Building a Japanese Style Bamboo Box
Building a Japanese Style bamboo box from upcycled bamboo accented with cherry and walnut.
You can download a set of plans and templates for the legs and handle. How to build a Japanese Bamboo Box
Affiliate links to some of products used in this build
• Domino 500 – http://amzn.to/2ktOH5K
• Assorted Dominos – http://amzn.to/2jqm2Nj
• Incra Miter Gauge 1000HD https://amzn.to/2kzprcj
• Whiteside Spiral Pattern Bit https://amzn.to/2spe5eH
• Earlex HV5500 Spray Station https://amzn.to/2H0KHRk
For a list of some of my typical consumable products I use in my shop, please visit my amazon page. (Yes, this is an affiliate link and funds raised help this channel grow.) https://www.amazon.com/shop/influencer20170928266
Today I’m building a box from Bamboo accented Cherry and walnut
I have a set of plans complete with templets for the legs and handles on my website if you are interested in building one
I have a fair amount of scrap wood lying around the shop so I’m going to batch out several of these boxes
Once I had all the material gathered up I decided to use the 8/4 cherry I had for the legs, and ripped them to rough width on the band saw.
Then I clean up the material at the jointer, I headed over to my table saw to square off the ends, and then set up a stop on my miter gauge to cut them to length.
I made sure I kept track of what side I had jointed to be sure everything stayed square throughout the process.
The legs are going to be joined to the sides with dominos. On the long side, it will be joined with two, one on the top and one the bottom. So I screwed down a jig to the table with stop, one on left for the lower mortise and on the right for the upper mortise.
For the short side of the box, I flipped over the leg, end over end, and as luck would have it, referencing off the bottom of the leg, put a mortise fairly centered on the side, because the box sets up off the ground an inch or so.
For the curve of the leg, I took the time to make a plywood template. This way I could see the shape of the curve in its actual size to be sure I liked it. The curves on the legs and handle are what define the design of this box, so it was an important detail to get right.
Once I had the legs all marked out I headed over to the band saw to cut them out, making sure I left the line. Even though this is a simple cut I still took time to tape the cut off back on instead of just trying to hold the pieces together.
Since I batched these out, it was a repetitive task and it is easy for your mind to wander while doing repetitive tasks so it was just a little insurance I wouldn’t screw one up or worse yet cut myself.
Once I had them all cut out, it was off to the spindle sander to refine the curve and sand them smooth.
The bamboo I’m using is a stranded bamboo flooring leftover from a previous job, so I’m just upcycling it into some boxes.
To get the bamboo flooring prepped to be cut to size, I ripped the tongue off along the sides and ends.
I set some stops up on the miter gauge so I could alternate cutting the long and short sides of the box. By doing this it allowed me to keep the boards in order so the grain in strands of the bamboo wrapped around the box. It’s just one of those subtle details that bring up the overall quality of a piece.
How stranded bamboo is made; is they compress strands of bamboo together with a hard resin. This resin was really difficult to cut mortises in with the domino. The piece would jump side to side while trying to cut it. I built a jig to trap the bamboo in place and added a stop to the left and right to help locate the mortises. This worked a lot better than trying to hold the board in place.
Next I needed to cut a dado to hold the bottom. I stack the side pieces in order so I could keep track of the flow of the grain and not get them mixed up.
Since the bottom was going to hit the inside corner of the leg, I set up my keyed miter jig and cut a notch on the corner of each leg to accept the bottom.
A little better measuring could have solved this problem, but I made it work. The dado for the bottom went through the mortise for the domino. So the bottom wouldn’t hit the domino I just used a chisel to chop the dominos in half so the bottom would pass by it when assembled.
Standard wood glue didn’t stick to the risen in the flooring very well so I used some epoxy to glue the legs to the sides. To get all the dominos lined up with the legs and sides, and all put together I started the assembly process by creating little sub assembly’s then putting those sub-assemblies together.
Since the legs are an awkward shape to clamp, I used some large rubber bands to apply a little pressure while the glue dried. I also took care to apply blue tape along the edges to protect the flooring from glue squeeze out. The flooring came from the manufacture prefinished so I didn’t want to risk scratching that finish just to get rid of the epoxy squeeze out.
While the glue was drying on the boxes I moved on to making the lids. I set up my shop made panel raising jig, tilted the blade to an eye pleasing angle, and cut the edge profile out. I always cut the end grain as it is more likely to tear out and the subsequent cut along the grain will remove any tear out
I then set the blade back to 90 degrees and cut a rabbit on the bottom of the lid so it would rest a little inside the box so it wouldn’t slide off.
The tops and legs are finished with some lacquer. I use an old stool with a swivel top to make it easier to apply the finish.
The last thing left to do is make the handles. I cut the general shape out on the band saw leaving the line. Then I made a jig with toggle clamps to hold the small parts safely while routing out the final shape with a pattern bit.
For the curves on the underside of the handle, I cut the bulk of the material off at the band saw, then I double stick taped down a couple of stops on the spindles sander and picked a spindle that was close to the radius I wanted, and used it to make the final shape.
To attach the handle to the lid, I just used a simple dowel, and a little CA glue, and then eyeballed what looked straight installing the handle. Once the glue was set it was strong enough for this little lid.
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