Project Box: Fit and Finish

Published Monday, July 22, 2019 by Bryan

The inside of this box is about 36 x 12 x 3 inches - not something that could just sit on a table for decoration. It was built for a purpose: carrying equipment. Let's talk about how I prepared it to do that.

I wanted the items in this box to be held securely, so they wouldn't rattle around and bump into each other. I decided to cut profiles of each piece into ribs that span the width. That process was: dry fitting, tracing profiles, roughing in with a coping saw, and then refining the fit with a file. The result was a framework custom fit to the intended contents.

I also added a handle and lockable latches, to cover "held securely" from another perspective.

With that, construction was complete. On to finishing! First, a bit of art, and your first real clue to the box's purpose. A tip: many corporations publish a "press kit" on their website, that includes scalable versions of their logo. I found the logo I wanted, and printed a letter-paper size copy. I used a DIY carbon paper technique to transfer it to my lid: shade the back of the paper with pencil, secure it to the lid, then trace over the image with a pen.

The logo is often used in yellow and blue, like the Swedish flag it represents. My wood is going to have a yellow tone to it, so I selected a dark blue paint for my work. I'm not a freehand painter, and I probably should have chosen to cut a stencil instead, but sometimes you have to experiment anyway.

I wanted a finish that was easy to apply, and would offer a fair amount of protection. This box won't see harsh conditions, but it will get knocked around a little, loading and unloading. I just happened to have some spray-on Minwax Helmsman, so that's what I used. I covered the hardware with gaffers tape, so I could focus on spraying evenly, without worry about urethane seizing my hinges.

I propped the box on a tripod and applied two coats.

Once the finish dried, my only remaining task was fixing suede strips to the contact points on the supports. With those in place, my box was complete.

I've now used this box to carry my shotgun to the range several times, and it has worked quite well. The handle is a little narrow for the weight, and the weight is a little unbalanced, but on the whole, the box has served its purpose. It also stores well, sliding unobtrusively into a corner, efficiently using space. And, it provided a great platform for practice and experimentation with some techniques I plan to use in my next big project.

Categories: Woodworking