Shaker Berry Box

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Project by jjw5858 posted 04-14-2014 07:35 PM 1627 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello friends, I hope all of you are well and enjoying your recent shop creations.

I feel like the time is right for me to enter a new phase into my hobby woodworking career. I have played around with made up designs, and roughing out various projects made of wood on and off for almost 4 years now. It has really been a blast. I would like to thank all of my friends here at LJ’ s who have shown such strong support and care for my ideas and blogs. Thank you.

Now is a good time for me to seek out some form of order. Perhaps a more planned out quest so I may learn more about the history of this craft of working wood. It is always fun to explore and sing your own tune, but it is most important to know why the music is played in the first place.

So, I am hoping to share a few projects this upcoming year that will involve the wonderful craftsmanship of the Shakers!

The Shaker style has always been one that draws me in, the simplicity, the complexity, the overall look. I realize looking at the various options of projects that I will have no lack of very challenging hills to plane my Stanley #4 with.

This first effort was more difficult than it looks if you decide to go only with hand tools. Each board was hand ripped down with my trusty Disston, than planed to a rough 1/4 inch thickness. Of course you must set your bevel gauge to the desired degree of angle then use your hand plane or chisel to follow the scribed marks to create them. I found this method one that needed a few attempts before your mind and eye simply start seeing the angle before you even make any shavings. So, once you get everything all angled and looking fairly decent….how the heck do ya clamp this thing together to see a mock up????

Well the way I found to do this was to lay all of the pieces outside faced up flat on my bench leaving spaces in between each piece. Then I applied blue tape to make a sort of folding sandwich. Carefully you raise the entire four pieces and fold them into one another using the tape as a way to join them until you have your clamps to begin to cinch them up. Trust me this is an effort requiring steady and patient moves. Once the clamps begin to help, you can take a small rubber hammer and gently tap each side as square as you can. I believe this taping up technique I learned from Charles Neil. So thanks Charles, as always you have great tips and tricks.

Now this effort is only a first try, and it’s a sure thing that one of these only improves with the more boxes you make. This time I used a brad nail joinery which added for some very disciplined hammering. My brads went well for the …most part…lol. A few had to be redone from small side blowouts in the boxes walls.

Next time I would like to do a glue up and drive myself insane with that…lol! Sorry…let me get back into Shaker mode…..let me clear my mind of impure thoughts…lol.

I enjoyed leaving some inside rip saw cut marks you may view inside the box. I love that rustic antique look.

A very challenging project if you set your course for only hand tools. Just this small exercise began to teach me just how much the Shakers valued quality in everything they made, from small to large.

I sanded grits 150, 220, 400.Then I applied 2 coats of Medium Walnut Danish Oil, followed by 2 coats of BLO.

I added some pine cones in this pine box for my beautiful Jenn. She loves pine and this will be a gift for her. Thank you Jenn for putting up with my galoot shenanigans. I am a lucky man indeed.

Much more learning to come. This was a humbling project, although a great one involving complex angles and using instinctive memory to make the bevels.

Thanks for looking friends, keep having fun!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

7 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2972 days

#1 posted 04-14-2014 08:10 PM

Looks good and enjoyed the words you wrote about it too. What are the dimensions of the box?

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Cedar Furniture Lodge 's profile

Cedar Furniture Lodge

824 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 04-14-2014 08:23 PM

Nice looking box, very creative.

-- "The Cedar King"

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23609 posts in 3669 days

#3 posted 04-15-2014 12:17 AM

Nice looking box!!.......................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3511 days

#4 posted 04-15-2014 01:15 AM

Good Stuff Joe! The story is intriguing.

I’m also in a ‘retro’ mode, restoring a poor ol’ 1897 Singer Model 27 sewing machine. Although it’s not Shaker, there are some of the original cuts that can’t be reproduced with any of my modern power tools, so back to hand tools and following the footsteps of craftsmen from 130 years ago.


-- Smitty

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3420 days

#5 posted 04-15-2014 10:08 AM

Great box Joe
The fun continues.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View ptofimpact's profile


389 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 04-15-2014 11:26 AM

Nice work Joe, and Thank you for the story. I do also like the ‘sawmill marks’

-- Pete in NC

View Roger's profile


21021 posts in 3368 days

#7 posted 05-04-2014 01:14 PM

I like it, and the story that went with it

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

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