Enjoying the 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks series?
Purchase the 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks book on the MEK WOODWORKS website.
The idea for this box has been floating around in my head for quite some time. I had not made it yet because every time it surfaced I couldn’t get the proportions right. But inspiration often comes when we are least looking for it. After I had completed box 4, I put it on the counter, knelt down in front of it to get a head on look at the front elevation, and it hit me. Those were the perfect dimensions for this box. The length and width of this box are the same as the length and height of box 4. I haven’t been giving dimensions, but if you’re wondering the box is 2 in. wide and 12 in. long.
When I thought of this box in the past, I never had particular species in mind for the sides and lids. As I was looking through my lumber rack and assorted piles of small pieces of lumber, I took a break to go into the house and see what the kids were doing. My daughter was in her room, which is where I saw a little wall cabinet I made several years ago (see the picture at left). It’s ash and apple. The apple is gorgeous. I immediately decided to make the lids from apple. I thought about making the body from ash, but back in my shop I came across a very nice piece of quartersawn white oak that was just the right size for the sides. The earthy, multi-hued apple, I thought, would compliment the white oak’s brown very well. I think the woods go very well together. Sadly, my stash of apple got a bit smaller.
I had planned to put some cocobolo lifts on the lids. But when I got to that point in the construction I just couldn’t do it. No matter where I placed the lifts, they obscured the apple’s beautiful grain and colors. The box body was already finished, but that didn’t deter me. At the drill press, I used a Forstner bit to create the finger openings. I actually used two different bits. The opening in the middle is larger than the ones on the sides. I plan to reuse this technique (I might even remake this box in different woods), and I’ll put a finger opening on both the front and back for each compartment. You can open the compartments just fine as it is, but it will be easier if you can pinch the lid between two fingers.
I don’t remember when I decided to paint the top face of the box bottom. In the past, I’ve made fabric cushions for the insides of boxes, and I always choose a fabric that popped. (Take a look these boxes to see what I mean). That lead to the milk paint, I guess. I just like the surprise of opening an all wood box and seeing a bright splash of color. The marigold yellow milk paint looks great, I think. I like how it crackled of it’s own accord.
OK, time for some random thoughts:
- This is an awesome piece of apple. Look at those colors. It’s amazing that it had a small “defect” in just the right place so that I could get one in each lid. When viewed from the top, the lids look like little framed paintings. The box is subdued enough to let the lids stand out in all their beauty. (Apple could be the prettiest wood there is. Madrone is a close second.)
- Drilling those finger openings was scary. I thought they’d look good and work, but I wasn’t sure. I was wavering, but reminded myself that part of the reason I’m doing this 52 box thing is to take risks. I’m glad I did it.
- Marigold yellow milk paint! You never fail me.
- Look at hat white oak. Not only does it have some very cool ray fleck, but the grain has some funky glittery streaks. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it came from Fangorn or Lothlorien. Hell, what do I know, perhaps it did. Let me know if you see any Ents or Gil-galad headed my way.