Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Walnut Box

About four years ago I hosted two meetings of Matt's Cub Scout Den.  The theme was woodworking and there were more than a dozen boys. Having them all buld something worth keeping successfully and safely was quite a challenge and thankfully most of the parents pitched in.  The result was more than a dozen small open boxes made of salvaged redwood, just the right size for stashing a stack of notepads.

Afterwards, Anne repurposed the prototype box as a stand for her makeup mirror.  The box was a little too narrow, which left the mirror slightly cockeyed, and not really tall enough.  Anne never complained about this, even after years of hunching over to get a good reflection.

I have to admit that my woodworking projects are rarely completed promptly or perfectly but this year, for Anne's birthday, I finally made a replacement box.  It's both wide and high enough to hold the mirror properly and it has a drawer.


I made the box from a rough walnut board I had packed from New Jersey late last year, and the last small walnut board that Dicky had cut from a log filched from someone's yard.  There was a fair amount of work involved in coaxing rectangular raw material from the wood and there was quite a bit of sapwood.  I tried to highlight the sapwood, rather than hide it.

The drawer has through box joints in the back and half blind box joints in front.  I had to cut the half blind joints by hand.   It was difficult to get a tight fit and I ended making a bunch of splinters to fill in the ugliest gaps.  The outside of the drawer and the inside of the box is finished with a couple of coats of wax.  I'm quite proud of how the drawer fits, I planed it until it fit perfectly and the wax is pretty slippery.

The drawer front is raised about an 1/8th off the bottom so that it doesn't drag when you open it.

The last thing worth mentioning about this box is the wood's color.  The wood from last year's trip to New Jersey has a beautiful slightly reddish hue that really came alive when I applied the finish.  The other board is very uniform and distinctly different shade of brown. The difference is most noticeable in bright sunlight.  I do not think that Anne minds the contrast.


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