Boxguy Gets A Bird's Eye View

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Project by Boxguy posted 08-01-2013 02:31 AM 7102 views 16 times favorited 15 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 is a jewelry keeper (11 x 7 x 5 1/2). This box features a sliding tray, a stop chain, and faux feet. The top is Koa veneer on poplar. The sides of the box and the tray are both Bird’s Eye Maple (hence the title) with Jarrah corner splines.

Focus…Routers in box making: This box features faux or false feet. I first saw this style of foot on one of Andy’s boxes a few months ago. It has the look of a foot, but it is really formed by using a large roundover bit to cut away the wood between the bottom corners of a box. It gives a box a lighter look and lets it float a bit in appearance.

It is not efficient to spend time setting up tools. So I have six mounted routers with various sizes and shapes of bits. For rounding edges I use three basic sizes. 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 inch round-over bits mounted on boards. This set up is as basic as it gets. Two routers mounted under a board. The board has a 2×4 screwed onto it. The 2×4 is clamped in place by the jaws of a 100-year-old vise. (When I need the vise, the routers come out and are tipped to the back of the bench.)

For the larger round overs used to make these legs, I used this bit and router which is mounted in my saw table extension.

These three sizes (1/4, 1/2, 3/4) are all of the diameters of bits that I use to make a wide variety of boxes and trays. It is such a joy to simply walk up to the router and make a shape without any fuss or set-up. Routers are one of the few tools in the shop where it pays to have a large number of moderately priced tools rather than just buying one nice tool.

This box was crafted using a 1/2 inch roundover bit for the corners, the top of the tray, and the inside rim of the top and bottom. 1/4 inch roundover bit for the bottom of the tray and the inside of the tray’s top edge. The 3/4 inch bit was used for the faux-leg cut away. Sometimes I use the 3/4 inch bit for the box top and the corners on a box like the one below. With just three sizes of roundover bits there are many possible shapes and looks for boxes.

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

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

-- Big Al in IN

15 comments so far

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8639 posts in 4811 days

#1 posted 08-01-2013 02:56 AM

Beautiful Boxes Al, I love the false feet look and the bird’s eye is so nice! Your posts are so well put together with so much useful information! Great craftsmanship in all that you do! Love your work!
Thanks for sharing!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View pumperdude's profile


29 posts in 3476 days

#2 posted 08-01-2013 05:01 AM

Thanks Guy for being one of the great teachers on this website. Were you ever an instructor/teacher? Whenever I get “arroundtuit” your post will be enormously helpful in getting my projects right from the get go.

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 5528 days

#3 posted 08-01-2013 08:21 AM

Another elegant set of boxes with fantastic info. Thanks so much for all the insight one of these days I will get some shop time and put that info to use.

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

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4891 days

#4 posted 08-01-2013 10:45 AM

I really like the look of the “false feet”. It gives the box an elegance that is often missing in a box.
You certainly have a way with wood… I wish I had your time and creativity!

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

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3634 days

#5 posted 08-01-2013 10:56 AM

As always love your work and most of all love the information that you share with use. Not many people left in this life that takes the time to share as you and others on lumberjocks do. I can’t think of any site that shares so much information, and its free.

I still struggle almost every day when doing wood work. Then I sign on to lumberjocks and go looking for information as how other LJ members handle the problem and I can always find someone that has already solved my problem. Can’t ask for more than that.

I want to make a table for resaw for my bandsaw and I found what I want on here. I wanted a better way to hold boxes for glue up and I found that from you. I could go on and on but bottom line is LJ members supply the answers and details on how to make about any jig.

I feel blessed to be a member of this site. Maybe in time I will be one of those that has information to share.

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

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3283 days

#6 posted 08-01-2013 11:33 AM

As always Al a beautiful box and the birds eye maple is beautiful… and like the others before me, the false feet look great. As always your information and links to how to’s are always great learning. To say great job now I have seen several of your boxes seems and understatement as you always do that and better.

Also Al a couple of box post ago you asked me about flat rate postage or shipping in Australia…I did send you a Pvt message, did you get it? If not let me know and I can send again.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3726 days

#7 posted 08-01-2013 01:49 PM


Tony, wow! Your comments were very generous and made me feel that I am doing some things right. Thanks, I appreciate that you took time to say such nice things. I have been wondering about your horizontal mortise machine. Did you find a good application for that? I thought of you this week when our grandson visited and he played for days on the low table I built for him after reading your post.

Pumper, thanks. I am looking forward to seeing a posting of some of your work. Yes, I did teach for 35 years, but have been enjoying retirement.

Dave, thanks. I am looking forward to seeing more of that scroll work you do so patiently. My experience is that I seem to make time for those things that are important to me.

