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Decided to foray into the boxmakers' territory a while ago after seeing projects by Alan, Bob and Blake (and also test the table saw adjustment, the sharpness of the restored hand planes, and use up some nice cut-off pieces).

The sides of the box are figured maple. The top and bottom are floating: the top-laminated bubinga and cherry separated by thin strips of maple; the bottom-laminated birch and cherry. The dimensions are: 11-1/2" × 8-1/2" × 4-1/2". All wood is 3/4" hardwood, sanded to grit 320 before finish. The finish is: shellac sealer, waterlox and wipe-on poly, a few coats each, with a lot of sanding and cleaning in between coats. I used 600 grit wet/dry SP lubricated with mineral spirits. The hinges are from Brusso. The dividers are of Honduran mahogany; the miter keys are satine wood.

The back panel has a red knot in it. Interesting that the figure of the knot is continuous with the figure of the surrounding wood. How can this be? Does it say anything about how the figure forms?


The finger lift was free-handed on a drill press with a sanding drum.

Cherry and bubinga are great woods to work with, they are somewhat softer than the maple, which makes them easier to hand plane etc.

What I learned: Waterlox gives much more chatoyance and the grain depth to the figured maple than Watco Danish oil; cherry looks much more better under Waterlox when first sealed with a few layers of shellac; brass screws are very soft; steel hinge screws break too when forced into maple without wax.

Also, if you push the box too hard against the fence when cutting the lid off, you get burn marks. The burn marks were pretty hard to get rid off, considering you have to keep the lid square and flush with the rest of the box.



I found the Fine Woodworking article from Sept/Oct 2008 very useful for a first time box project.

Gallery

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Thanks, T!
 

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Thanks Charles! It was a fun project.
 

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All are very nicely made and have beautiful displays of grain!
 

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Thanks! The second photo is to show the hardwood birch floating bottom panel of the same box, which under a couple of coats of varnish showed quite a grain depth. Bubinga turned out to be beautiful wood, except that it looked much better without finish. The finish (shellac and varnish) quenched its flow of dark red, purple, pink, almost black stripes into some scale of brown. And of course white maple is now yellow too.
 

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Very nice. Great looking boxes and wood.
 

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Thanks! The recess on the underside of the top panel is actually a "new design element", not planned initially. I didn't have the table saw at the time when I was making the top, so for gluing, I split a 8/4 cherry scrap cut-off into two pieces with a circular saw. To keep the nice grain up, the recess had to be routed to hide deep gouges on cherry from free-hand circular sawing.
 

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Love the bubinga. Beautiful grain patterns all around. The subdued grain of the cherry is a great contrast to both the bubinga and maple, with nice color contrast as well.
 

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Thanks! The bubinga piece from a local mill scrap bin has given a nice 3D grain. The fresh cut satine wood of the miter keys originally was somewhere in between red brick and pink in color. Interestingly, after just sanding the satine wood went very dark-I suspect this is because of its own high oil content.
 

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This is a really exceptional box, great job. I love the combination of woods and birdseye figuring. I'll bet hand planing the maple was challenging.

That coloring is probably an ambrosia beetle stain rather than a knothole, explaining the continuous figure. Mold/fungus creeps up and down through the grain after the beetle eats a hole in the tree.
 

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Good choices of woods, beautiful box.
 

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Thanks, Allen, nblazek and Troy! Allen, yes, this can't be a knot, must be fungus stain, thanks for explaining this.
 

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The varnish has more or less cured, so all the bagged tea could be moved from multiple paper boxes to the new tea box. Here is before and after pictures:



 

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Very nice box, workmanship and finish job well done.
 
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