I wanted to make some simple Christmas presents this year that would use some of my leftover wood from previous projects. I also wanted to do something that would allow me to try out my new plow plane. I decided to make some little boxes to hold a special treat.
I had some 4/4 sapele and cherry. The boxes were small enough (~ 3 x 2.75 x 5.25) that I could resaw the sapele and get 3/8″ sides and ends. I thicknessed the cherry to about 1/2″. I used the plow plane to put in grooves for the bottom and the top. The corners of the boxes are mitered. Up to this point, I had never done a project using splines, so I made a simple spline jig and put in maple splines. I positioned the groove for the lid to slide in so that a little over 1/32″ projected above the top edge of the box, just enough for a finger nail to engage it. I added some filler strips in the grooves at the far end so that when the lid is slid closed, there is just a little resistance before it is fully closed. I used a razor saw to cut the end attached to the lid to minimize the separation at the end.
The boxes were finished with three wiped-on coats of Formby’s Tung Oil high gloss. Sanding with 320 between coats and a final light sanding with 1500 grit. The inside of the boxes were left unfinished. The final touch was to fill each box with a variety of Ghirardelli Squares.