Introduction: How to Build a Memorial Flag Case
In this DIY woodworking project tutorial, I’ll show you how to build a beautiful wooden memorial flag display case for an American flag to honor a fallen hero.
My Grandfather served in the Army during World War II and passed away several years ago, and to honor his memory and service I decided to build this Memorial Flag Display Case as a gift to give to my Dad for Father’s Day. For this project, I’ll be basing this case off of plans I found online with some modifications. To check out those plans, click here.
Step 1: Milling the Lumber
For this project I’ll be using some beautiful 3/4 Walnut with some nice figure on it. To get started, I’m ripping the walnut into 3″ strips on my table saw. Next I can cut the angles on the pieces to create the mitered triangle shape. To do that, I have to make a quick tenoning jig for my table saw because I can’t create that angle with my existing tools.
The tenoning jig is made of a few pieces of plywood so that the pieces can stand vertically as they pass through the saw, which allows you to cut more acute angles than are usually possible on a table saw. If you’d like more info on how to build a tenoning jig, you can find out how to build your own here.
Step 2: Cutting the Rabbets
Before I glue up the mitered pieces, I’m using my dado stack to cut a 1/8″ deep by 1/4″ wide rabbet into each piece so I can inset the back panel into the case later. Once that is cut, I can glue up the main body.
Step 3: Building the Face Frame
I’m modifying from the plans I made above because I want to have a hinged face frame for this case. I rip some 1.5″ strips on the tablesaw and then cut the miters into them to create the triangle shape. Then I use the dado stack to cut a rabbet onto the inside edge of each piece so that I can inset a piece of tempered glass into the case later on.
Next I used my trim router to cut a profile into the inner edge of each piece. This would be a good job for a router table if you have one. Then I can glue up the face frame. From there I can lay out and mark where the hinges are going to attach on the face frame and main case body. I found these little brass hinges in the hardware section at Home Depot. I trace out the hinges on the body and then chisel out the mortises so they sit flush with the case.
Step 4: Rough Assembly
With the mortises cut, I can use the small screws to attach the face frame to the case body. And then I can rough sand the whole case with some 120 grit sandpaper, before working my way up to 220 by hand.
To latch the case closed, I decided to add a rare earth magnet into the case body and face frame that would be hidden in a 3/8" recess into the case. I drilled this hole out and then epoxied the magnets in place so that when the case it closed there is no visible latch from the outside.
Step 5: Finishing the Case
I want a really clean finish on this case so I'm using a Tung Oil finish which hardens inside the wood. I apply the first coat, then lightly sand with 500 grit. Then I add the second coat of Tung Oil before sanding once again to 600 grit. Then lastly apply a third finish coat of Tung Oil.
For the backing of the case I cut a piece of hardboard to fit in the triangle shaped rabbet in the back of the case and then I had a piece of tempered glass cut to fit the face frame at a local glass place. It only cost me $7. To attach the glass, I used a thin bead of clear silicone and a couple window glazing retaining clips.
Step 6: Finished Product
That's it for this project! I hope you enjoyed it. This project made a wonderful gift for my Dad and I'm happy that I could help honor my Grandfather's memory and service to the country.
If you liked this project, you may like some of my other woodworking projects that you can check out here:
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