Introduction: Easy Build Pipe Box WITH MUSIC + PYROGRAPHY

I wanted to make this box for 3 reasons.
1- to store my pipe and tobacco
2- to have an excuse to dig out the pyrography pen again
3- to enter the 'make a box' contest :)

(so if you enjoyed the instructable, please drop me a vote)

Heres a link to a video of the box, to show you the light sensitive audio module


What i used:

1 length of timber
Wood glue (5 minute bond)
Woodstain (brush and sponge to apply)
Pyrography pen
Wood varnish

Box hardware (hinges, feet, latch)
Black velvet / felt

additional idea meant i had to add: Audio module

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Step 1: Acquire Wood

I was going to use a couple of planks off an old pallet i ripped apart, but i found a length of planed square edge (4"x1") timber left over from a job and it meant less sanding and an easier build so i opted for that on this occasion.

Actual dimensions of the PSE (planed square edge) timber were 93mm x 18mm.

Step 2: Design

I drew a quick sketch of what i wanted it to look like, and then a quick template of each piece.

The sizes are the way they are so i didnt have to do tonnes of cutting, i just sort of let the thickness and width of the timber govern the size of the box to an extent.

The width of each piece remains the same, so the lengths were as follows

Bottom = 2 pieces at 200mm
Top = 2 pieces at 200mm
Front = 200mm
Back = 200mm
Sides = 2 pieces at 150mm

Note - ignore the picture of the pipe mounted on the box, i since changed my mind and wanted the pipe mounted inside in exchange for pyrography on the lid.

Step 3: Mark and Cut Timber

For this i could have used the chop saw to get perfect square cuts, and save time, but i wanted to make this box using hand tools only, and my niece was helping so i wanted to let her see that you dont need expensive tools to do crafts.

If the cuts were particularly bad i had some PVA glue and some sawdust i was going to use as a make-shift filler (which could be sanded off and hopefully be hidden with the staining process)

So using just the handsaw i cut the wood to the desired lengths.

Step 4: Joint Top + Bottom

I bought some 5 minute wood glue for a project a couple of months ago, and it was running out of shelf life so i used that for this job.
you could do the same job with just the PVA glue or any wood glue if you dont want to buy something you already have.

This stuff expands and foams up huge to fill all joints and get a strong bond, so just use a really thin streak, and wipe off excess as soon as you clamp it tight or you will make yourself more sanding to do.

ahh, time to get the kettle on. This niece of mine doesn't make a good cuppa.

Step 5: Quick Sanding

Using a piece of sandpaper i quickly took off any rough bits on the cuts so i could glue the front, back and sides.

nothing major as the full thing is getting sanded later on.

Step 6: Glue Front, Back, and Sides

I put glue on the edges of the 2 sides and held them against the front and back for a few seconds while the glue became tacky enough to hold a bit while i got it something like square and put the clamps on.

Again there are better ways to get this 100% square (neater cuts wouldnt go a miss but oh well)

Step 7: Wipe Off Excess Glue and Quick Sanding

Once the glue had dried, i used a flat head screwdriver to scratch off the overspilled glue, and then gave all the glued joints a light sanding with some sandpaper.

I also lighly sanded the corners to round them off a touch.
(More sanding to be done later)

Step 8: Glue on the Bottom

A light squirt of glue on the bottom of the front, back, and sides.
Then i put the bottom piece onto it, quickly got it something like square, and then put a small toolbox on top as a weight.

(Time for another brew i think)

once it had dried, again scrape the excess glue off, light sanding on the joints etc..

as you can see in the picture the bottom overhangs on parts and looks like the cuts weren't perfect.. its because they weren't, but this can and will be sorted out when sanding it all down later.

Step 9: Sanding

Now i gave the whole box a good sanding.
Starting with 40 grit paper, working up to 120 grit to ensure the box was completely smooth to the touch.
Then i used some 120 grit paper to round off all the edges and corners.

Where i could i sanded in a backward-forward direction following the grain as pine has a tendancy to leave what looks like a fluffy surface if you sand sideways to the grain.

i also used a bit of 240 grit paper on the end grain of the wood as this is particularly rough.

Any overhanging parts of the bottom were also sanded back flush with the rest of the box.

depending on how smooth a finish you want will determine how much sanding to do. But i didn't go mad with it as both me and my niece were getting bored of it by now.

