Posts Tagged ‘shoeshine box’

Shoeshine box completed and noodling around the shop

May 20, 2013 4 comments

Good news, after 4 coats of polyurethane I’m calling my shoeshine box finished.

Shoeshine Box Finished

The final touch was to add a length of brass chain to support the open lid. Getting the correct length and placement was by trial and error but honestly it was a very quick process. I began by estimating the length and installing it. I tried to make sure that the chain wouldn’t get caught when closing but again, trying it was the only way I was sure it would be clear.  Initially the chain was a bit too long resulting in the box trying to topple over from the weight of the heavy lid. Shortening the chain a bit allowed the lid to still lean open yet still be upright enough to better center the gravity over the edge of the box. Success with the second attempt.

Box Opened

The Final Touch - A Brass Chain

Susan thought it came out great and she was serious. Of course I know every detail of every mistake and blemish. Overall I’m pleased and ready to move on to other learning projects.

While the final coats of poly were drying, I took some time to clean up around the shop and fiddle with some of the ideas I have had bouncing around. One of my price finds from one of my “shop at home” experiences was a Record #3 vise. It belonged to Susan’s ex-husband (my husband-in-law?). The device is a beast and not really all that appropriate for woodworking but I just know it will be a value part of my shop, I just don’t yet know what for. Not knowing how or even where I’ll use it, I wanted it to be mobile so I’ve always intended to make a mount for it.  Saturday, I finally knocked it out.

Record #3 Vise w/ Mount

I also want to put some wood friendly pads on the jaws but I’d first have to get rusted screws loosened. The other option I am considering is to make some wood pads and inset some rare earth magnets in them so they can be easily taken on or off as desired. I’m also wondering if I shouldn’t apply some rust-oleum type paint or perhaps phosphoric acid to convert the rust. The vise is entirely serviceable but I would like to protect the device and the rust is un-professional looking. Any way, I can now move the vise to any location that I can clamp to. Yeah, now I can really use the thing!

So what’s next?

My youngest Alex, gave me this for Christmas last year and I have been negligent doing anything with it.

Alex's Gift to Me

So this is actually my next activity and I don’t expect it to take long. I’m going to cut grooves following Alex’s lines and then darken them with some paint. After that I’ll put on a few finish coats and hang it with some of that brass chain I purchased for my shoeshine box. I will need to sand a bit before the finish as I see there are several crayon marks on the surface (of course).

I’ll be cutting my first dovetails by hand “real soon now”. I really want to give it a try I just haven’t had a chance to get started yet. I’ll practice a while before cutting the cypress for Susan’s Dad’s urn. What’s the saying, “Everybody has a certain number of  bad dovetails that you just have to get rid of before you can start cutting the good ones!”. It’s a rite of passage and I’m excited to get started.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Poly and a Quick Fix

Not much happening so far this week in my shop. I got the word my girls will not be attending karate this month so shop-time windows of opportunity are less predictable. I worked an hour on Tuesday which gave me enough time to apply a coat of satin poly on my shoeshine box.


First Poly Top Coat

The finish coat went on fairly quickly so I used the balance of my hour cleaning up around the shop and making a quick zero clearance sliding fronts for my router table fence.

Router Fence Sliding Front

Nothing particularly fancy here just a left over piece of hardboard that I cut in half and added bolts so the “doors” can slide. I did observe that the panels wiggle slightly at the base; perhaps a stiffer media would have been better? I’ll see how the prototype performs and if I’m not happy I can always make adjustments.

Oh and one last tidbit, a tasty find at work. My office was discarding this awesome cart and they practically begged me to take it home. Ignore the keyboard trays on top, I managed to find homes for those. The cart rolls with locking casters and is something you might see in a library or medical office chart room. We no longer use paper charts so this is sort of white elephant taking up space. My first thought was to modify it to make a stand for my miter saw but I really haven’t decided.

Anybody have suggestions for a good use around my shop?

Tasty Shop Cart

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags:

Shoeshine Box – assembly and stain

While Susan took Erin to shop for a prom dress, I continued work on my shoeshine box project. I started with the “easy” task cutting out the foot rest top and would tackle the riser cutout after I had “warmed up”. It turned out to be a typical day in the shop where some things worked even better than expected and some things didn’t work at all.


