My final project will be a jewelry box that is a bit more simple that five sides with a lid that opens and closes. I plan to incorporate several build strategies that will make my box stand out from the rest.
Step 1: Section 1: Project Proposal
I think it is clear that it does not take a rocket scientist to put six sides together in a box form with two hinges and a latch. I plan to use eight miter cuts and a series of wide notches that interlock the sides to the base of the box. I will use no type of metal fasteners, only wood glue. My goal is to get the notch system very tight so that it will natural stay together but I will fasten those notches with wood glue as well as the miter joints on all four sides. I will use two hinges that are countersunk into the back side as well as into the lid. I will use a roller latch system that will be completely internal and unseen from the outside of the box when closed.
Step 2: Section 2: Rough Sketch/Proposal Sign-off
Step 3: Section 3: Photos in Progress
Looking through the photos of my work, I have pointed out important areas to notice on some of these.
Step 4: Section 4: Creating the Sides & Base
I began from the bottom of the box and worked my way to the top to ensure the entire piece would remain square from start to finish. The base had a total of six notches that needed to be removed so that the sides would slide in at a 90 degree angle. After taking measurements and defining the area that needed to be removed, I took the piece of pine to the ban saw. I first cut the two perimeters and took several slivers out until I could make the horizontal cut by fitting the ban saw into the cut. I repeated this for the remainder of the five cuts on the base.
Before notching the sides, front, and back, I first made my miter cuts on the chop saw. Each side needed a 45 degree cut on either side to form a trapezoid if viewed from the edge of the board. I had to take measurements several times to ensure that the outsides would match to the edges of the base with no overhang or short falls. After the miter cuts were complete, I repeated the same process mentioned above but the short sides were a bit easier because they could be cut directly from two different directions to form a 90 degree angle on the ban saw.
It took a bit of guess work after I made my initial cuts to get the best fit from the sides into the base. I did this by shaving the wood in very little increments until the fit was adequate to perfect.
Step 5: Section 4: Assembly of the Base & Sides
I used wood glue in each of the notches and within the miter joints. First, I liberally applied glue to the front and back notches of the base as well as the top, where the side would sit on top. Once I had the front and back in place, I slathered glue in the base where the side notches were as well as the area the sides would sit on top of on the base. Also, I applied glue to each miter joint. I then brought the sides in and began scrambling for clamps to keep those miter joints snug. It took a few tries with clamp position because the red wood was so soft that it was very easy to torque those clamps too much. Finally, I found proper clamp positions with the help of Mr. Bates and I propped my project in a manner that would not tweak the squareness.
Step 6: Section 4: Creating the Lid
I began the lid by rough cutting to the original dimensions which would allow for overhang which was the goal. I wanted the lid to be oversized so that I could manipulate just one piece rather than the whole box itself, again. After I had my rough cut, I had to square the top perimeter of my base and side assembly so that this lid would sit flush. I did this by using the table saw. I raised the blade all the way up and set the fence so that my cut was only about half of the blade. All I wanted to do was shave a bit of wood off so that I could get uniformity across the top. Ensuring that my piece was square, I ran the assembly across the saw on the front and back, alternatively, a few times until the lid sat flush.
Step 7: Section 4: Dimensions
Depth x Width x Length
Lid: 3/4" x 5 3/8" x 9 3/4"
Front & Back: 5/8" x 2 3/8" x 9 3/4"
Front & Back Notches: 5/8" x 3/4" x 2" (Measurement of material removed from the front and back pieces)
Sides: 3/4" x 2 3/8" x 9 3/4"
Side Notches: 3/4" x 3/4" x 1 1/2" (Measurement of material removed from side pieces)
Inside: 1 5/8" x 4 1/8" x 8 3/8"
Step 8: Section 4: Countersink Hinge Areas, Install Hinges, & Install Latch
In order to match the lid with the rest of the assembly, it was necessary to finish the assembly process to ensure a proper match and fit. To begin, I had to bore a total of four areas of of the lid and box. After making measurements to ensure the hinges would sit even, I shaded the area to be removed on both materials. With a hammer and sharp chisel, I traced the perimeter of my shaded areas with a few medium beats on the chisel. From there I started working the wood out by keeping the chisel angle very shallow so that I would not dig to deep. Ultimately my goal here was to take a sixteenth to an eighth of an inch so that the hinges would sit nicely and the lid would close without gap. As I mentioned before, the redwood was very soft and I ended up taking more out than I was attempting to. This worked okay though because I was just very careful not to take too much out of the lid-hinge areas.
