At the beginning of October, I created a box whose design I absolutely adored. The proportions, the grain, the style… everything. It was also a fun box to build and simple in some regards, but quite challenging in others. I proudly showed my latest and greatest creation around and decided to go forward and begin producing them in quantities.
I started by analyzing the prototype and seeing what, if any changes were needed. A thicker lid reduced the chances of drilling through the top when installing the hinges. And routing, instead of drilling out the inside, created a more practical compartment.
To facilitate production, I started by building a jig which would allow me to hollow out the boxes accurately and efficiently. I also made a drilling jig which ensured that the holes drilled for the pin hinges were evenly spaced, which is crucial to their operation. And I also made a set of bevels (think sliding bevel, only fixed) to help lay out the carved lid. I also mortised a piece of plywood to hold a lid blank for carving without any clamps.
These four aids did help speed things along, but there is still an awful lot of handwork involved. The outside of the box is shaped by hand, the lid carved and everything sanded. Then I sprayed on three coats of semi-gloss lacquer, applied black flocking to the inside, and buffed the lid. Finally, I installed the pin hinges. Boy, that process sounds a lot quicker than it actually is!