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Project Information

I made another box for dad. This one is out of maple, with cherry for the splines and red oak plywood for the top and bottom. Keeping with my idea of trying something new with each project, I had a few firsts this time.

First time using my dado stack. I have the Dewalt 8" set, which is great to use. I was able to shim it to get a perfect fit for the plywood, which of course is not exactly a half inch.

First time wrapping the grain. I started with a single piece of 4/4 hard maple, jointed and planed. Then I re-sawed it, marking the ends so the grain would match all the way around. It came out pretty good, thought next time I'd use my bandsaw to do the cross cuts, so the kerf is smaller. The miters were done on my table saw.

First time with splines. I cut them with my biscuit joiner. Its the least used tool in my shop, but it worked great for this. Simple matter to plane some strips of cherry from the scrap bin to the right dimension to fit perfectly. I just made two little 45 Triangles and double stick taped them to the fence on my joiner. This worked great for alignment. There was a small amount of tearout in the slot. So if I decide to do this more in the future I'll have to make a better fence attachment that fully supports the cut. But unless you look, you won't know its there.

To make the top, i used a hand saw to cut along the dado in the front piece. I dadoed it just like the others, and simply cut the top off. Then I glued that back on to the plywood top. It fit great. You can see a kerf line the thickness of my hand saw (a Harbor Freight flush cut pull saw).

I broke out the kaizen foam and made the insert for one of dad's formerly homeless pistols. This box doesn't have the same story behind it as the other one I made for him, but its still pretty nice.

Finish is 3 coats of shellac.

Oh, and I was able to use the cut offs from this to make a shallower box with no lid - I guess that makes it a tray - for my mom to use on her night stand to hold her glasses and watch. It matches in every way, but is shorter and I could only fit a single spline.




2,910 Posts
Brian, you have made a unique box. I like the thought of lifting the lid with a corner angle. You did a nice job of forming the foam on the inside. Learning to wrap the grain around the box is a nice idea. It really adds to the look, especially if you are using a wood with a pronounced grain. If you cut the your sides to length first and then cut the 45s from those lengths you will have a very close grain match.

How about this for a method of cutting splines.

I too started out cutting spline slots with a biscuit joiner. Then I built this simple jig for cutting spline slots. I found that it worked easier and better.

This is an idea you might want to think about. This is more about finger indents.

Keep boxing and keep posting.


1,353 Posts

Thanks for the feedback. I'm certainly a far cry from a 'box guy' but there is something nice about building smaller projects sometimes.

I really like your spline cutting jig. I did mine with the table saw sled, but the did bounce around a bit. I considered the table saw jig, but I don't have a blade with the right profile, and I didnt want to to hand file the bottom of each one. I guess I'm lazy!