2015-08-22 - A Four-Holer

Someone I know likes Jaegermeister, so it only seemed fitting to try and make a box to hold a few Jaegermeister shot glasses. I was able to order a set of four of them from eBay. Once I got them I was able to start planning.

I was going to just make a square-ish box, but that didn't leave enough room between the holes and between the holes and the sides of the box without making the sides overly thick. I decided to go for a diamond-shaped box which allowed for a bit more wiggle room.

Plan A is in the picture above. Alternating layers of oak and walnut. It seemed simple enough, but the almost finished product ended up being a bit too short. I was going to drill the holes in the body and in the lid with Forstner bits. They drill very nice holes, but the tip of the bit sticks out a small amount further, and cuts a bit deeper than the main hole that the bit makes. I designed for a bit more than 1/8". After I got the bit I needed it turned out the tip was closer to 1/4". Had I made the holes tall enough the tips of the bit would have poked all of the way through. Maybe I can find some shorter shot glasses for that box and finish it.

Above is Plan B. Just that little bit more wood was plenty...had I been building the box for a different glass. The layers of wood in this plan were oak, walnut, narra, walnut, narra, walnut, and oak.

It sure looks tall enough, doesn't it??

That looks like a part form the Superconducting Super Collider. Getting six layers of wood covered in glue to sit still while you put clamps on them is no easy feat. It took quite a bit of time to get and keep everything aligned while tightening everything up. Everything was covered in glue, but that only means that everything is going to look great after the belt sander gets done with it.

2015-08-23 - Here We Go

You can't just go to the store and buy Forstner bits like the ones below. Most places -- all of them around these parts -- don't carry these 'off' sizes. The glasses are slightly tapered, hence the two sizes.

Whoa! This is WAY easier than cutting the holes first, gluing the layers together, then having to sand down the walls to make the insides of the holes nice. This took seconds.

So you can see in the holes the extral little dip that the point of the drill bit leaves. You have to stop early enough so that that tip doesn't go through the top or the bottom of the box. I made the holes as deep as I dared, but that wasn't enough to make the holes tall enough for the glass, plus a bit of foam in the bottom, and plus a bit of felt in the top. Maybe if I had double dared.

2015-09-15 - That WAS Quick

Once I figured out the box wasn't going to be tall enough for a finished product I just spiffied it up a bit with the router, put the body magnets in, glued a bit of felt to the bottom and gave it a coating of mineral oil just to see what a real version would look like. Lessons learned. Nice prototype. This one took a few weeks, because I had to order the bits, but this type of box could be done in about three evenings of work.

2015-10-17 - Round 2 - No More Practicing

I decided to -- presumably -- get my crap together and take another stab at this box. While the glasses look round they really aren't. A couple of them are slightly out of round at the top end and that made the 1-3/4" holes in the lid of the first box a bit too small. When you removed the lid the glasses would try to come with it. I had to order a 1-13/16" drill bit. I also didn't have enough of anything very exciting to make the next box out of, so I had to make a trip to Albuquerque.

I bought a few bits of wood up at Albuquerque Exotic Woods last weekend and thought I had everything I'd need to make a nice tall box this time. You can see a white slab of maple under the walnut above. I was going to make the top and bottom layers out of it. Once I got it planed to about an inch it turned out that it had too many cracks along the grain. I could only get one piece cut out of it that I was fairly certain wouldn't crack any more. I was going to use it for a single layer in the middle, but at the last second decided to change the whole lay(er)out.

The layer order for this box is 3/4" oak, 1/2" walnut, 1/4" yellow heart (a wood from Brazil), 3/4" oak then back through yellow heart, walnut, and oak. 4" total and almost 1/2" more than the first box. I decided to make the top two layers thick; an oak and a walnut layer. This means that the holes in the top can be deeper, so more of the top of the glasses will be exposed. There was only about 1/2" of the tops of the glasses sticking out in the first box when the lid was removed. It made grabbing a glass a little difficult, especially after you've...dirtied...the first three and are going back for the last one.

I got a little smarter this time around and used some scraps of wood and a clamp to help corral the slipery layers of wood of the bottom section while I got the rest of the clamps on. It worked OK, but now I can see at least one use for a big wooden vice that you usually see on woodworking benches. The yellow heart should make a nice top layer for the bottom section. I've never worked with it before, so we'll see.

Got the bottom five layers and the top two layers all set up for drying. I still need to get a few more clamps. Tomorrow I should be able to affix the pattern to the top and bottom (am trying leaving them off this time just to be different) and drill a few holes.

2015-10-19 - This Is Going TOO Fast

Building boxes this way really does go quickly. It's kinda hard to believe. Once you have the depth of the drill press set it just takes minutes to drill all of the holes.

Much better. The hole for the lid holes will be 1-13/16". The glasses would have to be practically oval to not fit.

Getting the finishing steps of the box done is always a bit of a dance. You can't finish the outside of the box until you get the rod magnets in so everything is aligned, but then can't do the top surface routering and sanding with the magnets in place. So for this box I had some 1/4" dowel that I cut to match the magnets which, with a little paper wrapped around them, wedged into the holes.

Now all I had to do was grind off the outer surface down to the solid red line. I did a little too good of a job on the scroll saw. I could have cut closer to the line leaving less to sand off.

The fake magnets got the outside done using my favorite belt sander.

Since they were removable they could be gotten out of the way so the surfaces of the top and bottom sections could be finished.

I'm not wild about the color scheme of this box, but there you go.

The magnets for this project were my usual 1/4" diameter by 3/4" long rod, but then I used a 3/8" square by 1/16" thick magnet in the lid. The attraction needed to be a bit stronger for this box than the usual 1/16" thick magnet I usually use would give since the whole thing was heavier, and I was trying out hiding the magnets in the lid so you could not see them in the holes that the rods stuck into. That meant that there would be some space between them and they needed to be stronger. On the other boxes the magnets were allowed to touch.

The magic Dremel tool, cutting bit, and the little work table I built, again, just happened to cut the slot for the magnet at the right height.

Used a glass to mark and cut pieces of felt for the lid holes. Made sense since the holes were the right diameter for the tops of the glasses.

Didn't really have anything for the waffers of rubber in the bottom of the holes, but I happened to find that the diameter of one of the red connector covers that go on the ends of one of our equipment cables at work was pretty close.

Before this I had never worked with that yellow heart wood. It's nice. I like it. It's easy to work with and looks good. After the top was sanded it practically shined.

It really is yellow.

So that was it for the evening. I got the magnet holes filled with sawdust and glue and had one more bit to do.

2015-10-20 - All Done.

Finished sanding off the excess glue and threw a little mineral oil on the lid. Pieces of wood with a lot of...character...look good on paper, but don't end up looking so good on the side of a box. The piece of walnut I had was dark down the middle, but light colored along the edges. That made for a bit of fun when it came time try and match the color of the filler to the color of that section of wood. You can see above that I just gave up. I'll just have to buy better wood next time and try to get pieces that are a more uniform color.

The three glasses were reunited with their fourth brother in Arizona the same day I finished everything. I did the final sanding and oiling during lunch at work.

This project turned out OK. I would have liked to have had a slightly better color layout of the layers of wood. More like the first version would have been better. The whole box could have been about 1/4" shorter, but then that would have required re-jiggling all of the layers. I'm not sure why I had so much trouble getting the height right on these two boxes. I guess I was just excited. The magnet strength turned out pretty close to just right. You can pick up the box by the lid with all four glasses in it, but it's pretty close to coming apart. A little stronger would have been better. Now I know.