Introduction: Themed Whiskey Gift Box/Crate

For the last 12-18 months myself and a few friends have participated in a RPG game based on the Savage worlds rule set (similar principle to D&D).

To thank the GM for the great job hes done and continues to do in preparing and running these games (26 so far) we thought it would be nice to give him something. He likes Bourbon whiskey...... gift sorted...well not quite. i mean we could have just given him the bottle but of course that's no fun at all.

Enter the whiskey crate idea

Sum up of the theme of the box.

In the game, which is loosely based around the American wild west, a Character Named Firefly is one of the main Bad guys (so far). His businesses include lumber and whiskey (firewater) and His employees are identified with a silver pin badge with the F logo shown on the crate in Pictures. Most of his shipments bare a single theater mask shown also in the pictures.

The idea behind the crate was to have a box that would have been transported with him. Looking like any other piece of cargo bearing his brand but hiding a secret writing desk/ drinks cabinet/ storage for letters etc

The plan is hatched now to the build.

Step 1: The Main Box

For me i tend to design and build as i go, i mean i have a rough idea and will sometimes sketch out a basic shape or layout but that's about as far as it goes.

The Main box size is width-350mm height- 300mm and depth 300mm

I used 9mm plywood salvaged from an old shipping crate for the main carcass and 4mm ply for the detailing.

I cut the all sides using the Table saw and assembled 4 of them using glue and panel pins, this gave me the box with an open top and front.

The front of the box was hinged at the bottom and will later fold down to become a writing desk. The top is hinged at the back to become the lid.

Next the table saw was used again to rip the outer detailing, 40mm strips, which where attached using glue and panel pins to the outside to give the effect of a wooden slatted crate.

These slats were laid so that when closed the box would look sealed on all sides.

The lid seen in the top of picture 4 has the slats fixed to its edges so when closed it will cover over the Sides and front.

On the front and side panels they were laid on 3 of the 4 sides to allow for the lid to close over also preventing the front from opening.

Picture 5 has a (crude) drawing to show how the lid slats will sit in relation to the others

Step 2: Inside

Inside the crate was to be the Bourbon, 4 glasses, cigar and other game related paraphernalia.

I created a inner raised floor with a section of the 9mm ply to allow for a gap underneath for the draw. The raised floor was supported on the sides and back by 4mm ply strips. later after sanding and staining/painting this would all be fixed in place.

The draw was made of 4mm ply glued and pinned, with the draw front being slightly wider to allow it to cover the floor supports.

To allow for the bottle to be held at about a 45 degree angle I built the two glass tumbler holders, one for each side, each holding two glasses. One was stepped higher than the other on each side. In the center, bottle holding panel would sit on strips of ply attached to the stepped Tumbler holders.

On this center piece of ply i drilled into the back at the top middle and glued in a magnet. This was so that using the ring (explained later) it could be removed to reveal the secret storage space behind. The wedge at the bottom was to stop the bottle sliding down, It was made from 9mm ply.

At this point i dismantled sanded and varnished the draw bay. Then reassembled and glued and pinned it. The hope was that the draw would slide better on the varnished surface rather than just the wood.

I also glued in the tumbler holders in at this point.

Step 3: Ooo Felt

After a sanding the inside and out and then vacuuming to remove the dust i moved on to finishing

To give the inside that luxury feel i added felt. This was fixed in with spray adhesive. Put masking tape on areas you don't want glued because spray glue will go everywhere no matter how careful you are.

Felt was applied to the glass holders, center panel, bottle wedge and the inside of the draw. I found it easier to cut the felt slightly bigger than i needed and then trim it down with a sharp hobby knife when stuck in place.

Once in and dry i sealed any exposed raw edges of felt back to the wood with epoxy glue. This adds a robust edge to the the felt and the wood and stops it pealing apart with wear and tear. When set sandpaper was used to get a nice smooth and rounded finish.

The inside was then painted black. In hindsight i think it would have looked better in the same light oak wood stain as the outside. (ill know for next time)

To lock the box shut i used a catch visible in picture 4 at the top middle of the lid. It is a magnetically operated one that would normally be fitted to kitchen cupboard doors to prevent children getting into them. Holding a magnet over the area the catch is will cause it to release its latch it. (image 3 shows the catch in latched position) the corresponding latch plate was stuck to the writing desk. Just visible at the bottom of picture 4. and stops the lid being lifted until unlocked.

The last picture shows the ring used to unlock the box.

Step 4: Outside the Box and Finishing

The outside was treated in a light oak wood stain, sanded lightly, vacuumed and then stained again.

In pencil i drew the Firefly emblem then used a soldering iron to burn in the design. A proper wood pyrography tool would have been sooo much easier but i had to work with what i had.

A little theater mask can be seen also burned in at the bottom edge of the box to match the one on the ring. 1+1= and open box.

Inside in silver pen i added some more Firefly branding with the F in the center to denote where to place the ring to remove the panel. This is just done with a magnet glued to the rear of the panel attracting to the ring and allowing it to be lifted up.

Some final items were added to make the crate more authentic. Breakers Bay is a port town so seemed right to have a match company there. The Blank paper in the draw is just A5 sheets coffee stained to look like old paper. The scroll holds the secret to life the universe and everything and is hidden safely in behind the secret panel. The bourbon sits nicely on the wedge flanked by its 4 glass tumblers.

Things id do differently to the crate:

Not paint the inside black but stain it to match the outside instead.

If i did it again id probably try to use "Real" wood instead of ply (budget and time kind of forced the ply)

Step 5: The One Ring to Open Them All

Unfortunately i have no pictures of this part.

The ring started life as an M16 stainless steel nut. I had to guess the ring size for the gm basing the general size on my little finger.

I drilled the inside of the nut to the required diameter (as measured from my finger) and then used a grinder with what i call a flappy abrasive disk (has sand paper layered around its circumference) to round off all but one of the outside edges. This removes metal to shape the ring but at a more controllable rate than a solid grinding disk would. What i was left with was a signet ring shape.

Two holes were drilled in the flat of the ring big enough for 2 magnets. These were glued in place using super glue. (make sure they are correct way round to operate the magnetic catch and secret panel)

On top of this i glued a slither of oak about 3mm thick. When set i sanded the wood and excess glue to blend with the ring.

The ring was filed and then sanded using finer and finer grits of emery paper until all scratches were removed

I used a Dremel to carve a theater mask into the wood and then a soldering iron to dripped solder into this carving. When cool this was sanded flat and smooth. This is a quick way to do an inlay.

Using the dremel again but with the soft wheel attachment to polish the stainless steel part of the ring, the wood was given a light coat of varnish to finish.

Hope you enjoyed this Instructable as much i enjoyed making the box

Box Contest 2017

Participated in the
Box Contest 2017