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Travel-size Jewelry Box

Boxes such as this, while simple in shape, provide ample opportunity for them to be different.  By changing the wood species used, or the designs on top, or even how the interior is arranged, you can create a box that has the look and functionality for any purpose or taste.  I’ve made four boxes like this, but really all they have in common is the number of sides, a top, and a bottom.  This particular box was for a friend, and her excitement as I shared progress photos drove me to be sure this was the finest I’ve built yet.

What she wanted:

  • Reddish wood for the main body of the box
  • A custom fleur-de-lis design on the lid (this worried me slightly)
  • Ring storage

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Once she asked for a reddish-hued wood, I knew Paduak would be a winner.  To be safe, I took a sample to her, so she could give final approval.  There are other red woods out there, but Paduak doesn’t break the bank, and my local Woodcraft normally has a good selection of it.  And it’s just pretty, the dark streaks really pop out once you get some finish on there.

For the lid, she had asked that I replicate an image she found online.  She’s fond of New Orleans, hence the fleur-de-lis, and after she’s wed there very soon, ‘W’ will represent her last name.  I agreed to create this design on the lid, though at the time, I had no idea how I would actually do so.

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I had used Purpleheart for the inside liner of the box, as well as the top and bottom panels.  So I thought having a contrasting wood that revealed the fleur-de-lis of Purpleheart would be a nice touch.  Luckily, I already had some curly Maple veneer on hand.  I just drew right on the veneer, then used an exacto knife to cut out the shapes.  For the ‘W’, I used another piece of veneer I had lying about, I’m uncertain what species of wood this was, though it looked to be from a burl. Same process for this, I drew it out, then used an exacto knife to free the shape.

With the veneers stacked as they were, it would have been possible for something to get underneath them, and pry them up from where they sat.  To prevent that (and to prevent me from having to try to inlay the ‘W’ into the fleur-de-lis), I superglued them in place, and filled the rest of the lid with clear resin.

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Inside the box, there needed to be a place to keep rings in place.  I used Fusion360 to design a 3D model that I could print out on my Lulzbot Mini.  This took some trial and error to get right, but that’s the nice thing about 3D printing, it’s quite easy to tweak a 3D model, and print a new version.  If I had tried to use wooden dowels (which I considered), once I drilled the holes to hold them, I would have needed to get a new piece of wood if they weren’t exactly right.  But as it was, once the spacing for the ring slots was correct, I only needed to glue craft foam to the printed part, which helps to hold the rings in place, then slide it into the box, and that about wrapped it up.

 

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Mother’s Day Bowl

Just a quick post today about the bowl I turned for my mom’s Mother’s Day gift.  I hadn’t turned a bowl this large before.  It was a fun one!

The wood wasn’t as dry as I thought it would be, so it might develop a few cracks over the early part of its lifetime, but that’ll just add to the charm, right?  And I’m still figuring out the best techniques to use on the lathe, so I’m sure there’s some other stuff I did wrong.  but at the end it was bowl shaped, so I’m gonna call it a win.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Do you knead a box?

No, you shouldn’t knead a box.  Sorry, kinda forced that pun out there.  A friend of mine wanted a box for her bread, though.  I hadn’t made one of these before, and I learned a lot in the process.  This is also the first project I’ve made for profit (though that part didn’t work out as I thought it would, more on that later).  Let’s get on with it!

About all I knew going into this project is the rough size Steph wanted, and that she preferred it to be a darker color.  I knew about any wood I got we could stain to be dark, so I wasn’t too concerned with that.  I did give the option of using pine to save on cost, but she opted to go with a hard wood instead (a great choice!).  Walnut would have saved a step, as it wouldn’t have needed to be stained, but I don’t really have a means right now to break down rough cut walnut, and I don’t know a place that I could easily get milled walnut relatively inexpensively.  So I was thinking I’d go with oak, but while at Home Depot, I found an 8-foot mahogany board that was just about perfect, so I went with that instead.

As far as  the design, I considered doing a hinged door, just to keep it simple.  But I really felt like if I went that route, I wouldn’t really be doing anything new with this project.  Sure, the final product would be something new, but the path there would have been very familiar.  Also, there would have been a severe lack of llamas in the finished bread box.

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I was just going to get a somewhat plain canvas fabric for the door backing.  But then there were llamas.  And I’m fairly certain Tiffany would have thrown a fit if I didn’t use the llamas.  (Side note:  I kept the llamas a secret from Steph, so it’d be a nice surprise when she opened the breadbox for the first time.  And I was a little worried she’d have a fear of llamas that I hadn’t known of, luckily she does not.)

The build process was mostly straightforward.  And rather than typing out the entire process here, I’ll let the video do most of the work in showing it.  I know some of it happens pretty fast, so feel free to ask questions using the comments below.

I do want to address a few things I goofed up on, though.  So if you feel like taking on a project like this, learn from my mistakes:

  1. Rounding the edges on both sides of the door slats.  I didn’t mean to round the back over, that was me just being dumb.  It made it much easier for glue to get into the cracks between the slats when assembling the door, which required me having to actually knock a couple of them apart.  And where there was glue, the stain didn’t penetrate.  Luckily it’s in a place that shouldn’t be seen.Door glue up
  2. One of my sides got slightly out of square during the assembly of the box’s outside.  That made the door slightly too wide, so I had to cut the bottom of the box off just past the groove, then use chisels to remove enough material from the groove so I could slide the door out.  Then I was able to trim up the door just fine, reassemble, and all was well.Too snug.png
  3. I didn’t want to use screws for fasteners on this project, for no real reason other than to challenge myself to do things differently.  Dowels worked well for reinforcing the butt joints on the corners of the box, but I should have gone with a smaller size.  I used 3/8 inch oak dowels, and you can see where the drill caused some tear-out on the edge of the board.  Easily patch-able using saw dust and wood glue, but the stain there looks different as that patch doesn’t soak it up and become as dark as the surrounding end grain. Bad dowel hole.png

Overall, I’m still very happy, and proud of how this one came out.  Steph finally received it (was originally going to post this 3 days ago, but USPS took forever in delivering it), and she is happy with it as well!  So what am I going to do with the profits from my first commissioned project?  Nothing, because there were none.

