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My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements!
Before I knew what materials I had, I did a bunch of rough sketches on what I thought would be a great looking box based on something I knew I could build (in secret) with the tools I had.
I have quite a bit of scrap pieces of hardwood lying around and I knew all along that I wanted to make a special engagement ring box for when the time came to pop the question. I liked the contrast of the Maple wood I had against the IPE strips, so I got to it!
I went ahead and cut my IPE strip into two using my coping saw (each strip was about 15 inches long, which was way more material than I knew I'd need, but better to have extra).
I laminated together my two strips of Maple and IPE as such and let it dry overnight. I knew I'd eventually plane down this piece so I left the IPE wood strong to catch the snipe.
After drying overnight, I could plane it down to an appropriate thickness - which was around 2/3 of an inch. I didn't have exact end measurements in mind, but I was looking to make my final box a little over 2" in each direction, so this just seemed correct.
I thought it would be cool to have my two dark strips come to a corner, so what I did was measure the width of my piece, then translated that width to one side of my laminated strip (second picture), then cut that strip off on my Miter Saw (fourth picture), so that one side was much thinner than the other. The thought was that when I later laminated my strips together in an end-grain fashion, they corner would be square. You'll see what I mean later.
Next up, I set up a stop on my Miter saw and cut my piece into four smaller sections at 2.25" each.
I also cut down my second piece of IPE into 2.75" lengths (four totally pieces) and used a bit of hand sanding to flatten out the edges in preparation for my next glue up.
Next, I took three of my laminated cut pieces and rotated them 90 degrees, as well as insert three of my IPE strips to form the above box. You can see how it's starting to come together.
Once I had my shape, I glued everything up at once, taking the clamping process as slow as I could to avoid any slipping, and then tightened from all angles very slowly and let dry overnight. This was about 98.7% perfect. The only way I could improve this is to do layers one at a time.
But this was a secret project I was doing in off hours, and ain't noboby got time for that!
Once everything was dried, I used my stationary belt / disc sander to flatten all of the sides, being VERY careful to sand down everything at 90°, which was actually much more difficult than I anticipated.
I wanted my top to have a chamfer'd edge, but I don't have a router table to pull this off. I saw a video online of someone using their plunge router upside down and just gave a few safety precautions on how to do this. I took is super slow with a 1/4" bit and the result came out great.
Looking fresh! I wasn't sure which side I'd ultimately want to chamfer, but I am happy with the one I chose as it has a good symmetry to it.
After routing, I sanded all of my edges down smooth with 120 and 220 grit papers, including slow passes on the chamfer'd edges.
Next, I used a miter saw box, clamps, and a crappy hand saw to split my box along the IPE, which took forever. Halfway through, I switched to a SawZaw which went much faster but left a rough cut through. So, I took both halves and sanded them down hard against 120 grit paper, which left me with two clean cuts.
I debated how I wanted to create my hole. Instead of purchasing a forstner bit set which I originally thought would be the easiest route, I chose to use my Plunge Router and a 1/8" Flush Trim bit to make my hole carving for the box.
To do this, I created a simple jig that would sit tightly around all four sides of the box, held together with pocket hole screws. I was careful to keep all things flat in the process so my routing surface would be level.
Next, I marked up where I wanted the corners of my hole to be. I chose 10mm equidistant from all sides. My whole would be near square, with 1/8" rounded corners due to the diameter of the router bit.
Here is the router bit for reference.
To finish the jig, I took my router and moved it to all four corners that I had measured of my box. I then marked lines at the edge of my router plate on all four sides.
NOTE - one side of the router plate is flat, so take that into account in your measuring. When you go to actually route your hole, do not change the orientation of your router or you will mess it all up.
Once i had markings on all four sides, I could draw all four sides of my square with my rafter square, then used my nail gun to add scrap straight pieces of wood to create my router jig boarder. I had never done this before, so I took it slow and was proud at how well it turned out.
Above is the final jig. Simple but super effective!
Then it was time to cut! In total, I did 7 total passes, plunging my bit about 1/8" - 1/4" each time and it worked fantastically.
The second photo shows me checking my depth - all good!
I sanded down the insides, including the base and edges lightly, with 220 grit paper and I was nearly done with the build!
Hinges were somehow the most complicated part of this build. I wanted the snappy feature of a regular ring box but that was honestly hard to come by. I considered using the hardware from a cheap box, but that actually was going to be more tricky than just a simple swap. So, I chose barrel hinges after much research.
The first picture shows the barrel hinges I chose - 5mm in diameter and hard to find. No in-store retailer seemed to sell them, so I resorted to ordering through Amazon and they took about a week to show up.
I first marked areas on the outside of my box where I'd want the hinges to be. I clamped together my two halves (pic 3), marked a perpendicular line on each, then used my digital caliper to mark a center hole 3.5mm inward that I could drill. I took my sweet time with this as I didn't want to mess it up or drill too deep either way. I think I used a 3/16" bit for this - again - do it slow. The last picture is me dry fitting the pilot hole, which worked great (I also did a test run of this on a scrap piece of wood before).
In order for these hinges to work, you need to chamfer the back top edge of your bottom piece (first and second picture) at 45°. That way, after applying super glue into all of your holes (pictures 3 and 4), you can attached your top and let it dry in the close position for 20-30s (being careful not to glue anything shut!), and then actually allow your barrel hinges to open properly (final picture).
If you don't add the chamfer, the box wont' open as the hinges cannot flex.
I debated for a while on what I'd for the interior. I decided to use faux black leather mixed with packing foam that could be packed in properly to the inside hole and hold everything with friction. .
I measured the width of my interior (pic 1), cut my material to width (pic 3), rolled it up and super glued it into a cylinder (pic 4), then repeated the process of measuring, cutting, and rolling up the faux leather around my foam piece and securing with super glue (pics 4-6).
Picture 6 shows the two completed sushi-roll looking pieces.
I finished my box with Tung Oil, with the final oil box in the second picture. Then, I could insert my two sushi roll pads and use a pointed edge (scissors in my case) to push down and flatten out to make it look nice.
All done! So happy seeing weeks of small work come together in a few final pictures.
She said yes!
Loved every minute of working on this project!
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
RYOBI Saw Zaw
RYOBI Plunge Router
RYOBI Router Set (1/4" Champfer Bit)
12” Rafter Square
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 and 220 Grit)
As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.