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maple storage box

This is a detailed account of how I made a large maple storage box for a client in London. He wanted the box left empty but to have a lock fitted and the initials "XX" carved on the top.

Click on images to enlarge.

These are the boards I used to make the sides of the box. I look for suitable grain patterns and avoid any defects.
sides of the box before cutting
cutting sides to length
The sides are cut to length on a table saw. I use a peice of mdf under the maple to prevent tear-out on the bottom edge.
The next step is to plane away any marks left by the machining process.
planing sides
marking out dovetails
I worked out the spacing for the dovetails on paper beforehand and here the tails are marked on the wood ready for cutting.
I use a Japanese saw to cut the tails. A more detailed account of my dovetailing technique can be seen here.
cutting tails
Using a sharp chisel to cut the shoulders down to a scribed line.
The tails are cleaned up ready for the next process.
finished tails
marking out pins
I mark out the position of the pins using a jig. The tail board sits on the top of the jig and I scribe round the tails with a scalpal onto the pin board which is clamped on the front of the jig.
Here the pins are partially cleaned up.
pins partially cleaned up
dry assembly
After the dovetailing process is finished I dry assemble the sides to check the joints.
Moving onto the top now. It is made out of two boards which are jointed together using biscuit joints. Here I am using a bicuit jointer.
showing grooves left by biscuit jointer
The jointer leaves half an elliptical groove in the board which is filled with a shaped peice of wood (top left).
The top is glued and clamped together using sash clamps.
gluing up top
using the spindle moulder
The top is known as a "fielded panel" and sits in a groove in the box sides. I use a spindle moulder to machine the "fielding" which runs around the edge of the top.
Here I am checking the fit of the top in the side groove.
checking fit of top in side groove
carved letters
I carved "XX" on the top and routed a groove around the carving to insert ebony stringing.
I have started gluing in the stringing. I plane each peice flush before gluing in the next one.
ebony stringing finished
All glued in a planed flush.
Because the top is solid it has to "float" in the grooves in the sides. To keep it central in the box I cut a notch out of the top which corresponds with a small peice glued in the groove in the side of the box.
notch to centralise top
logo ready for carving
Here my logo is marked out ready for carving.
After the insides and top have been polished I glue the box up.
box glued up
cleaning up joints
The joints are planed flush when the glue has gone off.
Nice crisp dovetail joints. At this stage the box is cut in half to produce the lid. I plan the joints so that there are 2 dovetails in the lid.
crisp dovetails
fitting the hinges
I used Brusso hinges on this box. I rout out most of the recess before finished with chisels. More about hinge fitting here.
On to the lock now. I fit the lock first which then gives me the position of the key.
fitting the lock
fitting the key plate
Here the key plate is in position. I have scribed a line around the plate with a scalpal.
I use a router to remove most of the waste and then cut to the scribe line with a chisel.
recess for key plate
planing key plate flush
The plate is glued in proud and planed flush with a block plane.
Here the lock is fitted.
lock fitted
Boxes for sale up to £250
Boxes for sale £250 to £550
Boxes for sale £550 to £1000
Boxes for sale over £1000
Personal boxes
Workshop news
The work bench
Jewellery trays
To make a box (1)
To make a box (2)
To make a box (3)

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