The Phoenixtail aspen boxes

A gift for my wife

Since this was a lot of firsts for me and the box actually turned out pretty good, I decided that I should gift it to my wife for Christmas. That box has a lot of “firsts” for me and I have spent a lot of time on it.

  • First time doing 3 dovetails and very narrow pins
  • First time bookmatching
  • First time making a box with hinged lid
  • First time doing a raised panel
  • First time using the plough plane for a bottom / lid panel dado
  • First time using beeswax
  • First time installing hinges

This box represent me as a woodworker and the level of skill I have at this point in my life. I will improve with time, and the next box will be a lot better than this one. But it is the best I could do. Sort of like the drawings and things our children produce. Sure, the Christmas tree looks more like an oak leaf, but it is the best my oldest daughter can do at age 5 (and to be frank, she’s about to surpass my apogee in Christmas tree art!). The blob of clay resembles a snow man of sorts, but she’s just 3 years old. It is actually rather impressive knowing that fact. So I’ll call the drawing, the snow man and my box what they really are: they are perfect! Read that article next, it is rather good if I can say so myself.

After I polished the box, I gift-wrapped it and put in a small box filled with hard candy and chocolate. I need to throw her off the trail to keep the secret until she unwraps it. She loves to smell, shake and examine gifts to try to guess what’s inside.😍 Keeping the Christmas spirit alive at 40+! I am truly blessed!

I made a gift tag from some quartersawn oak, and the present was snuck under the tree.

Here’s a slideshow of the box:

The gift was well received, and I am proud of the result. No doubt I will improve over time, but for so many firsts – I think I’ve done rather well.

Lastly, I did a small modification to the first box. I got hold of a Lie-Nielsen No.66 beading tool (the link takes you to the review), and I made a bead around the outside of the box as a test. It came out great! The next time I’ll hide the lid seam in one of the grooves.

This was my first real dive down the dovetail rabbit hole, and I’m never coming back up! I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me. It sure has been a fun project, and I’ve learned a lot. And that is the most important thing: learning by doing. I have all the theory I need, now it is just to put that into practice!

Besides – the burn pile should always be scrutinized for feathers…

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