Ellen, the “leg” idea is one I got from Andy, and this site is a good source of ideas for any woodworker. Thanks too for the high praise, but having seen your ribbon boxes and self-made inlay I’d say you do just fine on creativity. As you know time is life’s most precious commodity and like everyone I squander days that I shouldn’t, but I am keenly aware that with approaching age, time is finite for our minds and bodies. I am blessed to have this period in my life where I enough health, time, and resources to follow my bliss.

Tom, thanks for sending such a thoughtful comment. Having learned most of my techniques from mistakes, I would like to spare some others some of that effort. As you know, however, some of my best ideas started as mistakes that I had to think my way out of. I have some boxes that have been sitting in the time-out corner of my shop for months waiting for better ideas to come along. I agree, this site is certainly a pleasant place to share and be part of. Keep boxing and keep posting.

Dave, thanks for the nice compliments. As a younger man I contemplated going to Australia to live and have been curious about your country and customs. A few small samples of your local woods have come my way and they are beautiful. Silky Oak and the Jarrah I used in this box are examples. I’ll send you a PM soon.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ottacat's profile


556 posts in 3310 days

#8 posted 08-01-2013 02:53 PM

Another great box. Birds-eye is one of my favorite woods. I also really like the faux legs as the others have commented. Thanks again for your detailed explanation. The use of multiple routers is quite interesting.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8639 posts in 4811 days

#9 posted 08-01-2013 03:51 PM

Al, in reply to your ?
I will be using my HMM (Horizontal Mortise Machine ) as soon as the temperatures come down to where I can stand them out in my shop. We need a head board so that machine will come in handy.
As you know it gets very humid and hot here in Florida in the summer. I have a fan the shop but boy oh boy I just get so dripping wet and it’s no fun working in there. Sweating on the material is not so good, so I just hold off from doing anything major in the shop until cooler days arrive. Everyone says I should put AC in there but my shop is our garage and that wouldn’t work to well. We used the garage door as our entry door, in and out all the time.

Also, I’m having a bit of trouble with my right eye. It’s a cataract and I’m working on getting that fixed soon.

Glad your grandson is getting to have fun at the play table you built. Makes me wish I was a kid again. As a child I loved playing with blocks. But I had the old brittle type, hours of fun though! Remember these?

Keep up those beautiful boxes coming Al. They are all so well proportioned and top notch craftsmanship!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View weav's profile


133 posts in 3826 days

#10 posted 08-01-2013 06:38 PM

Beautiful boxes. Thats one tool I dont have, but would like one…a router. I have the material to make a table.
Maybe if I build the table the router will come.

-- jerry

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4325 days

#11 posted 08-01-2013 07:41 PM

It’s a wonderful box, Al. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jeffswildwood's profile


5134 posts in 3436 days

#12 posted 08-01-2013 11:15 PM

Another nice box, al. I took notice of the feet on it using the roundover bit. Quite creative, I may try this.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3971 days

#13 posted 08-01-2013 11:23 PM

Awesome work and boxes Big Al, thanks for the info, Tutorials and for sharing.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3726 days

#14 posted 08-02-2013 12:12 AM


Otta, good to hear from points North. Thanks for the kind words. You should post that neat box you are using for your avatar. I don’t see it in your projects file. Keep posting and keep boxing.

Tony, I am lucky enough to live in a location without any close neighbors. So in the summer I can work at night when it is cooler and make all the noise I need to. I agree with you, damp cooling coils and sawdust do not mix very well.

I loved playing with American Bricks! After finding that I liked them, my parents bought me several American Bricks sets at Goodwill. For years, I would spend summer mornings and Saturday mornings building houses by the score. What fun. Thanks for the memory jogger.

Jerry, for building boxes a cheaper router like Ryobi with a 1/4 inch shaft for bits does fine for the smaller diameter bits. You might need a bit more heft for the 3/4 sized bits.

Let me know how you do with the tables. I guess it never hurts to put a little router bait out in your shop in hopes of attracting wild routers near enough for you to ensnare them. I do something like that with Decon for the mice in my shop…That works too.

Charles, thanks for the kind words. Happy moulding, and that is a cute dog.

Jeff, the legs were Andy’s idea. They do take some extra sanding. I just sight down the corner spline’s inside edge for a starting and ending point for the route.

Randy, thanks. I liked your cedar potato bin. Nice concept. Looks like they have all the cranes in place for building the new bridge. I may visit the Hot Rod show in Louisville this week to get my annual fix on hot rods, so I don’t feel I have to buy one.

-- Big Al in IN

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4262 days

#15 posted 08-03-2013 12:57 PM

Someone already said it, but, I’ll say it again. Very elegant. Your box creations are all a definite piece o art.

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

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