Because I aspire to be a woodworker I had the bright idea that I would cut out the foot rest using hand saws. I cut the first two short pieces off the front using my back saw on the bench hook. I scored the line with my chisel and pared out a wedge and the cuts were quite passable.

Didn’t Work

Encouraged I pulled out my Japanese pull saw to rip the longer tapers and began cutting the first side. Holy crap, I really messed it up! I indeed followed the line on the visible side and but the saw blade was somehow angled and it cut a significant bevel on the back side. What a hack!?!

Foot Rest Pad

This sent me running for my jigsaw to cut the other side. With one side beveled and the other not, I decided the best option was to set a similar bevel on both sides to work around my mistake. Out came the block plane and I went to work to make them look symmetrical.


I used my LA spokeshave (mentioned in the last post) to shave off a nice chamfer along the top edges of the foot rest. This tool was perfect for this task. Taking time to make even slices and being careful with the spokeshave angle I was able to keep the edges symmetrical. Results were nicer than expected.

Didn’t Work

The plans call for a ¼” rebate to be cut along the underside of the foot rest. I was cautiously optimistic this would be easy on the router table but I quickly botched the job. First off, the foot rest has 6 edges some of which (in the front) are quite short. Without a zero clearance fence my piece was swallowed. All was not yet lost as the rebate was not an essential build requirement. I simply cleaned up the cuts using the router and chisel and soldiered on. I’ve also giving some thought to just how easy it will be to add this feature to my existing fence either by using the T-track to make sliding panels or in a pinch simply clamping hardboard in front of the existing face.

Botched Rebate uder Foot Rest



I was concerned about the tools I was going to use to cut out the chunky riser block for the foot rest. I figured I could cut the angle on the front using my compound miter saw but the two slopes along the back were going to have to be cut by hand tool. I carefully measured and marked the profile on the block, and cut the front bevel on the miter saw without incident. Cutting the long slopes was a bit more tedious using the jigsaw but was made better by switching to a more aggressive blade and taking my time with the cut. I finished the job with my block plane which was made difficult by the shape. Two parallel slopes with a ¼” notch means you can’t get a full slice, it was a bit dicey and I spent a lot of time on it. The job was only finished when I took it over to the belt sander to true things up and remove saw marks. It took longer than it should have, but the results were acceptable.


When it came time to cut the lid off the box I was quite concerned  about the outcome! I used my circular saw and guide which I might add has been helping me make very straight cuts. I began by marking all four sides of the box and figuring out how to clamp the box and guide so nothing moved about. I was surprised and quite relieved that the cuts were straight and clean. I started with cuts along the two long edges but ran into a trouble clamping the piece when cutting the short sides. To solve the problem I used my tail vise and bench dogs to hold the box and clamps to hold the guide. On the last cut I taped a shim on the backside to hold the kerf open. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked without any trouble at all.

Top Cut off Box

After cutting the lid, I moved on to adding the latch and hinges. I marked and drilled pilot holes and tried to be very careful to not booger the tiny brass screws. Fortunately the hardware fitting went fine.  At this point I could glue the foot rest assembly to the center of the box lid.  All went fairly well although I had to get creative with the clamping. I used the cutoff from the riser as a caul and weights to secure it. I tried using F-clamps but it was hopeless with each tightening of the clamp, the foot rest would slide off-center on the glue slick.  I opted for weights which applied good clamping pressure without pulling the assembly out-of-place. You can see the cutoff I used as a caul (photo on right) under the top weight.

Creative Clamping      Creative Clamping Rear View


Didn’t Work

I was almost ready to stain but I wanted to fill the nail set holes first. I hadn’t purchased wood putty and I’m quite a way from the nearest store so I thought I’d get cute and make my own with glue and sawdust. All I can say is, it didn’t work. Over and over again, I tried to fill the tiny hole and wipe it smooth but all I managed to do was to smear the glue mess on the surface of my piece. I tried applying the putty in layers, three different time and even the holes that looked OK dried clear and you could still see the nails. I’m not saying this isn’t possible but I am saying that it didn’t work for me in this application and I really did try to get it right. I think the box looks better than this photo shows however it is apparent just how blotchy the stain job came out.

