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Wally's Payment Box

author-gravatar blucz Jul 27, 2016

Wally is our dog. Every night before bed he gets a Dental Chew and a Bully Stick. We call it his payment. Since he receives his payment in our bedroom, I decided to get the nasty dog-treat packaging out of sight and make a nice box for it. 

If I don't include a picture of the dog, some of you will ask. Waldo, meet everyone. Everyone, meet Waldo.

Like most boxes, this one started with a makeshift mockup. I obtained examples of the two dog treats 

Over a year ago, I picked up a bunch of rift-sawn White Oak shorts for like $5. I generally dislike Oak, and especially hate ray flecks, but this stuff isn't too bad. I use it for boxes.

Resawed that piece to make two. These will become the box sides once I trim off that sapwood.

Ok, it's closer to quartersawn, but still no ray flecks, so we're ahead, right? This one is going to be the bottom panel, since it has that slightly unsightly jog in the grain pattern.

All pieces cut up. Time to do the real stuff now.

This box is going to be rabbeted, not dovetailed as per usual. why? Because I felt like it, damnit. Still going to do it by hand, though.

I started by breaking out this great little sticking board to cut grooves in the bottom.

...A few minutes later, there are grooves.

I formed the rabbets with a carcass saw and a chisel. I am too much of a chicken to use my rabbet plane for this. Maybe one day.

This one didn't fit too great...

You can see why. I moved the baseline back, shrunk the box by 1/32" and moved on.

The bottom is going to be a quick raised panel. I scribed out the panel shape.

Then used this lovely MF#9 to form the panel. Paul Sellers has a great video on this that removes all fear.

Nice test fit. I can already tell that keeping this box square during the glue-up will be a chore. Rabbets are not dovetails. 

One last check with the dog treats. looking good!

Making a little dado for the divider. I love making dadoes by hand so much that I have (honestly!) never made a dado with a power tool in my life. White Oak is a delight to work like this.

Really nice fit. 

Before the glue-up, I did a little rehearsal and made sure that I could get it square. This little 4" square was a big help--couldn't have fit a 6" in there.

I usually use my most finely tuned smoother for boxes, but Rift White Oak is about as easy as it gets, so this plane was more than sufficient, while being lighter and easier to push. 

All ready for the glue-up. 

It took longer than it should have to get *everything* square, but in the end I got it all worked out. That's important, because the lid design won't be friendly to an unsquare box.

Before I go there, I'll flush up the rabbets. I really like the clean/modern look here.

This scrap of quartersawn Walnut will be the lid. At first I was contemplating doing a single piece lid...

But I ended up chickening out and making it a 2-piece. 

I used a table saw to inch up on a taper and make a perfect fit. Sorry purists.

Then I used this shoulder plane to smooth all of the little surfaces, cutting myself about 40 times in the process on the little bit of blade that hangs out on the other side. I'm stupid at shoulder planes.

After a bunch of tiny adjustments, I had the reveals in a satisfactory state.

I wanted to finish this project with shellac for food-safety. Initially I intended to spray shellac on the inside and finish the outside by hand...but laziness prevailed and I ended up using the spray shellac on the whole thing.

I've used a few different pre filling methods before, but I've been meaning to try out TimberMate forever. White Oak is a nice test species for this sort of thing, so I ordered some. I did the Walnut, too. The Oak came out nice, but there are quicker ways to pore-fill Walnut.

Finally, I turned some little pulls from Wenge scraps. This one wasn't a keeper, but it's the clearest photograph. I made 5-6 of them and picked the best two.

Everything's happening in parallel of I'm trying out the appearance of one pull on a finished Walnut lid next to the Oak box with pore filler but no finish on it.    

This was a fun little project. I love Walnut+Rift White Oak as a pair. 

Thanks for reading!


Super nice box. I like the simplicity of it.

That is a great looking box, I really like the design. Simple, clean, and elegant.

I think I'm going to have to copy that sticking board, it looks like a treat to use.

Woah, I didn't notice that. Does look awesome.

@Timmy2Hands  said:

That is a great looking box, I really like the design. Simple, clean, and elegant.

I think I'm going to have to copy that sticking board, it looks like a treat to use.


The sticking board is based on these plans:

Every once in a while a screw catches weak grain and ends up riving the workpiece. At some point I'm going to figure out how to replace the screws with some sort of adjustable wooden stop that can hold the end of the board more gently. Other than that, it's pretty awesome. I use it just about every time I make a box or drawer.

I'm a big fan of the taper on the raised portion on the lids. I'm so used to seeing 90 degree edges on these types that it seems stupid not to add the tapers to increase the correct placement on the lid. Great work Brian, good to see you're human like the rest of us.

Looks great, I'll be doing a similar one for my puppy as well now. Quick question, you mentioned pre-filling? I'm going to be using Red Oak for an upcoming project. That's to fill the pores? I'm a new so haven't had to do much staining on a larger scale, so does this do a similar thing as that Pre-Stain stuff sold my miniwax? 

Pore-filling isn't strictly necessary, it just helps you get a smoother finish. It literally fills the deep pores in the oak with material so that there aren't pits in the surface anymore. It's not the same as pre-stain conditioner (which is usually used for blotch-prone species like Pine, Maple, or Cherry--and not too necessary on something that's already really stain-friendly like Red Oak).

If you're going to put a film finish, especially one with any gloss to it, on top of a porous species like Oak, pore-filling is almost a requirement to get a nice result. If you're using an "in the wood" finish like an oil or oil/varnish blend, I generally would not pore fill. There are plenty of ways to pore fill--Timbermate is good for really large-pored species like Oak. On finer-pored stuff, a thick coat of shellac sanded back works well. Or shellac + pumice, or even just wet-sanded BLO for fine-pored species like Cherry or Maple.

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