Introduction: Steampunk Shaving Box

About: Hungarian guy in Switzerland (after 9 years of Netherlands). Check my website for nixie clocks!
My friend had a birthday, and I wanted to make something special for him. He shaves using the old fashioned or now retro safety razors. He carried everything in one toilet bag because there was no proper travelling case for them. That time I found on the Internet some nice piece of steampunk creations what I took as a starting point for my design. This time I did not make photorealistic renders, because I needed only some guideline. The final picture was in my head or actually not really, it was just some vision:)

This box was my first hand crafted item (way before the Lamina Nixie). I have learned a lot during the building process.

Here are the tools what I have used;
  • I used only the basic plastic UNIMAT set (turning machine, router, sander, jigsaw)
  • some hand tools
  • drill machine
  • sandpaper
  • hobby saw
  • basic files

  • some meranti wood from a local hardware store
  • brass and copper pipes/rods from the local hobby shop
  • copper plate
  • black hexagon socket cap screws
  • old thermometer, copper bowl, leather belt from flea market
  • magnet strip
  • dollhouse carpet:)

Step 1: The Box

For the sides of the box I glued together some smaller wood stripes to make bigger boards and after sanding I cut all of them to the desired size. I really like the finger jointed wood boxes so this box had to be be like that.

First I had to make the machine to cut the teeth using the variable Unimat basic set. I used the 3 mm router bit to cut them, offsetting the first teeth on the adjacent ends. After all teeth were done and put the sides together and I drew the lines for the openings and cut them with a jigsaw.

I did not glued the box together until it was completely done just screwed the sides to the base plate In this way I could  disassemble it anytime to inserting the detailed parts and so.

To the front side I cut some copper plate to highlight the locking belt. On the razor side I made an etched brass grid window with a copper frame.

On the back side of the box I just placed some brass pipes and ventilation outlet pipes and an oval copper plate.

On the left side I made a recessed part to run some pipes, showing what is behind the walls. :) Also two round windows in “maritime style”.

The bottom has got some thin wood frame as a ¨leg¨ and screwed them with a very small blackened screws.

All those windows got some copper or wood frames around to give a steampunk-ish look. First I have tried with brass screws to fix the parts, but I have found these black screws much nicer. However the black screws are metric threaded still can hold everything in place in the wood. They just needed half millimeter smaller hole in the wood and they sit tight if you do not screw them over.

The size of the box was given by the existing shaving set components. The height and length came from the razor and the brush which had to be secured inside no matter how you carry or store them in the luggage. Therefore the razor and brush holder wall  between the lid and the base is cut to the exact shape to follow the razor and brush contour. When you close the box, that wall will hold the set in place, and when it is  opened it can be used to hang and dry the brush.

Also I had to find a place for the little bowl used for making the foam. I was thinking a lot what should I use for this and where can I get a matching bowl for the set. Flea markets are very popular in the Netherlands so I got the idea to go there, just to look around. I think I was very lucky to find just the right piece, a neither too big nor too small nice copper bowl which perfectly fitted to the design.

I had to make a place for the spare blades as well. These are coming in small containers in slightly different sizes. It seemed to be an easy option to hold the steel blades with a magnet. I had some flexible magnet strip in my junk box so I screwed those stripes down to the base. The magnet is strong enough to hold the razor blades with the box.

The lid is made from some framing wood and a thin wooden board. I had some kind of old ugly key holder souvenir from Mallorca :) It had a thermometer which I have removed and installed to the top of the lid and added some tubes. The “Initial plate” is on the corner to make it personal. The other small copper plate hides the screws of the support hinge. To the bottom of the lid I cut a mirror and fixed with 3M double sided tape.

Because the lid become a quite heavy with the mirror  I made support hinge from a thin copper plate to hold the lid from over bending it.

Tung oil was my choice for the finishing which also very nicely darkened the wood and protect the wood from water and moist.

The inside was too pure and empty so at the end I tuned up a little bit with a nice material what I found in the local hobby shop at the dollhouse section sold as a dollhouse carpet. Actually there are many nice tiny brass and useful wood things which can be used for here and there for different projects.

Step 2: The Stand

When the owner of the box is not travelling around, the shaving set is hanging on its own stand. To make it I needed a brass rod (diameter 18 mm), some wood for the base and a copper and wood plate for the holder, for the decoration some brass nuts and screws, for the assembling M3 threaded rods.

It was the time to assemble the turning machine. I have never used it with metal before but I think it worked out nicely.

I cut the rod into two and turned them just as a random design and tap into all ends - except the top - for the M3 threaded rods what I used to screw the parts together.

The brush and razor holder made out from a copper plate and wood sandwich. I draw the outlines in a sketch program and glued the print out to the material. First I cut the rough shape from the copper sheet and glued it to the wood part, than cut the wood with the jigsaw around the copper piece and sanded it to the final shape.

After polishing the brass and oiling the wood the stand was ready.

Step 3: The Final Set

The box and a stand became a very nice present and had a few trips with its owner. It has been made primarily for use and not only for display. When it is closed can be strongly shaken, nothing will happen. I am happy that there are no damaged parts since then and still a very nice jewel of his bathroom. The little copper bowl needs re-polishing from time to time, because it loses its shine after a while.

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