Box 6 – 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks
By Matt Kenney
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I’ve made many boxes like this one before. It’s actually my second go at a box I made many years ago (see the box at right). I made that box in one night, using a Phi ruler to determine the box’s height, width, and length. I like the width and length, but think it’s too tall. I always wanted to go back and make it again, but shorter. That’s what box 6 is. I should admit that I’m not positive that the two boxes have the same width and height. The only record I could find of the original box’s dimensions was an approximation, so I guessed as best I could. (I gave the box to a family friend not long after I made it, so can’t measure it.) I like the proportions of the new box much better.
The first box was made from English elm. So is this one. The difference in color between the two is amazing. I really like the color of the first box, but that board is long gone. I also like the English elm I used for this box, especially the random spots of wild grain, but it’s not quite as nice. The top of the first box is solid wood. I think it’s flame birch. (It came from a very old, but decrepit, table, so I don’t know for sure.) The top of this one is plywood banded in cocobolo and then veneered with English brown oak. The lifts are cocobolo. The three woods complement each other very well, I think. And the darker oak works here because the box sides are a light brown. It would not have worked with the elm I used to make the previous box.
Box 6 wasn’t hard to make, but it was tedious. Both the lids and the bottom involved veneering plywood. The banding on the top is mitered at the corners and getting those miters tight and clean was a slow, shaving at a time process. The bottom involved some tedious labor, too. First I veneered the bottom face. I then did the end banding. After that, it was the front and back. This way, when you look at the bottom from the front, you see what looks like a piece of solid wood. Last came the veneer for the top face. I wanted this to cover the banding, so that when you look at the inside of the box, you don’t see any banding. (I should do a blog about box bottoms, right?.) The veneers on the lids are commercial, but think. Those on the bottom are shopsawn.
Alright, let’s get to the random thoughts.
- One of the things I look for when choosing wood for box sides is tight, straight grain. I also look for anomalies in the grain to give the sides some individuality. With cherry, it’s usually bits of pitch. With this English elm its some random, isolated curl or figure that makes the grain lines wave up and down. Very cool.
- The lifts illustrate a strong belief I have about pulls, handles, and lifts: Don’t worry about getting them perfectly centered. If you look at the picture below on the left, you can see that they are a bit closer to the right side than the left side. You notice this in the end view, but not when looking from above. I can live with some imperfection in a box, as long as it’s in the right place. I suspect others will disagree with me on this point. I would quote a particular line from The Holy Grail at this point (it pertains to doing something in a person’s general direction), but I don’t want to be rude.
- There’s no milk paint. I just wanted to give it a break for a week. Don’t worry. I’ve already made some more boxes with milk paint.
- I’m not sure what you’d store in this box, but I think it would do nicely as storage for some Longbottom Leaf or Old Toby. Personally, I don’t partake of the stuff. I’ve heard it makes your feet hairy.