Intro: Laser Cut Finger Joint Valet Box With Tray
Thanksgiving was a great time this year. I got to spend many hours with my Brother-in-law, who seemed to misplace his keys and wallet at least seven times a day. After dinner, we drew names for Christmas presents; lo and behold, I got him. What better way to help than giving him the gift of organization.
After looking at all the local stores and perusing the internet without finding a quality valet made out of real wood, I decided to make one. It turned out so good, I made a second and decided to share with the world.
3- 1/4 inch by 6, 48 inch long trim boards(Lowe's $12 for Oak, $6 for aspen)
4- 1/2 inch brass capped bolts($1.60 Ace Hardware)
1- 3/4 inch brass capped bolt($1.70 Ace Hardware)
1/2 yard Felt(any color- $1 Walmart)
Step 1: Designing
I designed the box using Corel Draw 6.0. I was able to design the box piece by piece and then perform an object weld to keep the small finger joints even and proportional to each other. After the first box was cut, I had to adjust the tolerance between the finger joints.
I have access to an Epilog 40 Watt laser engraver, so I used that. These patterns can also be cut out using a table saw that doesnt rattle around.
The long divider has multiple slots to adjust the slot size. More small dividers can be cut to allow more divisions of the box and tray.
Attached are the Corel File, PDF, and Illustrator files.
Step 2: Cutting and Engraving
I started by cutting the boards down to 16 inch pieces to fit into the engraver.
Make sure you have the outline set as a hairline width and cut on speed-10, power-100, frequency-500, one pass of the laser easily cut this, even the 1/4 inch oak was cut using these settings but the was a lot of residue.
Bottoms and top are identical except the top goes back in and gets a center-center engraving at 65 speed, 88 power, 2 passes of the machine.
Step 3: Lining
After sanding to final size, I placed the bottom over the felt and marked it. This creates a perfect sized outline to cut and fit later.
Step 4: Asssembling Box Top
This is a simple glue, align the top flush with the sides and clamp. Make sure the engraving top is towards the hinge slots cut out of the back.
Step 5: Assemble Box Bottom
I glued and clamped the center piece and sides first.
Second is the front section because of the low front. Clamps need to be placed from the bottom of the center.
Third is the back part of the box to be glued and clamped. Since the center is the same height as the back, the clamps can be applied from the top.
Now that the box is glued and dried, it's time to sand. The finger joints are slightly longer than needed so they can be sanded flush and remove laser residue at one time.
Step 6: Handle
I forgot to add the handle hole to the top box design. Sorry. I grabbed my drill and a 3/16th inch bit. The 3/4 inch capped bolt needs sanded just a tiny bit to ensure it holds the handle tight.
Place the large circle on first. Follow with the small circle. Insert bolt through front of lid and secure.
Step 7: Hinges and Stops
I used 1 inch brass hinges and designed the cutout for that specific width and offset. Adjust slots as neccessary and use supplied screws to mount the hinges on lid and back wall.
The lid stops need a little extra sanding to thin them. this gives the clearance to turn and slide on the 1/2 inch brass bolts.
Bolt from the outside to have the brilliant brass show without the screwdriver slot. The single hole goes to the lid and the slot bolts to the bottom box. The stop rotates as the lid is closed so be carefull of crowding it with pocket junk.
Step 8: Almost There
Showing the lid and Box pivoting.
I set in the felt and dividers to make sure the fit was good.
Step 9: Final Assembly
Completed at last, almost. The bolts need removed and polished. The lid, stops, and dividers need taken apart one last time. I plan to stain and varnish this beauty before calling it done. Then some final buffing to make it gleam and it will be a showpiece that will last a lifetime.