Before installing the hinges, I pulled the pin out of each so I was only working with one side at a time. The larger part of the hinge is for the box therefore the smaller part of the hinge is for the lid. Beginning with the box, I placed the part inside the chiseled area and marked the holes that would be pre-drilled. Once this was done for all four hinge areas, I used a sixteenth-inch drill bit to pre-drill the screw holes. Finally, I placed each part in it's spot and used a screwdriver to drive the provided screws in. Thankfully, the hinges lined up well and the pins went right back in.
I decided to use an internal, roller latch so that it was unseen from the outside when the box it closed. I am glad I took this approach because it keeps attention on the natural beauty of the wood. The only measurement I had to take for the latch is the center position on both the box and the lid. After that mark was made, I played around with position of the roller mechanism to find the best position, vertically inside the box. As I did with the hinges, I marked my holes and pre-drilled those before screwing the screws in with a screwdriver.
With the lid attached, it closed very nicely after some minor roller-poisitiion adjustments. Also, there was a bit of catch around the hinges, wood-wood. I will explain the fix for this next.
Step 9: Section 4: Sanding & Pre-Finish
At this point in the build, the lid overhangs by little increments over the box itself. With the box and lid attached and closed, I began the sanding process to bring both into uniformity. I could have cut the lid but there really wasn't enough overhang to justify this. Using the stationary sander, I spent plenty of time getting everything flush and rounded before moving onto the finishing sand which I performed by hand.
Once I achieved the shape I was looking for with the machine, I moved over to the table to finish up with sand paper on the outside. I started with a coarse paper and ended with finer paper. I ensured that there were no rough edges and I had to pay particular attention to the back, where the lid and hinges attached. I held the lid partially open while sanding in the crack, taking a bit of material off of both pieces. Once the lid closed without resistance, I stopped that process.
Once I had the outside complete and ready to stain, I moved to the inside. I had some excess glue that needed to be removed so I removed that with a sharp chisel, the best I could without damaging the base too much. When the glue was gone, I repeated the sanding process mentioned above. I did not spend a ton of time on the inside because I wanted to keep the natural feel.
Lastly, I blew all of the shavings off with compressed air and my project was ready for stain.
Step 10: Section 4: Stain & Polyurethane
The last step to my project was the application of finishing agents. First, with the lid open, I creased blue tape and put it all around the top of the box with the fold facing out. I then closed a lid to create a seal. I was aware that some stain would enter but this would keep most of it out. With the lid closed and sealed, I taped around my hinges to avoid any stain damage to them.
The first two applications were a maple stain. I applied those stains in the same day roughly four hours apart. I was happy with the color of the wood by that time so I stopped there.
The next day, I came back with the first coat of polyurethane finish. I applied the first coat very lightly and allowed it to dry overnight. The next morning, I came back with fairly fine steel wool and very lightly braised the outside surface of the entire piece. Once I completed this, I came back with a thicker coating of polyurethane and that was my final application.
Step 11: Section 8: Bill of Materials
1. 1" Poly Paint Brush...............................................$0.79
2. Ultra Double Roller Catch.....................................$3.09
3. Ultra 1" x 3/4" Narrow Hinge.................................$3.19
4. Gorilla Wood Glue 4 oz.........................................$3.19
5. Minwax Colonial Maple Wood Stain.....................$6.29
6. Minwax Polyurethane Clear Gloss........................$5.69
7. 3/4" x 6" x 3' #1 Pine.............................................$13.91
8. 5/8" x 6" x 3' Redwood..........................................$14.16
Step 12: Section 9: Assembly Instructions
Once the raw wood is processed the ways mentioned early with the ban saw, chop saw, chisel, and hammer, these are the steps required to put the project together.
1. Begin with the front, back, and base. Liberally apply glue all around the notch areas for the front and back pieces on the base as well as the miter cuts of the pieces. Be sure to apply glue to the top of the base where the pieces will cover. Spread the glue with your finger. Install the front and back pieces.
2. Apply glue to the side notches and the area on top of the base where the sides will cover as well as the miter cuts of the pieces. Spread the glue with your finger. Install the sides.
3. You will two clamps applying force to the front and back, close to the joints across the width of the box. One clamp should be placed lengthwise, applying force to the sides. The purpose of these clamps is to keep those miter joints tight while the glue dries. Be careful not to torque the clamps too much because both woods are soft, especially the redwood. Place the box in a position that will not tweak the squareness. Allow ample time for the glue to dry.
