The Family that Makes Boxes Together...

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Project by maplerock posted 01-02-2014 12:08 AM 2094 views 7 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When the kids come home for a visit and notice the abundance of boxes throughout the house they can’t help but want to make one themselves. I am always happy to take them out to the shop and walk them through the process.

Since many parts of the process are dangerous, I may do most of the cutting, but they always do part of each step. They are eager to learn however, and this most recent time, my oldest son and his wife did most of the work with my direction.

In both cases they selected the wood for the box from a batch I already had planed to thickness, and we cut a dado for the floor and jumped right in. The process takes many steps, and we broke it down in segments that needed to be glued up. The cutting and glue up took about two hours spread across a day. Then we cut grooves for splines and did lots of sanding. Next we cut off the tops, sanded some more and installed hinges. More sanding, and then some more sanding, and we were ready for a mineral spirits wipe and tung oil. My wife instructed them as they rubbed with a little steel wool between coats of minwax wipe on poly, and it all came together.

Felt pads on the corners, a suede floor, and a brass chain finished it up.

My daughter in law made this one… Sapele with a spalted maple top made for a very pretty little box ( 9”x6”x5”)

My son the Marine Captain made this bigger box. Ambrosia maple with a walnut top, 14” x 8×6”) A man’s box for sure. The box came out great, but a little pecky section of the top makes it less than perfect. Still, it is a great box, and the experience of doing it with my boy makes it priceless to me.

Making boxes is fun, but doing it with the ones you love makes it even better!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

15 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30407 posts in 2785 days

#1 posted 01-02-2014 12:11 AM

Awesome job. Great experience.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3756 days

#2 posted 01-02-2014 01:06 AM

Those are some mighty fine looking boxes…and great that your family has enough interest to want to get involved.
I think the pecky ambrosia maple looks great…and doesn’t in the least bit make it less than perfect.

View Boxguy's profile


2839 posts in 2715 days

#3 posted 01-02-2014 01:31 AM

Jerry, there is a lot of teacher left in you yet. I am sure your kids enjoyed the bonding experience. Super Glue does a great job of hardening those soft spots. I can just see you enjoying the bonding of the box and the relationships. Surprising how much sanding goes into the process, isn’t it.

These are great looking boxes. They did a super job on these projects. It is something all of you can take pride in.

You always have such a pleasant way of telling the story and keeping us interested in what you have to share. You are skilled at building boxes and drawing your reader into the process. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View NormG's profile


6439 posts in 3451 days

#4 posted 01-02-2014 02:21 AM

This will keep them coming back for more indeed

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2247 days

#5 posted 01-02-2014 02:30 AM

Thanks Monte, Greg, Alan & Norm. I always feel remiss if I don’t acknowledge Al (Boxguy) as the single most influential figure in my boxmaking evolution. Living close as I do, he is a wealth of information and always helpful. Just about every box I make has been influenced by him in some way.

If anyone wonders what it takes to make a quality box, just hold one of Greg’s (the Cajun Box Sculptor) in your hands. He is a true artist and craftsman. That’s what I love about Lumberjocks… talent everywhere!

And I know that I am not alone as I thank Monte for taking the time and effort to comment and encourage. I am sure he has helped many of us with his positive attitude!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View doubleDD's profile


8526 posts in 2490 days

#6 posted 01-02-2014 03:57 AM

Nice boxes and great to share time with the family. I just bought 4 boards of Ambrosia and they were not near as nice as yours. Does your source usually have that nice of a selection or do you just get lucky? (right place,right time}

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

View Tooch's profile


2009 posts in 2323 days

#7 posted 01-02-2014 11:17 AM

these look great, and time with the family is time well spent. not to mention they ended up with some pretty great looking reminders of that time with you!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Roger's profile


21007 posts in 3251 days

#8 posted 01-02-2014 11:48 AM

Kool story and good memories. All the boxes look fantastic.

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

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2271 days

#9 posted 01-02-2014 11:57 AM

Some beautiful boxes, really like the spalted Maple…thanks for sharing.

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

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2960 days

#10 posted 01-02-2014 12:58 PM

Both are very nice.

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

View Dave Haynes's profile

Dave Haynes

203 posts in 3801 days

#11 posted 01-02-2014 09:37 PM

The Ambrosia Maple box it outstanding in appearance!! I used some of this wood in my built-in library project for the door panels a few years back and absolutely love the look of this wood. It would be hard to duplicate a box with this material very often. Great job and keep up the good work teaching.

-- Dave Haynes, Indiana,

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2247 days

#12 posted 01-02-2014 11:40 PM

Thanks to all.

Dave (DoubleDD) I got 5 boards 1×6 x 8ft. while on vacation in Virginia. After getting home and seeing how good it looked and finished (smoooth!) I called them back to have them hold some for me that I could pick up when I visited Virginia again. They were out! They had a stack 5 feet high and 5 feet wide 8 feet long and sold it all. Sure wish I had some more.

Dave Haynes… Thanks for the nice words. I love it too.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View harum's profile


368 posts in 2090 days

#13 posted 03-11-2014 09:07 PM

Great looking boxes! Thanks for sharing. Have been planning to make a box with an attached top like these, but not clear on how to deal with the seasonal movement of the lid panel relative to the lid “frame”. Could you share your tips on this? Is the lid panel just glued to the sides? Can the lid panel eventually break the miters of the top “frame”? Would greatly appreciate your response. Thanks, h.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2247 days

#14 posted 03-12-2014 02:34 AM


That’s a great question. There are a number of box builders in this area that utilize this technique. The boxes seem to hold up well. I have experienced one out of 50+ boxes in the past year that had substantial movement of the top… it shrunk a little bit more than the box itself, creating a lip of about 1/64 inch or so. I hate that.

As for breakage, none so far. The thicker the top piece, the more likely it may alter the closure just a tiny bit. A tiny bit is enough to make me swear though. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often.

I think titebond molding and trim glue is GREAT stuff. Really makes a solid joint.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View harum's profile


368 posts in 2090 days

#15 posted 03-12-2014 04:11 AM

Appreciate your clear and detailed answer. Thank you for the tip on the glue too. Looks like I’ll have to reduce the top panel thickness.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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