This project was a request from a custom that wanted something to be able to gift to his wife for Valentine’s Day 2021. He gave me the rough dimensions of 10″ x 7″ x 5″. He also specifically requested dark walnut. Lastly, He explained that he wanted a message CNC engraved on the front with his wife’s name inside of a heart shape. I quickly designed a concept and sent to him for review. He accepted and approved for me to proceed with the design concept I made.
I first started working on the box. I didn’t want the sides of the box to be super thick. I started with 4/4 rough sawn dark walnut stock. My band saw re-saw blade is pretty dull so re-sawing down to a smaller thickness wasn’t going to work on the band saw. So, I decided to re-saw on the table saw. I began by skip planing the pieces of stock. Skip planing means running a single light pass through the planer, flipping the material over, and repeating. This will at least get a smoothed and planed surface from the planer that will allow me to glide the material across the table saw top. After the sides were smoothed, I jointed one edge on the jointer and then headed to the table saw.
At the table saw, I set the blade height as high as it would go. Even with the blade fully raise, it would not even reach the halfway point. However, I proceeded to re-saw the walnut on one edge, flip the stock, and run it again, I then trimmed the missed center section out of the middle of the stock by lowering the blade on my table saw. Once I had the material roughly re-sawn, I headed back to the planer to plane the material down to it’s final thickness.
The next step in this process was to cut the mitered corners of each of the front/back and side pieces. I did this by using my large cross-cut sled on my table saw, ensuring the blade was set exactly to 45-degree in relation to my cast iron top. I ensured an exact angle using my angle gauge. I cut each end of each piece to a 45-degree angle and to the correct widths and lengths I needed. I also cut the bottom edges of the pieces with a 45-degree miter, so they would accept the bottom piece.
The bottom piece of the box received 45-degree mitered cuts on all 4 edges. This marries with the vertical front/back and side pieces during assembly.
Once all of the pieces were cut to final dimensions, I pre-sanded each component of the box. They are easier to sand as individual pieces and before assembly rather than once the box is glued up.
For the glue up, I put some pieces of blue painter’s tape along each miter joint on the back sides. Then I added some wood glue in each joint, folded the pieces up in a circular fashion, and added some clamps. I used my strap clamp for this, which seemed to help a lot. I added the bottom pieces to the box with wood glue and added a bunch of weight on top to act as a downward pressure clamp.
Once all glue had dried I engraved the message on the front of the box and added some Tung Oil. After it dried I delivered the project to the custom. He added some flowers and money, and gave it to his wife for Valentine’s Day.