Asian inspired upcycled bamboo box

Building a box from scrap wood and upcycled bamboo


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cutting wood at the band sawFor this project I built 30 of these boxes. They are kind of an Asian, James Krenov Inspired box. I started out rounding up all the 8/4 cut offs that where laying around the shop, and ripped them down to about 1-1/2 in width

I then used the jointer to square up two of the edges where they will be joined to the sides of the boxes.

incra hd10000 miter gauge in actionI squared up one end of the legs and then flipped them over and used a stop on the miter gauge to cut them all to the same length.

small domino 500I built a plywood jig to hold the small piece safely so I could use the domino to cut the mortises in the legs. I put a plywood stop on the left and one on the right so I could quickly put a mortise on the top of the leg and towards the bottom, then flip it over to center one for the short side of the box. Just because of the amount of room on the leg, and overlap of the mortises, I could only on centered on the center of the short side.

plywood template of curved legsI used some scrap plywood to create a template so I could quickly trace out the curved shape of the legs.

cutting curved legs at the bandsawAt the band saw I rough out the shape of the legs using a ¼” 6tpi Laguna band saw blade.
Just because it felt safer and more accurate, I used a little blue tape to hold the pieces together when I flipped them over to cut the curve on other side.

Sanding curved legs at the spindle sanderI used my spindle sander to remove the saw marks left behind from the band saw and to refine the shape.

strand bamboo flooring upcycledFor the sides of the box, I used stranded bamboo flooring that was left over from a flooring job. A friend saved if it from the dumpster for me. This product is extremely hard because when they manufacture it they cut the bamboo into random length strands and hold it all together with resin. The resin is so tough that I had to get my sawblade sharpened after this project.
I cut the tongue and grove off the flooring and cut the pieces to length. I paid special attention to be sure I built each box from one board. This way there would not be any huge color variation in the sides on any single box. While most of the boards are fairly uniform in color there is a noticeable color difference from board to board.

festool domino 500 with plywood jigI reconfigured my plywood jig to hold the sides in place while cutting the mortises. This was especially important do to the density of the resin in the bamboo. Without the stability of jig, the bit form the domino chattered a lot in the hard resin causing the mortises to be missed shaped. The jig really help stabilize everything and reduced the chatter to a reasonable amount.
I also used the same stop position as before to quickly locate the domino placement, one on top and one on the bottom.

Cutting dado's in box sidesI should probably get my dado blades sharpened as well, 30 boxes equaled 120 dados, to get around all four sides of the box.

Miter key jig to cut dado slotsThe bottom for the box hit the corner of the leg, so I used my miter key box making jig to cut a small dado in the leg. I also clipped a small about of the corners off the bottom.
The dado also landed on the lower domino location so I cut a domino in half to make room for the bottom and domino to pass each other inside the leg.
I used epoxy for the glue up and large rubber bands as clamps. The reason for using epoxy instead of regular wood glue is because I didn’t think wood glue would bond well to the resin in the bamboo flooring.
The blue tape is to prevent glue squeeze out from getting on the prefinished bamboo flooring, and at this point in the project the legs are still unfinished. The tape saved me from having to mask off the sides before spraying finish on the legs

shop made raised panel jig for table saw to bevelI used a shop made raised panel making jig to create the decorative bevel on the lid. I always cut the ends, “across the grain” before cutting the sides with the grain. You are more likely to get tear out on a cross grain cut, so cutting with the grain as the final pass will most often remove any tear out from the previous cut

I put my dado stack in to cut the rabbit on the bottom of the lid so it will sit down in the box

I used a satin lacquer as the finish and sprayed it on with my Earlex Spray station

I used walnut for the handle and roughed out the shape on the band saw. I clamped it to a plywood template and with a whiteside spiral pattern bit I cleaned up the curve on the router table. I then chose a spindle from the spindle sander that I thought had a nice radius on it to put the final shape on the lower edge of the handle. I used some scrap plywood to create a couple of stops so each side of the handle would turn out the same.

center finder jig for drill pressSince I had 30 lids to drill holes for the dowels used to attach the handles, I set up an L stop to quickly locate the proper placement of the lid on the drill press.

zero clearance insert for bandsawTo cut the dowels to hold the handles in place I used some scrap wood to create a zero clearance throat plate so the little pieces wouldn’t fall through. The thicker board on the left I set up as a stop so I wouldn’t have to measure each piece. It made quick work of cutting 30 pins for the lids

ca glue to attach handle.  super glueA little CA Glue, titebond medium to glue the dowel in place and this project is complete.

Asian inspired upcycled bamboo box

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