Introduction: Music Box for Mary
One of the hardest things any pet parent must do is to make the decision to put their pet to rest.
My “Mary” was 15 years old and she was a sweet girl that had unfortunately had some painful issues pop-up that caused her to suffer. We decided give her peace so on Monday, 14 March 2016 we said our final goodbyes leaving a huge hole in my heart.
A few days later I noticed one of her favorite toys was on the floor where she had left it and I could not throw it away and it was rather ratty because she had torn it up.
So to honor her and remember her as she was, a sweet fun loving dog who loved to play, and give comfort when comfort was needed, I decided to turn her purple squeaky ball into a memorial to my best friend.
The ball will be displayed on top of a music box made out of oak and the box will play Clair de Lune (if I could have gotten my hands on “Simple Gifts” that would have been the perfect song since she was a gift).
Nice oak plank for the structure (sides and top)
Hobby plywood for the bottom
Trim to dress up the box
Piece of brass round stock to start and stop the music and a small nut
Music box movement
Paint for the trim
Stain for the oak
Clear polyurethane for protection
Superglue and wood glue
Step 1: Cut the Wooden Pieces to Size
Before cutting the wood down to size for the box, I cut an eighth inch dado in the oak plank to accept the eighth inch hobby plywood for the bottom of the box. I left about a ¾” inch on the bottom so that the winding key would be tucked under and invisible.
The plywood will slide into the channel that I cut so that no glue or mechanical fasteners will be needed to hold the piece in place.
To make building the box quick and easy, I decided that the shape of the box should be a cube.
Using a compound miter saw, I mitered all of the side pieces 45 degrees for all of the corners and 45 degrees again for the top. For the actual top of the box, all four sides were cut at 45 degrees.
To make all of the sides (except for the bottom), the same size, I installed a stop block on the mitre saw. This will limit the length of the pieces to the exact same size equaling perfectly square pieces. Just slide each piece against the stop block and cut…no measuring!
I also cut the trim pieces using the same technique.
Step 2: Prepare the Music
The mechanism came with a plastic cover protecting the unit.
On the side of the cover is a hole. The drum with the music is on the other side of that hole and if you were to place a pin in that hole, the music will keep playing (but I need it to stop).
Taking the cover off you will notice that on the other side of the drum is a fan. If the fan stops spinning, the music will stop playing.
Place the cover back onto the music movement but make sure that the hole that was next to the drum is now next to the fan.
If you were to place a pin in that hole, the fan will stop spinning, stopping the music from playing.
A word of caution, if the brass stock hits the center of the pin that holds the fan in place, you can damage to mechanism.
Step 3: Glue Up the Pieces
I glued one corner, then the other making two halves of the box (use a good corner clamp to hold in place).
Once dried, I slid in the bottom of the box and marked the pieces of wood where the musical movement should be placed. I then drilled a hole in the bottom to accept the key for the winding mechanism.
Pull out the music and with the bottom still in place; glue the last two corners of the box and clamp.
Once dried, place the music back into the box and secured it in.
Step 4: Starting and Stopping the Music
I carefully measured the position of the hole on the music box and drilled a corresponding hole in the box where I can insert a brass pin that will slide back and forth to start and stop the music.
I cut a piece of bass wood to he keep the pin steady and super glued a nut onto the brass rod to keep the rod from falling out of the box and also to stop the pin from going in to far into the movement and damage the delicate pin that operates the fan.
I then super glued some wood strips onto the inside of the box above the movement to prevent the movement from moving around in the box.
Step 5: Finishing
For the actual box, I stained the piece with just one coat of the red stain and once dried, I protected the box with several coats of the spray polyurethane.
Between each coat, I wet sanded the piece giving the poly a smooth finish.
For the trim pieces, I used Tamyia gloss black paint.
Once dry, I glued the trim to the box
Once that was dry, I placed Mary’s ball in a baseball display box that I picked up at a hobby shop. I placed the display onto the top of the music box…I did not secure it to the box (I just wanted it loose).
Step 6: For Mary
Until we meet again, love ya girl.
Participated in the
Make a Box Contest
Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016
7 years ago
Beautiful! I am so sorry for your loss. I recently lost my dog Dillon after 16 wonderful years. I have been trying to figure out where to put his ashes. I didn't want one of the mass produced urns, but I have been unable to figure out what to build that is worthy of him. Thank you for sparking my imagination.
Reply 7 years ago
Sorry for your loss. I hope you find the perfect container for Dillon. Our four legged buddies are so much better then the mass produced products out there because our friends are so unique. I still miss my girl...thanks for your comment.
7 years ago
So sorry to hear about your dog Mary. We lost our 15 year old dog Roxy last year and it was pretty hard on us too. I'm glad that you could make a such nice tribute to Mary.
Reply 7 years ago
Thank you and I am sorry for your loss too. I am sure that Mary and Roxy will continue to live in our hearts with warmest memories for years to come. Thanks again.