A Gift for Ginny
I was thinking about three things. Ginny had hinted that she wouldn't mind
having a box and I hadn't made her one, I'd just gotten back from a week
in Yosemite and was planning a trip to Alaska, and I had this piece of
Thuya Burl that I had been waiting for the right opportunity to cut into.
So, I wrapped all those ideas up in this little project.
The entire box is made from a single piece of wood.
Below you can see the box and the wood it was cut from.
It has a nice rough face that reminds me of the rugged beauty of the
mountains I had been visiting. I knew that for Ginny I wanted to
make something with more than one compartment. Some kind of intricacy.
I started by cutting out the basic shape, then lopped the top and
bottom off the "box".
I then used the band saw to cut the middle interior portion out of the box as
one solid piece (the cut goes thru the side of the box). From that
interior portion I cut about an inch off the top (to become empty space,
for the top compartment), then another 1/4" slice (for the "bottom"
of the top compartment).
The swinging compartment was made from the remaining piece by
routing out the compartment portion. The trickiest cut on the
box was to remove just the portion of the outer box that would
swing outward (the "face" of the swinging compartment).
I tried something with the Scroll saw that didn't
work, which actually cracked the shell of the box, so I ended up
cutting the face out of two separate (now broken) parts of the outer
box and gluing them back together. It got a little messy at this point,
and I was afraid it wasn't going to come out well, but I'm glad I didn't
After that there was nothing to do but glue all the pieces
together and see what happened. Well, actually one has to
sand all the insides and I did a bit of forming as I was gluing
each piece. I use 5 minute epoxy so that I don't have to wait
forever between stages.
I start with the outer box, gluing up
the seam created by cutting the main innards out. Then I attached
the bottom to the box, along with some pieces to support the "bottom"
of the top compartment. Then I put the "bottom of the top compartment"
in. Then I used the dremel to form the insides a bit and sanded
what I could on the inside. Gluing the compartment to the swing-out
door, and a small piece for a hinge to the top (actually should
be the piece that is cut from the back of the box, but it broke so I made
another one), and sanding everyhing a few more times means that
I could drill the holes for the hinge pins and set the pins
(straightened pieces of a paper clip :-). Then I sand everything
again a few times, ending with a 3M finishing cloth, which is
about like 600 sand paper, but easier to work with.
A light coat of oil goes on in a minute, and is the funnest part of the
whole project as you lovingly rub it down every 10 minutes or so
for the first hour or two until any oil stops seeping back out
of the wood (lest you get little shiny spots). As a finishing touch,
there was this little bar magnet on my workbench that I cut into two pieces.
I drilled holes in the box for the pieces and put one on the box and one
on the swinging door as a latch.
Perhaps the best part of making a box, in the end, is giving it
away. Ginny was so moved by the gift that I'm not sure I can describe
it. Made with love, given with love, and received with love.
It was quite a memorable moment. She was definitely happy, as I was
to be able to create and give her this gift.