Staining the Shoeshine Box



I liked the stain color that I picked out. I couldn’t remember the name of it in my previous post but it is Minwax Golden Pecan. I didn’t want anything too dark and this was a good choice, golden with just a hint of red. Not happy with the all the homemade putty glue smears but that is par for this course. Experiment and learn. Hope for the best but plan for the worst!

MinWax Golden Pecan


So the journey continues and I learn and grow with each new task.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags:

Turtlecove Shoeshine Boy

Before tackling Dad’s urn I decided to proceed with a quick project that was already in my project queue, a traditional shoeshine box. The idea and plans come from  John and Joyce Nelson’s book, The Big Book of Weekend Woodworking: 150 Easy Projects.

Big Book of Woodworking

There are many creative project ideas especially if you are interesting in making children’s toys or clocks. Most of the projects I will never make but I really liked the shoeshine box idea. My father had one and the entire family used it while I was growing up. I don’t know where his box ended up but this plan was approachable even for a beginner.

I started the project with a trip to my local blue big box store and locating a better bin of wood than that I acquired for the saw bench. I ran across the select pine and was pleased, not too expensive, very nicely sawn and I think a good fit for a shoeshine box. I also picked up 6d nails and some brass hinges and hasp. I couldn’t find the little rubber feet called for so I tacked them on to a Rockler order (a good excuse to use the 15% off propaganda coupon).

Susan wanted to spend some alone-time with our middle daughter Callie and decided to take her out to the movies on Sunday, leaving me with nothing to do. Hum what could I possibly do to fill my time. Hey I’ve got it,  I could spend the day working in my shop!

Nelson summarized the project here:

Shoeshine Box Plan Exploded

Personally I wouldn’t think to use nails and would have actually preferred to use counter bore screws but…. I decided that I’ve not yet used nails and this would give me the chance to try something new. I’ll use my nail set and fill the holes with wood putty before staining. The select pine is really pretty and I certainly didn’t want anything dark so I selected something on the lighter side but I’ll have to pull out the can to remind myself what I purchased.

I’m getting pretty itchy for a table saw but that hasn’t happened so I’m still doing things by hand. I’m cutting to rough size on my miter saw then planing to fit. I struggle but I’m learning to use my eyes and finger tips and let the wood tell me what I need to do. So far it the wood hasn’t been all that chatty so I just have my way with her and hope for the best!

The Afternoon's Work - Closed Box

At the end of Sunday afternoon, I had the basic box constructed although I didn’t get a chance to nail the top. The author’s plan calls for the box to be fully closed in, then the top is cut off to form a “perfectly mated lid”. My challenge is to figure out the best way to cut the lid without a table saw as suggested. I WILL cut it open, the only question is will I do an OK job or will it be a bit of a disaster ???

Keen observers will notice that I varied from the plan by placing the side panels inside the front and back panels instead of the other way round. This was a tactical decision as I didn’t have enough of the wider stock left to cut the top and bottom so I made the box narrower to accommodate the wood I had purchased for the project.

Shoshine Box Before Nailing Top

So last night (Tuesday) was a regular shop day and I was able to do a few more tasks like laminating the riser blank for the foot rest and marking the cut lines on the foot rest top.

Foot Rest Riser

The glue-up for the riser went OK and there is no question about adequate of glue coverage on the long grain. I was sure not to leave any gaps but there was also a far amount of squeeze out.

Select Pine

I’m much happier with this wood, it’s pine but it’s quite pretty.

Marking the Cut Lines for the Foot Rest

So the last task of the evening was to rough in the cut lines for foot rest. I’ll use my jigsaw to cut this out then sand to the lines on my belt sander. I’ll also be using my router to dress the edges.

Cutting and shaping the thick riser piece will be the greater challenge. I’ll need to cut two 15° bevels in the piece. The bevel for the front, I’m planning on cutting with my miter saw but the long slope along the top surface I’ll likely cut with the jigsaw and plane/sand to the line. I’m still considering how best to shave off the ¼” slope on the top surface. I was thinking the router might work but the piece is thick and I’d probably have to route from both sides.

Foot Rest Riser Profile

What can I say, it’s a shoeshine box and I’m no artisan….but I hope to be one someday.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: