The Dale Maley Family Web Site

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Wedding Wine Box

My daughter asked me to make her a wooden box for her wedding.  At the wedding ceremony, the couple each put their love letters to each other in the box, along with a bottle of wine. One or ten years later, they open the box...read their love letters......and drink the bottle of wine.

You can buy these wedding wine boxes at Etsy.com. Some examples include...

 

 

 

 Wood Selection

My daughter requested her wine box be made from cherry wood.  I usually buy my wood from Rockler.com, but I noticed the company I have bought scroll saw patterns also carries cherry. This is Scrolleronline.com.

I ordered 1/2" thick cherry, so I could plane it down to 3/8" for the wine box.  Unfortunately, they shipped me 1/4" thick cherry.  I called them and they then sent me the correct 1/2" thick cherry.

 

Box Design

 I checked the dimensions of other wine wedding boxes online for sale. I also measured an actual 750 ML standard wine bottle. Based upon this information, I designed the wine box in Google Sketchup using 3/8" wall thickness.

 

 

 I decided to use simple 45 degree miter joints for the box sides as shown in the Sketchup diagram above.

 

Hardware Design

 I found hinges, the lock, and a cute little padlock at my local Ace Hardware store........

 

 

Trial Box Made from Common Pine

 Since it has been a few years since I have made this style of box, I decided to make a trial box using common pine. 

I first planed down 3/4" pine to 3/8" thickness. Then I set the table saw to 45 degrees. My brother-in-law gave me an electronic angle finder for last Christmas, so I used it to verify the blade was really 45 degrees from the table...

 

 44.95 degrees is close enough 

I made sure each pair of sides (front-back, RH side and LH side) were exactly the same length after the 45 degree miter was cut.......

 

Lesson Learned

 You will get some tear-out when you cut the 45 degree miters. It is better to leave the sides slightly wider than the finished dimension..........then run all 4 boards through the table saw after mitering.........which removes the tear-out and gives you exactly the same height on all sides. Make the height about 1/8" higher than the finished dimension, to account for the loss of height from the saw blade thickness......when you cut the top of the box later.

I use the string and nail method to clamp the 4 sides while I glued them up.

 

 I then glued and clamped the top and bottom to the sides. I made the top and bottoms slightly wider and longer than the finished dimensions.............so I could use the router to make them perfectly flush..

 

 Next was to the router to make the top and bottom pieces flush to the sides.

Lesson Learned

 My router bit will only take about a 3/8" thickness max due to the length of the cutter. This works ok on this box, but will not work on boxes with more than a 3/8" wall thickness.

 

 This router method really worked nicely!!

Solved Chronic Router Height Adjustment Problem

 Old Sears routers used a thumb-screw to tighten up around the cylindrical router base.........when making height adjustments.  The thumb-screw strips out easily.  I converted my router to a bolt, then made a stop. The stop is a piece of drilled and tapped 3/16" thick steel.  This works very well........

 

 

 

 

 Then I used a 1/8" round-over bit on all outside edges......

 

 Next was to run the box through the table saw to separate the top from the bottom......

 

 Here is the finished box with the hardware installed. I used the drill press to drill the holes for the hardware..........

 

 

 

 Lettering

 I have terrible handwriting, so freehand lettering was not an option on this project.

I found that Sears has a lettering kit where you use the router and a template to make neat looking signs...

 

 

 On the first attempt at using the sign kit, I set the depth too deep on the router bit.  It tore out some of the thin cross-sections. I re-adjusted the bit depth so only the radius on the end of the bit was cutting the wood. This turned out nicely. The kit has a black plastic cone shaped piece that lets you make sure the guide bushing is centered on the bit.

 

 

 

 

Now I am waiting on final design approval from my daughter on the lettering to use on the box.......

 

 

 

Design Approval on the Lettering

 My daughter elected to have me letter the box backwards from normal. Her rationale was that it would display nicely on the shelf, if it sat on the hinge side versus the lock side.  She wanted it like this........

 

 In the display mode, it would look like this on a shelf.........

 

 

Making the Real Cherry Box

 I first planed the 1/2" cherry down to 3/8 thickness. I made the height of the box walls about 3/16" longer than finished dimension, to leave stock to saw the box into the top and bottom sections later.

 I used the same string and glue method to clamp the 4 sides................

 

 I then glued and clamped the top and bottom to the sides..........

 

 I left at least 3/8" extra width, so I route the edges smooth with the side walls later.

 

Comparison of Pine trial box to final Cherry box

 The raw cherry does not have much color, as you can see compared to the common pine box below.

 

 I elected to stain the cherry box.........versus waiting for the color to turn darker naturally.....

 

 Routing the Letters

 I bought some 2-sided carpet tape from Ace, to help hold the router template in position on the box.....

 

 Once the letters were routed, I sawed the box into the top and bottom sections.......

 

 

 I sanded the box with 220 grit, then applied the cherry stain above. I did not stain the letters at that time. Once the stain was dry, then I stained the letters using an artist's brush, to a darker color........using a teak colored stain.

 Finishing was done as follows.......

1. Polyurethane 

2. sand with 220

3.  Polyurethane

4. sand with 220

5. Polyurethane

6. sand with 220

7. Polyurethane

8. sand with brown Dave's supermarket grocery sack paper, supposed to be about 2000 grit equivalent

9. Polyurethane

 

This is the best and smoothest finish I have ever created on any project!

 

 

 

 Attaching Hinges and Hasp

 I used blue painter's masking tape to mark where to drill the 1/16" pilot holes for the hardware......

 

 I had to use paraffin wax to lubricate the brass screws, since they are going into a hardwood like Cherry...

 

 

 

I also had to bend the hasp, so there was enough diameter in the hasp...........so the small padlock would go through it easily.

I used the Dremel with a grinding wheel to remove the ends of the screws that protruded into the box slightly....

 

 Installing the red felt lining

 I bought a big roll of felt, so there would be no joints in the box.........

 

 

 I used a paper cutter and sharp scissors to cut the felt. Then used the spray glue shown above to attach it to the box.........

 

 

 

 The Finished Cherry Wine Wedding Box

 

 

 

 Closing Thoughts on this Project

 

 

I learned a lot of new things on this project including routing of letters and spray gluing felt liners. Hopefully my daughter will enjoy it for her wedding ceremony.

 

 

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