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Yet Another Small Box

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JakeS

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(Or: "A bad workman blames his tools"! ;-) )

My mother collects small knives, so we got her one for Christmas this year; only problem was that it came in a rather ratty card box, so we needed something more presentable. I've never tried a small box before, but I figured I'd have a go at making one.

My only problem was that I'd packed away most of my tools and other wood-related stuff, and had available to me only the bandsaw (which had to be dragged back into position), an old half-inch Faithfull chisel, abrasive papers, a couple of hand-saws, a small aluminium mitre block which was never supposed to have anything larger than a miniature razor saw put through it, and a crappy B&Q workmate rip-off that didn't even stand level unless a carefully-saved conveniently-sized slice of ash was slipped under one of the feet! I was also in a hurry, which made me a little more reckless... all of which is to say that I have a boat-load of excuses as to why it didn't turn out so well as it could have, but they're just that - excuses! What I really needed to do was practice more first and start earlier!

The sides of the box were cut from some a bit of Sapele that was conveniently planed at the right width already, cut to length at a mitre with the little aluminium mitre box that could. The rebate in the top and bottom - to accomodate the panels - was chiselled out.
Actually, it turned out to be the little mitre box that couldn't, since the 90-degree slot was off by about 3 degrees, and I had to square the ends of the maple top and bottom panels with a chisel along a knife-marked line...


For an inner lip to keep the two halves aligned and closed (friction fit) I ripped a rosewood pen-turning blank down into millimetre-or-so-thick slices, and sanded them as flat as I could get them. (To those who contributed to the thread in which I asked about hand-planes: I did eventually obtain an old Record No.4 and have every intention of using it in the future, but I haven't found the time to clean it up, and... well, I don't think the workmate-a-like is the best platform for hand planing!)


The sides all glued together relatively well via the masking-tape-on-the-outside trick, although my mitres don't all join absolutely perfectly. I really should have dug the router out and used a 45-degree bit. Retrospect, eh?


After gluing in the maple top and bottom panels (I'm basically hoping that the relatively tiny size of the box means that I don't have to worry about expansion - I know I should really have had floating panels in a rebated slot or something, but I don't think I had time... By this point I'd also sanded a chamfer into all the arises on the sapele pieces.


The box was run through the bandsaw to part it. This project reminds me how much I rely on power tools and how little I'd be able to do decently without them.
I'd be indignantly disappointed that my dust extractor didn't manage to suck the sawdust out from the inside of the box through the body of the bandsaw, but I think it's asking a bit much!


After sanding the two halves inner-face-down on a bit of abrasive paper to smooth out the saw marks, I ripped the thin rosewood strips down to the correct height, trimmed to the right length (marking a square end with a knife and then chiselling along it!) and then used the 45-degree block of ash visible in the photo below to chisel a mitre into the end of each one. I had actually tried this approach for the box mitres first, but the chisel just didn't go through the sapele.


It's a bit of a cliché, but I love the way the oil brings out the depth of the wood!


And finally, the finished box (taken indoors and thus with worse light):


It's not a patch on some of the other boxes I've seen on this forum and related sites, I can tell you! I'm definitely planning to try one or two more, though, it's a pleasing kind of project; I'll have to take more time and plan the next one better.
 

devonwoody

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Perhaps after the holidays some improvements could be done, some banding at the corners might cure the mitre problem?
 

JakeS

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devonwoody":1iysid6d said:
Perhaps after the holidays some improvements could be done, some banding at the corners might cure the mitre problem?
By 'banding' you mean a strip of wood around the outside edge of the box? I suppose it would tidy up the majority of the appearance, although the biggest issue is on the inside-face of the join between top and bottom halves, as seen in the sixth photo... Or do you mean cutting a slot directly along the mitre joint and inserting a band of wood there to clean up the join itself?
 

devonwoody

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The box inside appearance would be in material to me.

The outside corners could if you wanted be improved either way.
 
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