Help with box design!!

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Forum topic by pneufab posted 08-20-2012 03:38 AM 1908 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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131 posts in 4412 days

08-20-2012 03:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: box ideas challenge tiger maple dye feet foot base

I am the type of person that usually just pushes through a project without much help or feedback. I am going to try something new for me and ask for help.

I am working on making some small urns for my mother’s remains. I am making 10 in total and already completed the basic box and have the lid figured out. I feel like it is missing something! I want to add some feet, but due to the narrow base of the box, I am not sure what to add! I was messing with sketchup a bit and came up with the design below. My wife and brother both think that they are too overpowering. Everything I seem to draw looks like a “robot spider” as they both put it!!!

Keep in mind that I will need to make 40 feet. I am planning to add a few splines as well (depending on the foot design). I do not have a bandsaw or scroll saw (It seems like there are always used scroll saws on Craigslist so I am not against purchasing one) so probably simple tapers would be ideal (something I can make a jig for and use the tablesaw to cut)

I ask for any input, suggestions, comments. Do they need feet? Too much like a chinese take out box without them? Any other designs for a base?

I have eight of these already made (lid is MDF as a prototype. Will be tiger maple like the box)

Sketch up for color and foot ideas:

Final color sample (wife and brother approved!)

11 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23262 posts in 5008 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 06:07 AM

I would just add a small square base to compliment the top. I don’t care for the “spider” design.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4583 days

#2 posted 08-20-2012 06:17 AM

What I would do? Loose the spacers between the box body and the legs, Attach the legs directly to the box and have them run all the way to the box top. Cut the legs notched, like the one box on my last posted project.
Make the bevel on the lid a shallower angle, and make the center of the lid a less pronounced cap, ie, shorter center portion.
Then, change the shape of the handle on top, you don’t want it to mirror the box shape because is over exagerates the effect, which is part of where your getting the overpowering “robot” effect from.
I would also change the bevel angle of the box parts themselves. Less of an angle there.
Remember, sometimes less is more.
I think the finish color you shose is great.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4764 days

#3 posted 08-20-2012 10:52 AM

How about just some decorative (and structural) splines at each miter. You can use a different wood for each box and they will be alike but different. This is a simple design that is always pleasing to look at… not at all overpowering.

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

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3807 days

#4 posted 08-20-2012 03:43 PM

Let me start by saying that I am sorry for your loss. The loss of a someone that close is, for lack of a better phrase, a major event. That said I would imagine that your design choices would follow with both yours and your mother’s likes along with your own skills, abilities, and available resources. I offer a couple of suggestions that you may wish to consider.

How about something looking a bit more simple somber and plain? I think my location in south east PA has a bit of Amish influence. hence the plain and somber. The piece could be dressed up with stain or finishing choices and perhaps combining different wood species. Sorry for the quality but my cad is like my woodwork a bit rough, the grain direction, colors, etc.

I just added a simple base which mimicked the top and a sort of angle iron shaped molding to sort of separate the grain at the corner. In my mind the top and bottom pieces would be 4 section glue-ups to eliminate end grain. As to the handle… well I left that off as I was wondering that once filled why would one have any need or desire to open it? I would seal the lid myself nice tight glue joint, but I might be missing something.

An after thought occurred to me, there are no major vertical surfaces to perhaps put an engraved plate large enough for the normal marker stone type info. You might consider increasing the base height a bit to allow for a plaque or consider adding one on the raised flat area of the top. If you go the thickened bottom route, a sort of small drawer might be interesting. If this were for my mother the drawer would hold perhaps a set of her rosary beads or a piece of her favorite jewelry, the funeral card and perhaps a few pictures. I know that you were considering feet and they could be added if desired.

I would like again to offer condolences as I know the pain of loss myself along with my hopes that you find a design that you will find comfort in. bill

View pneufab's profile


131 posts in 4412 days

#5 posted 08-20-2012 11:49 PM


Thank you so much for your condolences and your advice! I really appreciate you taking the time to offer suggestions!

I actually should have explained the design a little better. Inside the urn, I glued (1/4” ply in a shallow dado) in a bottom and a shelf about 2” from the top of the box. The upper shelf has a 1” hole drilled in it. What my attentions are is to fill the bottom section with the remains and then use a plug to seal the ashes in the bottom chamber of the urn. The upper section will then receive flocking. The intent of the upper section and why I want the lid removable, is as you mentioned, for keep sakes, piece of jewelry, a picture, whatever. Having 10 kids, we all have a little something that we can put in there to remember her by.

The plan was also to get small brass plaques and probably screw them to the underside of the lid. As the urn is opened, there is the special keepsake and on the bottom side of the lid, her name, birth and death dates.

I was kinda leaning towards a small base as you kindly drew up. I appreciate all of your suggestions. I will probably think about it over the next few days before I commit to anything. I am not sure if I will even use a handle or not.

Everyone, I appreciate the input.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4022 days

#6 posted 08-21-2012 03:25 AM

I too, am not too keen on the ‘spider’ look. A base as suggested above or integral ‘feet’ like I use on almost all of my boxes would be my choice. My condolences on the loss of your mom. I like the idea of dividing the remains. If the boxes are already built you can use a roundover bit to rout ‘Feet’ like I did on several of my boxes.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Nick_R's profile


154 posts in 3481 days

#7 posted 08-21-2012 12:18 PM

I am not a designer by any stretch, but when I look at something I like contrasting colors or shapes. Since it is very clean with square corners etc, I would add a round shaped handle for the top and maybe matching or similar feet for the bottom, maybe there is something this person loved in their life that could be reflected in the final designs. Just some thoughts.

The spider design looks more alien spacecraft to me…But the project looks high quality. Good Luck

-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

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131 posts in 4412 days

#8 posted 08-23-2012 03:16 AM

I spent some time drawing tonight and thanks to some suggestions, I think maybe I came up with something that is the best of both worlds. An angled trim with a cut out to make the allusion of feet. I haven’t fired up the saw yet, any opinions? Robot feet / space ship feet are definitely OUT of the picture! The bottom is dado-ed only 1/8” from the bottom of the box itself, so routing feet into the box is not possible.

Thanks again for the input so far!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4022 days

#9 posted 08-23-2012 03:23 AM

Those are the type of feet I was trying to describe! One pic IS worth 1000 words. A roundover bit will do these ‘feet’ easily on a router table with appropriate stops in place.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View pneufab's profile


131 posts in 4412 days

#10 posted 08-23-2012 03:28 AM

Nice! I did check out your boxes as inspiration!
Thank you!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4022 days

#11 posted 08-23-2012 03:37 AM

You are quite welcome and thank YOU for the complement.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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