Heath’s Display Case

Viewer Project - By Heath
Added on July 21, 2010

My dad is a Vietnam veteran who never misses an opportunity to let other soldiers know they are appreciated. I wanted to return that and let him know that he and his service was appreciated. His medals were never cared for or displayed properly so I wanted to fix that. I wanted to do a Greene & Greene project and was inspired by an earlier viewer project–the Greene & Greene style display case for the Bible.

I’m a very novice woodworker without many tools or resources for project wood and am always on a tight budget. I couldn’t afford to order good wood for this. But I had been given a stack of pallets so that’s what I used. I believe they are oak. I have a jointer but I don’t have a planer. So after removing nails and a very thorough inspection for any other foreign materials, I dimensioned them using my table saw and jointer. I don’t have a band saw to remove the center piece so I used a dado blade. A hand chisel cleaned up the joints. It took a few practice pieces to get the process down.

I used my dado blade to cut a rabbet on the back of the pieces for the back panel, and a saw kerf to hold the Plexiglas front and marked the location of the pegs. The square pegs intimidated me at first, but turned out to not be a problem. Since I can’t afford ebony, I made them out of a scrap piece of oak and used ebony stain. I cut a rabbet with the dado blade set to about 1/2″ wide and the height set so that the material remaining was 5/16″ thick. I then ripped off a 5/16″ square strip. With my miter saw set to 15 degrees and using a stop block for consistency, I cut all four sides of the end forming a pyramid. Then I used a fine toothed hand saw and miter box to cut the end off about 1/8″.

To make the 5/16″ square holes in the boards, I used a 9/32″ bit to drill a hole, then squared it with a 1/4? hand chisel. I tapped the pegs into place with a piece of soft wood and light taps with a hammer. Using the disc sander with the table set to 15 degrees, I created the pyramid shape on the end of the fingers. This was followed by some final sanding and a couple coats of “natural” Watco Danish oil. It gave just the type of finish I wanted–it brings out the grain and gives good protection with a slight sheen and it still feels like wood, not plastic. While the case was clamped and glued, I put the inside display together using foam board and spray adhesive. After everything was dry, I attached it and the plywood back.

I see all the little flaws and blemishes, but, I must say I’m still pretty darn proud of it. My goal was to make something nice for my dad to show that his military service was appreciated and to challenge my very novice woodworking skills. I think I accomplished both goals! I made a couple mistakes along the way but having watched Marc fix his mistakes, I was able to fix mine which boosted my confidence. So I owe Marc a great deal of thanks for his inspiration and guidance and for introducing me to the Greene & Greene style. I would also like to thank the person who submitted the Greene & Greene style display case for the Bible.