From log to box in less than a month #1: The kickoff

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Blog entry by sras posted 04-29-2013 01:51 AM 2422 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of From log to box in less than a month series Part 2: Making Progress »

A friend at my church made me an offer:

”I’ll give you some wood if you’ll build something with it for the youth auction at the church”

He made the offer several weeks ago, but I didn’t get around to picking up the wood until last Sunday! That gives me just under 4 weeks to take the wood, figure out a project, build it and finish it. That should be plenty of time, but my projects typically take months or years !

After pondering my choices, I picked these two pieces to work with:

This is a piece of pear:

And this is a piece of ironwood. I’m not sure of the specific species, but it is heavy and black.

The whole decision process was an iteration between the choosing design and the wood. In addition to selecting the wood, I am choosing to make a box. I spent most of this last week working out the design. Here is a preview of where I am headed:

The box sides will be from pear and the insert in the lid will be the ironwood. The lid will be from my supply of cherry – the piece I am using is one that I have had for nearly 20 years.

Over the last few days, I have been able to get started on the build. I am choosing to build two – one to keep and one for the auction. A good deal of the work is in the set-ups so I might as well make an extra piece while I am at it. (also, if I screw up big time, I’ll have a back-up piece!!)

The first step is to get the box sides.

I let them set for a couple days to check for any shape change (there wasn’t any). Then set the final dimensions, miter and cut a relief for the lid.

I cut some thin plywood for the bottom and set it into the bottom and glued them up. You can see my notes for locating and sizing the splines.

You can get a view of the color in the pear wood here. It should look great with finish on it!

I used my spline jig to cut the slots.

I sliced some cherry from the lid board for the splines.

And glued them into place.

After about a half hour, I trimmed them on the band saw and sanded them flush.

I cut tapers on the top and bottom of each side as a start to the curve of the sides. Then I re-sawed my cherry and fitted two lids.

The lid on the right suffered from planer damage, but I am planning on shaping the lid enough to remove it.

The lids are too thin for hinge screws so I added some blocking to shift the hinges down a bit.

Now, I can start on the ironwood inserts. First, I trued up the sides of the piece a bit and then cut a couple slabs.

I then smoothed one side and cut them to rough size.

Then, I turned my attention to cutting the recess for the insert. My router bits are long enough that I need two layers.

While the glue dried, I laid out the location for the inserts.

That catches you up with today. I got a little more done, but I don’t have the pictures loaded up yet.

I started wondering about the ironwood and gluing and finishing it. I’ll have to do some research. I have two weekends and 14 weeknights left (but two of the weekend days are already booked).

It’s going to be close!!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

12 comments so far

View Albert's profile


545 posts in 4647 days

#1 posted 04-29-2013 05:26 AM

Look forward to seeing the rest of the project Steve! So far it looks like a well thought out design.

View Scooter McClain's profile

Scooter McClain

175 posts in 2979 days

#2 posted 04-29-2013 06:34 AM

It’s coming along nicely!

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4392 days

#3 posted 04-29-2013 07:06 AM

Great progress so far Steve. The iron wood insert will be spectacular with the color and grain it has. Good blog!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4490 days

#4 posted 04-29-2013 08:08 AM

Wow… you really made some progress on this! I’ll be interested to see the hinges.

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

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4939 days

#5 posted 04-29-2013 10:47 AM

Speed Build – Yikes – Stay out of the way!

Looking good.

I love follow along blogs. All the trials and thoughts. I like the way you think.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3862 days

#6 posted 04-29-2013 12:12 PM

Progress for sure. Look forward to seeing them

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

View lew's profile


13340 posts in 4813 days

#7 posted 04-29-2013 01:32 PM

Great looking start!

Absolutely perfect corner miters.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3064 days

#8 posted 04-29-2013 01:39 PM

”And glued them into place… After about a half hour, I trimmed them on the band saw and sanded them flush.”

I’m not NEAR brave enough to start handling glued pieces in just 30 minutes. That would have been a much bigger delay in time for me.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View sras's profile


5966 posts in 4187 days

#9 posted 04-29-2013 02:39 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone! It’s fun to share the journey.

Joe – I used to wait longer too, but the splines are almost solid without glue. I had to slide one out 3-4 minutes after gluing and I barely made it!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View pintodeluxe's profile


6345 posts in 3871 days

#10 posted 04-29-2013 05:47 PM

Very nice!
I like the splines, that is always a good look.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View justoneofme's profile


856 posts in 3537 days

#11 posted 04-30-2013 02:48 AM

This is really going to look awesome Steve! I think the ironwood will make a fantastic contrast … why the second thoughts? Super blog, watching it come together like that! Looking forward to this finished piece!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View sras's profile


5966 posts in 4187 days

#12 posted 05-01-2013 01:23 AM

Thanks Elaine! I wasn’t really doubting the use of ironwood, just not sure of the best way to glue and finish. As you can see, it seemed to glue up fine. I still need to figure out a finishing technique…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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