4. Once dry, use a square to see how you did. It is okay if it is not perfectly square but it should be close.
5. On the table saw, raise the blade all the way up and set the fence so that only half of the blade will do the work. You will run the box across the table on the front and back, alternatively, removing material from top of the front, back, and sides simultaneously to achieve uniformity across the top so that the lid will sit flush on the box. Stop after each pass across to check your work and the process is complete when the lid sits flush.
6. Pre-drill the marked holes for the hinges and latch mechanisms.
7. Screw the hardware in using a screwdriver. Be sure you separate the hinges beforehand, this will make your life easier.
8. Connect the hinges by replacing the pins and check that the lid opens and closes properly. If there is resistance from wood on the back where the hinges are, this can be easily corrected with sandpaper later.
9. With the lid attached and closed, begin sanding on the stationary sander to match the box and lid up. Work on rounding exterior edges and corners as well.
10. Move to the table and start hand sanding with coarse sandpaper on the exterior. Work on sanding the crack where the hinges are to eliminate any resistance. Move to fine sandpaper to finish.
11. Carefully use a sharp chisel to remove excess glue on the inside of the box.
12. With coarse sandpaper, smooth edges and entire interior including the bottom of the lid. The interior will remain natural so you don't need to spend a ton of time on the interior.
13. With compressed air, thoroughly blow off all the wood shavings from the entire box.
14. Tape up the crack between the lid and box as mentioned previously to ensure no/little amount of finishing product enters the box. You will have to be careful around this crack when applying the finishers. Also tape up the hinges adequately.
15. Apply the maple stain liberally, covering all exterior surfaces until the wood changes color. Wipe off all excess stain with a paper towel. Allow to dry for at least four hours. Apply a second coat and remove any excess, afterwards. Allow ample time to dry before the next step.
16. Apply the first coat of polyurethane clear gloss lightly. Allow at least four hours to dry. With a fine piece of steel wool, lightly braise all exterior surfaces. Apply a second, thicker coat of polyurethane and be sure to blend any excess. Allow ample time to dry.
17. Remove all the tape and your jewelry box is complete!
Step 13: Section 10: Finished Results!
Step 14: Section 11: Reflection
This project was my first small and tedious wood working project. I have made furniture before but nothing this small and complex. The greatest lessons I learned here was the value of patience and the ability to compensate for mistakes. Many things we all have to do in life teach patience but when you are creating something from raw materials, patience is tested to the upmost. At some points during this project, I had to set things down and come back the next day or a few days later. It can be easy to get frustrated when creating something new, even though it is a very common item. I made a few mistakes throughout the project that were irritating, especially when you are investing a lot of time into something. I think the ways I was able to compensate for those shortfalls was the real take away from this project and the class in general. Not only can these skills be applied to wood work but life as a whole. Everyday we must compensate for things we do wrong and this jewelry box showed me that compensation can always be achieved.
Something I would like to learn about wood working is how to use the router. I was originally planning on using the router to shape the lid of my project but I thought it would take away from the look of the piece. I have never had the opportunity to use one of those machines and unfortunately, I did not get a chance to practice this semester. In the future, I would love to learn how to use the machine because I know there are a ton of tasks that it can be used for.
Surprising to me, I think I excelled in achieving squareness in this project. Although it may seem simple to make a jewelry box, I am here to tell you that it poses an array of challenges and ninety degree angles is definitely on of those. Every single cut I made had the potential to screw those angles up but looking at my final product, I am very happy with the turnout in reference to those square angles. Also, I practiced measure one hundred times before cutting and that definitely made a difference. It is easy to get complacent and just start 'eye balling' cuts but the saying pays off in the long run and saves a lot of unnecessary frustration.
There are a few things I could have done differently. If I had managed my time a little bit better, I would have done some kind of wood burning on the box. That process is very time consuming if one wants it to look nice. I opted out of that for the sake of time. Another thing I could have done differently is use an exterior latch rather than interior. The reason I opted out of this is because I wanted the natural beauty of the wood to shine rather than anything else.
On the back and front pieces, I could have closed those gaps but making my cuts a little bit longer. I was able to fill those gaps fairly well with scrap and they stained pretty nice but it would have been better to have those closed up. When I applied the clamps for the box, I accidentally torqued them a bit more than I should have and cracked the back. This is minor but it is something I could have avoided if I was paying closer attention.
I really enjoyed using the chop saw and the table saw in the ways that I did with this project. I was able to make very nice and clean joint cuts at an angle. The way I used the table saw to achieve a uniform top worked very well and I was pleased with the results. Having that much blade exposed is risky but long arms help and it did exactly what I wanted it to do.
Overall, this project furthered my wood working skills. I will be very happy to see my mom's face when I give her this gift!