Boxes for Christmas

Fear not, I’m still alive and I do still have intentions of getting back in the workshop before Christmas! Other things have been taking over lately and, as I did state recently, I’m enjoying a bit of a break from my seven-year-long ‘obsession‘ with this craft.

As I mentioned on my Facebook page recently, I’m planning to make and complete a couple of boxes in time for Christmas. If I can, I’ll document them, write about them (not just here) and offer them for publication in a UK magazine. If I don’t keep them both then, I already have a recipient in mind for one and I may try to offer the other as well.

Right now, I’m just looking forward to completing a small but enjoyable project like this. It’s been about five-years since I last made a box like this!

It’s going to be a fairly straight-forward or standard design and the dimensions, which you can see above, have worked well for me in the past. I’m thinking of using some of that elm I bought at Yandles not long ago for the sides on at least one box. I have some English cherry that I may use for the second although, I may instead just save that for contrasting features.

The lid is going to be a solid (not veneered) piece of ash, which an interesting grain that I’ve already bookmarked for this project (more on that once things are underway). It’ll finish flush with the top edges of the box and I’ll include a 2mm or 3mm wide ‘shadow’ detail around the perimeter where it meets the box’s internal faces (created by cutting rebates). I plan to fit some kind of mirror or reflective acrylic sheet to the inside of the lid.

Inside, I’ve decided to attempt a removable try insert, which could be used for holding small items of jewellery, like earrings. This isn’t something I’ve actually done before and I anticipate the timber should finish at 6mm (¼in) thick (box sides are 16mm – 5/8in). Looking around, it seems as though there are several ways to approach this…

On a box of this size, I think it’s important to keep it a ‘tight’ fit in the opening, for the sake of storage. I’ve drawn four square compartments above but, I actually like another configuration I’ve seen, where the two end ones are twice the size without the dividers. It currently sits about 10mm (3/8in) above the edges of the box. Should I reduce it to 5mm? I was thinking of using it as a ‘lining’ so that the lid sits tightly on top and around (no hinges or stays required) but, I can see issues with that (accidentally removing the tray with the lid; not being able to remove the tray from the lid easily) and so, I may opt instead to embed some rare earth magnets in to the design.

Elm for the sides, ash for the lid and I’m thinking of fitting a walnut base (that may just be a flat panel with no other detail). Some form of lining around the internal faces will be necessary to hold the tray at the correct level although, at this moment, I’m unsure of what species to use…

The same can be said for the try itself.

I’m thinking that they should be ‘lighter’ rather than dark, to blend in with the main timbers here. I do have some nice sycamore bits lying around but, I fear that may be too pale. Oak’s an old favourite to consider. Could I get away with walnut linings, continuing directly from the base?

A common feature of boxes like this is to line them with felt or another soft fabric. That has its advantages but, I’d like to make these from solid wood and, to be able to show it all off.

I aim to start roughing out some components within the next seven-days. If I can, I’ll try to add some variations to my second box. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

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