Project: Tolkien Box

Hello! It’s been a while — I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on the hands-on aspects of business for the past couple of weeks and haven’t had a chance to sit down and write up a post. Today I’m going to share one from the build archives. Admittedly I’ve done a poor job of recording some of my more recent projects, so I’ll endeavor to improve my habits moving forward. For now, I hope you enjoy this one.

A couple of years back, back my girlfriend lent me her childhood set of the Lord of the Rings so I could brush up on my Tolkien lore. Her set of books is quite old and the adhesive binding is starting to show its age. Some of the pages tried to make an escape during my read-through, much to my girlfriend’s dismay. Seeing as the sentimental value of these books was pretty high, and Christmas was coming up, I figured I’d try my hand at some woodwork and make her a nice gift. Because I was (and still am) solidly in the “Novice” category of woodworkers, I thought this might be a good opportunity to sink my teeth into the craft.

My neighbor had recently removed a cedar-lined closet and left the remnants on the curb to be hauled away. I snagged a few of the choice pieces and thought this would be a perfect use for it. Around that same time I had seen some videos of Adam Savage learning how to make dovetail joints and thought the aesthetic might look nice for an ornamental storage box. My process went something like this (I apologize for the potato-quality photos):


I definitely learned a few important lessons on this build:

  1. Double-check your dimensions! I forgot to account for the thickness of the wood in one direction and ended up making the box too narrow for the books to fit. Oops.

  2. Dovetails need to be cut slightly deeper than the thickness of the wood. Ideally you want them to sit a little proud so they can be sanded flush. Otherwise you’ll be stuck sanding off the whole face to get everything flush.

However in the end I’m very pleased with how the box turned out. None of the crimes I made are particularly visible in the finished product, and it’s still a nice piece to decorate a shelf with. I definitely learned heaps about working with wood. I hope to do more projects like this in the future!

Yosei IkedaComment