Turns out I made a very common rookie mistake.  I poorly estimated how much this project would take, both in time and money.  I was making this for a friend, so I wasn’t overly concerned about getting paid for my time.  But I really only made back the money on shipping and the mahogany board.  I’m not upset about it, I’m not going to beg to get paid more for it.  I consider this a very important lesson for me.  Eventually I would like to be able to regularly make things for people and get paid for doing that.  I’m sure this is the first lesson among many more to come how to realize that goal.

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The Quest for Cake

What happens when you want to eat cake, but there’s no knife with which to cut that cake (and you feel like eating the whole thing right then and there with a fork would be frowned upon)?  Watch my epic journey unfold!

If you like the video, I’d appreciate if you give it a thumbs up on the YouTube page.  You could subscribe to our channel while you’re there, to be sure you get updates when we post new stuff.  Thanks!

The knife turned out really well.  I watched a video a while ago from Bob at I Like to Make Stuff, where he made a cake knife, and I’ve had this lil’ project in my mind since then.  I’m pleased that I finally got around to it, it was fun and only took an afternoon of work (between working on a larger project that I’m excited to share next week, hopefully).

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The knife was made entirely of scraps leftover from other projects.  The knife scales are a paduak off-cut, and the blade is a lovely strip of curly maple.  The paduak was a beautiful orange color as I was sanding it down, and I’m bummed it doesn’t keep that tint.

Orange Paduak

Curious about the cake?  That’s Yummy Cake (no, really, that’s what it’s called, but, yeah, it’s also an apt description).  It’s a recipe from Tiffany’s family’s cookbook, and it is super simple to make.  I can sum it up in two pictures, really.

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Mix these together for the cake (only 1 cup of the oil). Ignore the instructions on the cake’s box.
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Mix this stuff up for the frosting.

Bake the cake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and have it come out clean.  You want the cake to cool completely before adding the frosting.  And I hope you like the frosting, because it ends up being about half as thick as the cake (not a bad thing!).

Full Disclosure!  We had plenty of knives available to cut this cake.  I staged the knife disappearance simply to have a more fun way to present this video.  I apologize if you feel as though you were misled.  But at the same time, it’s a silly video, so maybe do some self-reflection, and see what the root cause of that feeling really is.

Thanks for reading!  OH WAIT! Before you go, have you entered our giveaway yet?  It’s only open until this Saturday, May 5th 2018, so check it out here or watch the video here.  Ok, thanks, you’re free to go now!

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What’s in the box? (GIVEAWAY!)

More woodworking today!  This one’s a project that’s been on the list for a bit now.  At some point, my sister had asked for a box to keep some dice in for when she leaves home to play Dungeons and Dragons.  I finally got around to it (YouTube video of the process here).  I think it turned out well.

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Hers is the one on the left.  Walnut wraps around the outside, with a painted night sky, curly maple moon, and more walnut (I think) making a mountain.  The one on the right still needs a purpose (more on that in a bit), it’s got an osage orange shell, and the pattern on the lid is made of bocote.  I hadn’t made boxes quite like these before.  The closest thing was a box I made for Tiffany recently.

It's empty.

This design wouldn’t work, though, as the lid didn’t quite fit snugly enough that I felt it wouldn’t wiggle itself free and spill dice all over the place while being transported inside a bag.  Hence, the hinged lid with a clasp to keep the contents secure.

About the lids.  Once I had the boxes glued up and ready to go, I realized I had never really ironed out a plan to make them something more than just a plywood rectangle.  I think I stood in the garage just staring at the box tops for about 15 minutes or so trying to come up with something.  Once I had an idea for one, I got to work.

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Free-handing all those angled cuts wasn’t a great idea.  It required quite a bit of fine-tuning and sanding to get them to fit in without huge gaps all over.  Even so, I still had some gaps that required filling, but that’s what sawdust and glue are for, no?  The other lid was simpler, no angles, just measuring then cutting.

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I mentioned this one still needs a purpose.  We want to thank those that have been checking out our content, so we’re going to give it away, maybe even fill it with a couple things (it could even be a boat!).  If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, shoot us an email (bearmaked@gmail.com) with the subject line “Gimme that box!” by May 5th at 11:59 PM PST, and you could be the proud owner of this lil’ guy, or gal, or non-binary gender distinction, you be you, lil’ box.  Anyhoo, we’re going to pick someone at random from those that email us, and send it out to them.  No need to spam us, only one entry per email address, so just one email is fine.  We’ll reply to your email if you’re selected, so be sure to use an email address that you’ll keep an eye on.

We really appreciate everyone taking the time to read our nonsense, and we’re having fun putting this stuff out there.  Not everything we make is perfect.  Actually, none of it is.  But the only way to get better is to practice.  And we’re happy to share the results of that practice with you.