Box 50 – 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

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This one feels like a big deal. It’s box 50, after all, but I also think it’s important because it’s a refinement of a box I’ve been making for several years: my old friend, the two-compartment box (right). It has smaller overall dimensions (1 1/2 in. by 3 in. by 6 in. versus 2 in. by 5 in. by 8 in.), has one compartment instead of two, uses a more stylish pull, and has thinner sides and top. 

These differences make the box simpler and more delicate, but what makes it more elegant is the inward sloping sides, and milk painted edges on the top. These are subtle things, certainly, but they make a big difference. However, I’m kicking myself a bit because had I used a slightly different pull, a slimmed down version of the one I used on box 46, this would be a perfect little box. I guess I’ll have to make it again in the near future, just not before I finish the 52 box project. That’s quickly coming to a close. And I already have the last two boxes designed (in fact, box 51 is just about done).

The inspiration for this box came from the second box I ever made (many, many years ago). It’s at least 1 in. taller and is closer to square in width and length. It also has sloping sides, but I made them by starting out with thick sides and planing the slope into them after assembly. This box has 3/16 in. thick sides. There are compound miters at the corner that result in the inward slope. As I did for boxes 13, 14, and 15, I used a “wedge” to cut the compound miters, the rabbets, and the top and bottom edges. I like the technique because the wedge guarantees that all of the angles will be correct. As a result of the more refined construction, this box is more elegant than the original.

I’d like to say that a lot of careful thought went into the design of this box, but that wouldn’t be true. I looked at the older box, asked how I would make it now, and the answer came to me quickly. Make it shorter, make it a rectangle, and use compound miters at the corner. I also used the bottom to create a shadow line at the bottom. And the pull is similar to others that I’ve used. What I did, in other words, was take design details that I’ve been using this past year and put them together in a new way. In a way, there’s nothing new here, but in truth, it’s a very new box. And it’s one of my favorites. I love its delicacy, elegance, and the beautiful fabric inside.

I don’t think I have anything else to say about this one, but you’re more than welcome to ask questions if you have them. Here are a few random thoughts.

1. All the cherry for this box came from a single board. It has a warm, reddish-brown color, tight grain, and just enough pitch spread about to make it interesting. It goes very well with the green milk paint.

2. This pull was one of six that I made for box 48. I needed six because I actually made two identical boxes, giving one as a gift to a friend’s daughter. The pulls did not work with that box, but it certainly works here. I like that the little feet are the same green that I used around the edge of the lid (and around the edge of the bottom, too, but you can’t see it in any of the pictures).

3. I know I already said this, but it’s amazing what a few small changes can do. Here it’s just the angled sides and smaller proportions, but it makes for a nicer box.

4. Holy fuck, I’ve made 50 boxes. That’s a lot of boxes.

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