Building the Drawer and Top
I mounted drawer supports (pieces 5) inside the box, level to the drawer opening. The drawer consists of a solid piece of wood that forms the drawer body and a drawer face made from the same material as the box (pieces 6 and 7).
I used a core box bit guided by a rub collar and a template to form the recesses in the drawer body. (You can also create your own shapes if you’d like.) I attached my template with short brads driven into the drawer body, but double-sided tape would work, too. When you’ve completed the routing, place the drawer body in the box and locate the drawer front on the body. Mark the location with a pencil and then glue the face to the body. Now you can make the drawer handle (piece 8) in the same manner as you made the legs. Locate it in the center of the drawer face, and glue it flush to the top edge.
With that done, make the drawer blocks (pieces 9) and glue them to the bottom of the drawer body (keep them just far enough from the edge to clear the drawer supports). These blocks and the pull form three legs upon which the drawer sits when it is removed.
Here’s a fine opportunity to give the whole box and the drawer a good sanding, taking it up through the grits.
Adding the Top
Now you are ready to make the top (piece 10). As I stated at the beginning of this article, my top was made from a really interesting piece of bubinga. I cleaned up the waney edge of the top with a brass brush, to remove any loose pieces. In truth, this box would look good with a pretty piece of wood of any species — that will be up to you to decide. But there are a couple of important details that you should know about the top.
I used Soss hinges (pieces 11) in the top because they are strong and attractive. Sadly, they are also a bit of a pain to install. Drill out mortises for the hinges in the box first. I used a drill press to remove most of the waste and then followed up with a sharp bench chisel for the final fitting.
When you’ve got that done, carefully transfer the hinge locations to your top workpiece. Repeat the procedure and then temporarily mount the top. Now mark where the legs meet the underside of the top when it is opened. I used a Dremel tool to carve out two little mortises that allow the top to open to a full 90°. Sand the top and you are ready to apply the finish.
In this case, I applied a wash coat of amber shellac thinned 25% out of the can with denatured alcohol, just to add a bit of amber coloring to the wood and to seal the pores. Then I sprayed a couple of coats of lacquer, de-nibbing between the applications. When the finish cured, I remounted the top and the box was completed.
It is funny how things work out. This little piece of wood from Africa went from the burn pile to becoming the focus of a classy little box. Now I’ll always take a second look at waney-edged scraps!