Step 10: Sketch a Design and Start the Pyrography

As im a country music fan, and love the highwaymen, (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson) i decided it would be cool to make the theme of the box a tribute to some country legends.

I am just a rank beginner on the pyrography, and have only used the burning pen a hand full of times so this was the biggest challenge by far.
But, i did the best i could, and im relatively happy with the outcome.

NOTE: There are tonnes of guides about pyrography, and techniques etc.. If your looking at trying some i would recommend looking it up and definitely give it a go.

But as a basic heads up, a cheap starter pyrography pen looks similar to a soldering iron, but has removeable tips.
Having been too impatient to read a guide or a book i just selected the tip that was closer to a pencil tip than the rest and tried it out on an off cut of wood.
For dark outlines move the tip slowly so it can burn deeper, and for light shading i just moved it around fast in a circular motion until the right shade was acquired.

Step 11: Staining

I poured a small amount of stain into an old plastic tub (small amounts at a time as its easier to pour more out than it is to get it back in the tin)

Using a washing up sponge i gave a light coat to the box (besides the lid)

As i had spent the best part of 3 hours wood burning, i wasn't keen on the idea of the stain possibly darkening the wood around it and making the picture vanish.
So i came up with a cunning plan to stain around the picture and have the stain slightly fade towards it.

Again i got lucky and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Step 12: Varnish

I had some varnish that i ordered for a job months ago and luckily it was still good to use.

Using a brush i applied a thin layer of the varnish to the bottom, sides, and lid of the box.
(i checked the varnish after a couple of hours to lightly brush out any air bubbles or obvious streaks.

the first coat kind of absorbed into the wood and was definitely not enough to be finished so i wiped the box down with some 400 grit sandpaper and absolutely minimal pressure, and applied another layer of the varnish.

once i was happy with the finish i moved on to ther parts of the box and did the same thin coats with a light sanding in between them.

Note - i bought a 10 pack of the cheapest crap brushes for £1 so i didn't have to soak it in anything between coats, i just threw the brushes away when the varnish had dried on them. (not very economical but i didn't want to risk brushing on any thinners with the brush after soaking and ruin the finish)

Step 13: Start Adding Hardware

I ordered some small box hardware off ebay to give it a better finished look as i was getting toward the end of the build and thinking it looked a bit too much like a crap handmade box..

There is no particular order of sticking the accessories on, i just put them on in the order they got delivered.

Starting with the antique feet (£1.99)
simply using a small (PZ1) screwdriver i fixed these in place using the screws that were provided. (cheap and simple, but made it look better instantly)

Then i installed 3 antique style bronze hinges, again off ebay (around £1.99 for a pack of 20)

I also bought 2 a4 sheets of self adhesive black velvet/felt for 99p to put on the underside of the lid (accidently doubles up as a soft close for the lid) and the base of the box.

Step 14: NEW IDEA!

I had an idea to have the box play music when it opens,
so i found an awesome little gadget.

a 2 minute light sensitive audio module (presumably meant for making greeting cards)

so i ripped out the black felt from the bottom,
recorded "the highwaymen" on the module, and put it at the bottom of the box (leaving the light sensor sticking out for now)
i then stuck some card to the bottom of the box like a frame so the device didn't get crushed.

Then i cut a piece of card the same size as my felt and stuck the felt onto it (this would then be glued back down covering the audio device :)

(i had to improvise with oil bottles to weight down the card while it stuck in place)

Step 15: Continue Adding Hardware

I found a small talon clip in the toolbox at work and luckily it housed my pipe in perfectly, so i screwed that inside the lid.

everything is falling into place now :)

Then i attached a latch to complete the look.
and as far as im concerned that will do me.
(until i come up with another random add on)

Step 16: Finito ;)

I hope you like it as much as i do :)

easy to build, no expensive tools required.

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    very nice ible wish i was that good at pyrography


    Reply 4 years ago

    i saw some carbon (reciept) paper in my local stationary shop, i bet if you printed out a picture and traced it on, you could easily get a good design with minimal pyrography skills.. il try it on a chopping board to see :)


    Reply 4 years ago

    yeah it is my attempt at the highwaymen :)

    thanks dude