Shaker boxes

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This is my latest project, I have been working on this for a while, gradually putting together all the elements of which there are many. To make a single box you will need: two finger templates with holes, elipse template, drill jig, anvil, trough for boiling the sides, elipse former, and two shapers to hold the shape of the box whilst it dries.
I have always really liked the no 1 sized box ( it’s the small box ) so I decided to make a slimline set of boxes instead of each larger box being higher than the previous. I have always believed detail is important, I believe it is what makes some objects really special and beautiful. For this reason I decided each of the three boxes should still maintain the different finger lengths, as opposed to just using the finger layout for the small box, which would have been easier. Because the boxes are all thinline the finger lengths get longer but are being squashed, in effect. I basically spent a considerable time with some french curves and my drawing board. It took a few attempts until I was happy. The top and bottoms are made from a particularly unusual floorboard. Normally, old pine floorboards are through sawn but I noticed this single board was slow grown perfectly quarter sawn and straight grained so I grabbed it. It remained perfectly flat, even after ripping it into two thin boards, perfectly stable wood. The colour is exquisite; the original boxes generally had pine tops and bottoms, eastern white pine most commonly. I have been paying particular attention to finishing for the last year or so, it’s a really important part of woodwork and I wasn’t happy with some of my finishing previously. I went back to an old favourite, I finished the boxes with blonde shellac which I mixed myself from flakes. There is a small saving using flake shellac and alcohol. I brushed on two thin coats with a goat hair hake brush. I denibbed very lightly between coats with 320 grit stearated abrasive; if the wood is properly prepped, shellac is easy and quick to use. Finally I used a regular beeswax based wax with 800 grit abrasive pad to give a satin sheen. The pictures don’t do the boxes justice, they are incredibly tactile, “like silk” is how they have been described and the cherry bands shine like candy which has been stretched repeatedly. I am very happy with my results and I have proven to myself that shellac is still a viable, hugely versatile finish. I will definitely be keeping shellac as one of my go to finishing products, it dries fast, it’s sanding sealer, sealer, toner, and finish, satin to piano shine, in one product, amazing.
I have another set of sides finished, I am waiting for a beautiful piece of timber to come my way for the tops and bottoms. Obviously now I have the templates etc it’s possible to make more boxes. Incidentally, the dovetailed shaker style candle box has a wiped varnish finish, it took for ever.


Exquisite! They look incredible! :slight_smile:

so smooth looking!

They look so good against the red vinyl. :+1:

What was traditionally stored in these types of boxes?

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All kinds of things, I have not heard of any special use. My dad used to have one on his desk for stamps.

Looks really good man well done