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Birthday present for my wife


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Established Member
14 Feb 2006
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Not sure how anybody else copes with birthdays, but I can never think of anything my wife wants or needs for her birthday. Anyway, this year she said she would like me to make her a nice pen. Ok, I thought, and a nice box to put it in on the table as well. It also gave me a reason to do a couple of experiments with box lids and hinges, but more of that later.

The pen is a Sierra kit. I used a piece of yew for the barrel, finished with sanding sealer and wax. Lovely kit, looks really well made, quite heavy.

I found a few bits of cherry and walnut, about 30mm thick

Scribe a line all round the piece then put it in the vice, I like to angle the timber.

I start the cut with a tennon saw. Obviously this can only go so far, but it does establish a kerf. I then use a pull saw, not a wonderful saw but it does this job quite well.

Cut completed, still plenty of work to do.

Plane up the faces, lots of shavings, and we end up with 2 sides. Glue two more pieces together and form a lid. Another piece makes the base. I have just started to mark out the cut out for the lid.

Cutout completed

Cut sides and base to the same length and square ends

Take a couple of pieces of scrap oak and plane them to the same width. Then screw the base to these to form a sled for the router. Then route a grove in the base.

And....Oh no. What has happened to my bit of cherry. It's come over all walnut. I changed the wood for the base, it looked better and not because I messed up the groove, :oops: You measure the centre point, set the fence and router for depth and then cut a groove. Now you wouldn't forget to add on the width ot the sled, would you?

Glue up

Small piece of walnut for the ends, gets cut down the middle as well. Just the pull saw this time. Then cut to length.

Coming together.

The hinge is a piece of 4mm brass rod drilled through the sides and into the lid. A plastic washer gives a little bit of clearence for the lid.

To allow the lid to piviot the edge needs to be rounded over. I did this with a block plane.

Dry fit. For assembly, the pins are pushed through most of the way then super glued before pushing into the sides.

Finished. Went down quite well as a present.

A few lessons to be learnt here, mainly with the hinge. I was slighlty off with the drilling into the lid on one side and it doesn't sit quite square when open. I think I need to find a better way of drilling this. I like the brass of the hinge against the walnut, doesn't show on the pictures, you'll have to trust me on that.

All in a good project. Hope you enjoyed reading about it.



Established Member
19 Aug 2010
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A lovely present and interesting to see how it was all done by hand.


Established Member
1 Feb 2008
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Very nice and well done, but the most important question is was the wife happy with her birthday present =D>
Im sure she was :D