-24-2013 05:36 AM


Dave777, thanks. If you hear of an interested publisher, let me know. In the mean time, enjoy the tutorials and think of it as an ebook. Looking forward to another of your scroll saw posts.

Aussie Dave, thanks. Does Australia have some sort of flat rate shipping? I had a small scrap of Silky Oak and made a box about the same size as the one in this posting. It was really strange stuff to feel, and had an odd sort of camouflage effect when the wood was finished. It made a fine box.

Blackie, the flat rate box is a real deal for me too. Hope sales are supporting your tool habit. Cool new toys.

Tim, thanks again for the Mango Wood. You can send along some of this ugly wood any time. Wood is patient and can wait. I have had some of my wood for over 30 years now waiting to be something good and right. I keep listening to it to see what it wants to be and am working on the stack.

Doc, always a pleasure to hear from you again. I appreciate your support on a touchy post lately. I have found another piece of wabi-sabi wood in my old barn. It may make a box, if it doesn’t fall apart. We’ll see. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is complete. Nothing is perfect.

DD Dave, thanks for the compliment. I have passed through Downer’s Grove near St. Louis. Hope the tutorials are a help.

Greg, the USPS does have a shoe box sized cardboard container that I have used to ship boxes about the size of the ones you make. This container does not have the set price. Postage is based on weight and distance. Still, it is not badly priced and can be insured.

Cathyb, (remarks are below) thanks. I know the got-to-get ‘er-done-feeling. Good thing you type about 100 words a minute.

-- Big Al in IN

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4581 days

#9 posted 07-24-2013 05:47 AM

Al, I have about 10 seconds…...
This all looks fab, but I’m working my tail off for these Fairs. One down, two to go. I’ll get back to this next month. Thanks for the post and your willingness to help us learn your skills.

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View Ken90712's profile


18099 posts in 4526 days

#10 posted 07-24-2013 08:33 AM

Nice work as always!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4769 days

#11 posted 07-24-2013 08:34 AM

Great post Al. Like cathyb, I really want to take the time to go through the tutorials… and I agree with Dave about publishing a book. If Doug Stowe can publish, so can you!
Thanks for all the information!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3512 days

#12 posted 07-24-2013 10:50 AM

Another great work of art. Thanks for sharing. Like the idea of wood sharing. I have talked to another LJ member some time ago about the idea and we were going to exchange some wood but for some reason it got put on the back burner.
I for one cant see spending a lot of money on buying blanks when most likely everyone on LJ has some special wood in their area.
South Carolina most popular wood would be cedar. Hard to find black walnut but I do get some from time to time. Then there is oak, popular, cherry, pine, and a host of other wood, oak being the one you can get the most of.
Appreciate your work and all the information you give. I too like the idea of a book but I like the idea I get the information free.
Thanks again and have a great day.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3604 days

#13 posted 07-24-2013 11:55 AM


Ken, thanks. You don’t seem to have many band clamps among your many clamps hanging on the wall. Just click the above for a tutorial to fix that.

Ellen, Stow is not my favorite author/instructor. The book I recommend is _Box-Making Basics by Freedman. The goal of the tutorials is to have ideas available when the need arises.

I try to tuck different ideas into each posting. The links at the end are meant to be an index for those concepts so you don’t have to go from posting to posting trying to remember which one had what idea. I take my cues for what to talk about from the questions others in Lumberland ask. So ask away.

Always good to hear from you and see what you are working on.

Tom, thanks for the very thoughtful reply. I am better at boxes than business. I am not deeply concerned about turning ideas into money. I do feel that if you have gained knowledge you are honor bound to share it with others. Use the index and think of my postings as an E-book…a free E-book. Swap some wood and have fun with it. The free flat rate cardboard boxes make it easy and cheap to do.

-- Big Al in IN

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

549 posts in 5023 days

#14 posted 07-24-2013 12:39 PM

beautiful, beautiful work

-- Joe, Ga

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4250 days

#15 posted 07-24-2013 12:43 PM

Big AL Does it again!!
Very cool box! You make some awesome ones!
Thanks for the story and for the tips, I do not make very many boxes but I sure wish I could make something as great as this!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

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