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Thread: Music/Jewellery Box made from Cherry and Walnut

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

    Music/Jewellery Box made from Cherry and Walnut

    (part 1 of 4)

    Today is my oldest (living) grandchild's 10th birthday and I made her (Isla) something special to mark the event.

    The item is a small jewellery box that contains a music-making mechanism made in Switzerland. The music that is played is 22 notes from Lara's Theme.

    I will describe the making of this box using extracts from my weekly journal.

    2009, Nov 29:

    I started another project this week. This time it's a small music/jewellery box for Isla's birthday in January and the plans come from the same issue of Wood magazine as the table that I am making for Margaret. Here is a picture from the magazine: Attachment 41508

    The box in the magazine is made from mahogany and maple. I am making it from cherry and walnut. The actual music making mechanism suggested in the magazine is one from Rockler costing about $20 and made in China. A couple of months ago, I ordered two different mechanisms costing about $100 each and made in Switzerland. They both play Lara's Theme. I will use the better sounding one in the box.

    Dec 13, 2009:

    I carried on working with the jewellery/music box this week. The one that I am working on right now will most likely just be a prototype that I will not give to anybody and that, in the end, will not have any music mechanism permanently installed. I decided to try inserting small dowels into the two 45 degree mitered corners at the front of the box. This is not something supported by the Dowelmax jig parts, so I made an extension to the jig out of plywood to enable drilling into the facing faces of a 45 degree joint:
    Attachment 41503 Attachment 41504

    Next, I sanded and polished the interior sides of the box pieces up to 4000 grit: Attachment 41505

    The next step was to route an indent in the front side exterior for the lid latch to fit into when shut: Attachment 41506

    I used the template in the foreground to set the stop locks on the router table. The reason for all this is that the notch only goes part way through the front side.

    Now it was time to glue-up the basic box: Attachment 41507
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 2 of 4)

    2009, Dec 20:

    I continued work on the music/jewellery box. First, I made a jig to cut slots for two splines across each corner of the box. The plans called for splines 1/8 inch in thickness, but I decided to make them 1/4 inch.
    Attachment 41509 Attachment 41510 Attachment 41511

    I did not bother to sand the sides any further than 8 grit, because they were about to be beveled at 6 degrees. Before doing this, I cut 4 small feet out of a slice of walnut. This time I used my small bandsaw: Attachment 41512

    Now it was time to cut the bevels:
    Attachment 41513 Attachment 41514 Attachment 41515 Attachment 41516

    I screwed up! The dowels that I had inserted on the faces of the 45 degree joints to assist positioning during the glue-up were now revealed. What to do?

    I drilled some larger holes, made a few short dowels out of some walnut, glued them into the holes, and sanded and polished all the sides up to 4000 grit.
    Attachment 41517

    It creates a strange pattern on the two front corners which I don't like but which Margaret says she likes. I might give the box looking like this to Isla or I might try to make another. Her birthday is not until January 18, so I put the box aside for a while and I will make the decision early in the new year.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 01-18-2010 at 04:49 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 3 of 4)

    2010, Jan 17:

    Since Isla's birthday is tomorrow, I got back to her jewellery/music box this week. When I last reported about this project on December, I had just compensated for a big mistake and was contemplating starting a brand new box for Isla. Well, I never got around to it, so the box she is getting is the one with the mistakes.

    The next step was to attach a lid. This entailed cutting notches for some fancy box lid stop hinges (part number 01B03.02 at Lee Valley). The magazine plans showed a technique for cutting the notches with a router but, with my routing skills, that seemed somewhat risky. So, I opted for the tried a true method for makes hinge notches with saws, chisels, and wood files:
    Attachment 41518 Attachment 41519

    I did a good job on the notches, but not such a good job screwing in the hinges. They screws supplied with the hinges were quite week and, although I had drilled a small pilot hole, one of them broke off:
    Attachment 41520

    This breakage resulted from two different factors. First of all, the #3 brass screws that came with the hinges seem to be very weak. Secondly, although I predrilled a hole for the screw, there was still pressure on it to cut the threads in the hard Cherry wood.

    I went back to Lee Valley and purchased some #4 brass screws that appear to be of better quality than the screws that came with the hinges. The screws that came with the hinges were to long for the lid anyway, so I would have needed some different screws anyway. I selected 3/4 inch screws to use in the box and 3/8 inch screws to use in the lid. Then, I drilled out the broken screw and glued a piece of very narrow maple dowel into the hole:
    Attachment 41521 Attachment 41522

    Before using the new brass screws in the hinges, I first screwed in then screwed out a #4 steel screw: Attachment 41523

    Before drilling holes in the box for the music mechanism, I made a small template out of thick paper:
    Attachment 41524 Attachment 41525

    A small box within a box was made to protect the music mechanism. The box was made of 3/8 inch Cherry with a Plexiglas top. A small notch was cut in the side of the box to accommodate the wire used to start and stop the flywheel that, in turn, starts and stops the cylinder used to make the music. I marvel over the Swiss-made mechanism.
    Attachment 41526 Attachment 41527

    Finally, the box was waxed with Talk Orange Wax which is a combination of beeswax carnauba wax and orange oil.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 01-18-2010 at 05:05 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    (part 4 of 4)

    Below are a few photos of the finished box.

    Interior: Attachment 41528

    Front: Attachment 41529

    Back: Attachment 41530

    Side: Attachment 41531

    Bottom: Attachment 41532

    (I have got to get better at this branding business )
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 01-18-2010 at 05:08 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    very, very pretty, she is gonna love it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Great project Frank nice post too. I dont see anything wrong with your branding. Looked pretty clear to me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Very Nice!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Last edited by John Bartley; 12-02-2010 at 01:30 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great job Frank, and a couple of nice recoveries in there as well.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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