The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Cub Scout Arrow of Light Display Box

Initial Request

A gentleman asked me to design and build a display box for these awards.  His request was........

I’m exploring the idea of getting pine wood boxes with hinged lid that I can use to display a 28” arrow (Cub Scout arrow of light award). The box would also hang on the wall for vertical display. The inside lid would either be laser engraved or have engraved plaques. The box would need to be about 4” x 4” x 29” inside dimensions, including lid. I need them before year end. I can finish them if necessary to save cost.  What would price be for about 10 boxes?

I asked the requestor why he didn't want to use a simpler design, like a board that hangs on the wall with 2 spots to mount the arrow.  His rationale was:

The box would be mounted horizontally. The lid flips up and becomes the “plaque” that faces forward. I will embellish the lid inside face. 

I’ve asked the parents for their preference for plaque or box. I’ve looked at plaques. I would want the plaque to be longer than the arrow. The plaque looks nice and is simpler, but after so many years and the young man doesn’t want to display his arrow plaque on his wall, then the arrow is vulnerable to damage. the box allows you to close it up and store it safely.

Google Sketchup Design

After many design clarification emails, I arrived at this design:


 Lid Staying Open when Mounted on the Wall

Gravity is going to make the lid want to swing down and close. The requestor suggested using 1/4" diameter super magnets to keep the lid open.

I checked my local Ace Hardware, and the smallest magnet they had was 1/2" diameter, and I need 1/4" diameter.  I ordered some of these magnets from Lee Valley:

I have never used permanent magnets on a woodworking project before, so this should be interesting!

Keyhole Mounting

I will make 2 keyhole slots to allow the box to be hung on the wall using this bit:


Routing Grooves for Bottom

I used a 1/4" straight carbide bit to route the 1/4x1/4" grooves to hold the bottom. I usually leave a 1/4" from the bottom of the box to the point I start the 1/4" groove.  But on this project, the keyhole slot cutter goes 7/16" deep and would cut into the bottom.  This might not be a problem, but to be on the safe side, I started this groove 1/2" up from the bottom.  This reduces the depth of the box a smidgeon, but I don't think it will matter.


2 Keyhole slots

I set up a temporary jig on the router table, to insure I start and end the slots at the same height.  If you get the heights off, then the box will not hang level. 


You hold the piece against the RH stop and lower it down into the router bit. Then you slide the piece to the left until it hits the stop.  It worked ok.

Merle Clamp

I bought this clamp about a year ago and have not used it yet.  I decided it was a good project to try it on.

I used the old trusty string and nail method to first secure the box, because the band clamp will cause it to fall over without it.


Keyhole Slots (2)

 You can just barely see 1 of the 2 keyhole slots in the back of the box, on the side.





 I installed 2 hinges on the back of the box.  It might need 3, but we will see how 2 works. 


It is interesting that with the hinges installed, the box does open slightly more than the 90 degrees required on the wall display.  I will not recess the hinges until the magnets arrive. It could be that recessing is not required on the magnet striker is installed.




I ordered the magnets from Lee Valley.


The 3/4" inch magnets are for general usage in my shop, not for this project.

 Instructions that came with the magnets


I could separate the small 1/4" magnets from the stack with my fingers. I could not separate the 3/4" magnets with my fingers. I had to bore a hole in a wood scrap block like the instructions said to separate them.


I made a Youtube video showing the lid action with the 2 magnets installed.



 Demo Box

I shipped one demo box to the customer to try out.  Here is a picture of the Arrow of Light mounted in the box:


Here is what the laser etching of the lid will look like:



Updated Design

Based upon the demo box results, I updated the design to this:






I had some trouble drawing the keyhole in Sketchup, but I used the 10X method and it worked.  Sketchup can not handle small objects well, less than 12 inch cubed. You draw your object at 1X scale, magnify it to 10X, do your operations at 10X (like Follow-Me, or intersecting objects), then when done scale it back to 1X.

Making 10 Boxes

1. Plane sides and ends from standard 3/4" common pine to 1/2" thickness

2. Plane tops from Select (no knots) 3/4" pine to 1/2" thickness

Planing all of this wood makes a lot of chips and sawdust!! I filled up 2 large trash bags of sawdust from this project!

3. Rip common pine to 2-7/8" width.

4. Choose best sections of the board for sides and front. Miter to 45 deg. Route
    1/4" groove for bottom.  I had to make a piece to eliminate the cut-out hole
    in my router fence because I slipped on the first piece and the groove was
    not straight. That piece went in the scrap heap.

5. Saw 3/16" plywood for bottoms

6. Use Merle clamp to clamp up with Titebond glue


 7. Use 23 gage pin nailer to nail the corners. Release Merle clamp and use on

        next box.

8. Saw lid from 1/2" select pine, saw over-size by 1/8" per side.

9. Attach hinges to back.

10. Take to router table and flush trim top to match the size of the box on the
       front and 2 sides. Nibble away if  you have more than 1/8" so you don't
       burn the stock.



11. Sand all outside edges and corners.

 Here are 3 finished boxes.............

 And 7 waiting for the lids...............


 Final Shipping Cost

 Concluding Thoughts

I guess that $27 per box is not too high of cost for these boxes.  This does not include the cost of laser marking the lids.






Recent Photos

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