My first box! (and a quick question)

(Rob Robinson) #1

Inspired by John Clark’s awesome YouTube trilogy, I wanted to design a box for my best pal who is a DM. I had some errors (bit slipped out of collet… twice. yikes) so it took a little longer than expected after recarving a new top, so I didn’t get to do any artwork engraving before calling it quits at 3:30 am…

anyhow, first time designing a box, and working with walnut. (my first few projects have all been MDF sign).

oh- the question! the banding stripes- is that due to poor tramming?

thanks y’all! love it here.


(Stuart) #2

Damn that looks good! how is the fit on the lid? my first few boxes were a bit loose fitting, yours looks great!

To answer your question, yep those lines are tramming related. check out This Video

I’d suggest tramming the machine as well as you can, then skim your wasteboard, then tram again, it’s definitely something worth spending time on. if you get it good enough you hardly need to sand the job when its done


(Rob Robinson) #3

Thanks Stuart! Fit’s got a wee bit of play, but it is “good enough” with the magnets. Will try to see if the next one can get snugger.

re: tramming
I have a dial indicator, feeler gauge, and a fifth of jack Daniels enroute this weekend :smiley:


(Rob Robinson) #4

also, I’ve never been to a real wood dealer before, so of course I grabbed all the wrong things once I had a project in mind. If I were to re carve this design, I’d like to use 1/2" walnut for the top to give it a lower profile.

oh well, an excuse to go back to the wood store. darn.


(William Adams) #5

Rather than buying thinner wood, one alternate is to re-saw thicker stock into thinner — it’s a bit of work if one doesn’t have a bandsaw or suitable blade on a table saw, but affords one a flexibility in using wood which can be far more effective in one’s purchasing.


(Dan Nelson) #6

I did a similar box a few years ago, and I can honestly say it’s hard to get “just right”. I didn’t do a directional lid like yours with the magnets, so getting it to be round, and without steps regardless of how the lid is placed takes very careful final sanding and fitting, unless you just get crazy lucky. I know, CNC, should come out perfect, but reality is it comes out “close” and still needs a tiny bit of handiwork. Some of those burn marks around the edges can also be running out of cutting edge and the smooth shank of the end mill rubbing in a tight profile, especially at plunges and tabs. Some of that may be reduced by cutting the outer profile as a pocket and creeping up on a finish pass. Get all that excess wood out of the way first, then do a deep final cut.



(Casey) #7

My current learning project is a pine box out of scrap 1x.

Are your marks from tramming high enough to feel? Or just see?

( I see marks at the bottom of my pockets, but they feel smooth to the fingers. And I have only trammed so far using an eyeball and a laser level…So was trying to gauge how much jack daniels I need to buy for when I will try tramming. :slight_smile: )


(Guy Donham) #8

Since you put the magnets on I would not make the box too tight. The wood will change size depending on the environment. Most homes have about 50% relative humidity with conditioned air. But where the box will live make be different. If you do not have the magnets then I would get a good friction fit at first because as time goes by it will get looser. Just do not make it so tight that the contents of the box goes flying while trying to open the box. The purpose of these types of boxes are to hold trinkets. Maybe valuable and maybe just junk. The box will sit on a table top or maybe in a drawer so keep in mind the purpose of the object you make. Walnut always looks good especially when you put some oil or other finish on it. I love contrasting wood and maple and walnut look very good together and is readily available. If you use tropical hardwoods be careful with the dust. Some people are allergic to the dust and some develop allergies. If you use exotics be sure to dust your self off before going into your home. You could make others in the house have reactions to your exotic dust.

Hopefully when you complete milling a project you do not want to do a lot of sanding but sometimes sanding can save your project.


(Mad Hatter) #9

If you use tropical hardwoods be careful with the dust. Some people are allergic to the dust and some develop allergies.

And that right there is why I haven’t cut anything on my SO3 since January 2018. I used a shop vac for dust collection and it failed miserably. My whole shop was coated in a fine dusting of padauk, wenge, katalox, leopardwood, chechen, zebra wood, purple heart and chakte viga. After working with those woods for over a year, I started to get a rash from the dust and feel ill when working in my shop for too long.

Stopped cutting and started working on getting a real dust collector setup. Life got in the way a few times, but I’m 98% done with my new setup. I just need to get the MERV 15 filter installed. Then I can reroute the exhaust back into my shop. Right now it goes through a dust deputy then outside. In the winter it will take about 5 seconds to remove all of the heat from my shop without returning the air.


(Luc) #10

I also live in a cold climate and would be interested in your design. Maybe you could discuss the design in a separate thread.

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(Guy Donham) #11

You cannot put a price on your health, but many do with cheap ineffective solutions. If you are going to make wood working a long term hobby you need to make dust collection a priority. Those little shop vacs just will not cut it. You need a good filter. I have a Jet 1.5 HP dust collector (DC) with a canister filter. I have used it for years and it is effective but needed improvement. I added a cyclone separator to trap more fine dust before it reaches the canister. If I had to buy a new system I would most likely buy an Oneida cyclone dust collector. The 1.5 HP Portable Mini Gorilla would fit the bill in most shops that are hobbyist level. So it is false economy to not address dust collection in your shop or suffer untold misery later in life. It is like smoking cigarettes, you know it is bad buy you keep doing it until you cough up a lung, then it is too late. I also have a Jet Air cleaner that collects airborne particles and keeps me from breathing what escapes you main dust collector. Some operations are not dust collector friendly like final hand sanding. The Air Cleaner gets what is left in the air and keeps me feeling better.


(Rob Robinson) #12

Can’t stop!


(Guy Donham) #13

What is the liner in the box. I have a lot of PSA Velvet I use for jewelry boxes and I have about 25 3x5 boxes I need to put liners in. Did you cut it and paste it in or did you use PSA type liner?


(William Adams) #14

For lining, one nice options is flocking:


(Guy Donham) #15

I have seen the flockit kits for years but was worried that you would get a lot of loose material that would come off. My understanding of flockit is you spread glue where you want the “velvet” then use a small pump to spray the flocking, let it dry and then remove any loose flocking. Most jewelry boxes I make have a removable bottom. I make my box and then rabbet a 1/2 inch x 1/4" deep rabbet. I apply the PSA velvet to the plywood bottom and trim and then drill the bottom for flat head screws. This way there is a 1/2" of velvet that is covered by the rabbet and the bottom is completely covered. If the lining ever gets damaged or someone wants to change the color they just unscrew the bottom and replace the lining. Before I started using this method I would make a grove and capture the bottom in the box. Then I had to cut the PSA velvet perfectly and try to get it pasted in perfectly. Unfortunately the PSA velvet is kind of like contact paper, once it touches that is it.

Now these little boxes do not have a removable bottom so I was going to make a platen on which to cut out the lining and then try and paste it in.

I will look at the flockit but as stated above am wary of the fallout (loose flock).

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(William Adams) #16

The material seems to stay in place pretty well, so long as one doesn’t chip/damage the underlying material.


(Rob Robinson) #17

flocking is something I wanna try, maybe when I do something with odd sized compartments.

but for basic flat bottom stuff like the one I posted above, I’ve just been roughing in sheets of this stuff with a good paper cutter then trimming to fit with an xacto.

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