The Recipe Box – Part 2: Design & Build of the Top & Main Base

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Recipe Box

This is Part 2 of the Recipe Box build, click here for Part 1.

Concentrating on the top lid design to the recipe box, I wanted an overhang of 9/16″ per side to match the wall thickness of the box just to give the design a consistent aesthetic appeal.  The thickness of the lid would remain 3/4″ minus any sanding to incorporate four sloped areas stemming from an approximate 2″ x 4″ flat left on top for engraving my daughter’s initials in the final process.  In addition, I also wanted a raised panel left on the underside of the lid for fit to the inside perimeter of the box and to add a card holder to place a recipe card while the lid was open for easy viewing (see layout left).

I began with a sacrificial piece of wood to play with the angles on the table saw that would leave the 2″x4″ minimal flat area I desired.  Clamping against a larger piece of wood allowed more stability and safety, riding the fence for pushing into the blade.  The angle worked out to be 10 degrees, leaving 3/8″ land around the perimeter for a cosmetic 5 degree cut to be added later.

Now it’s time for the real cut…measure twice, check the clamp height for blade clearance, tighten, cut once!  Resetting the clamp for the other 3 sides, repeat procedure and the top angle was complete.  While I was at the table saw, I also cut my base to size of 8.5 x 7.25″, and cut the 5 degree along the perimeter of the lid and likewise on the base to match.

Laying out the lines on the underside of the lid, I repeated the same trial cut procedure on a spare wood piece to the underside of the lid for the 1/8″ raised pad area, this time setting up the router table for this cut.  Bill went ahead and cut the trial piece while I measured out the bubinga lid for the real cut.  We checked the scrap piece for fit on the box assembly and proceeded to the bubinga cut.

One tip to mention here is while Bill was cutting to fit on the trial piece, he reminded me to take gradual cuts on the bubinga as I got closer to the final fit dimension, checking it each time after one slight cut, remeasuring and readjusting the router table fence after each small cut.  It took about 4 adjustments just to be on the safe side.  Critical check point here is we did not take the entire 1/8″ depth in one shot either.  We took a small square out to fit, got close to the perimeter size, raised the router bit, and then took it to the 1/8″ desired depth, followed by coming into the perimeter until we got the fit we wanted by pressing down firmly against the fence and pressure centered downward on the table/cutter.

The lid was now ready for the recipe card holder bar.  Cutting a piece to the design layout above, I sanded it down to my 1/8″ thickness on the Jet Drum Sander, created my curved designs using the oscillating spindle sander, made a 0.032 undercut about 1/16″ in and Titebond glued it to the underside of the lid’s 1/8″ standing pad and held in place with 3 Jorgenson Spring Clamps.


Recipe Box

After the card holder was dry, the match was not perfect with the standing pad.  No problem for my scraper to clean it up even. Here is the lid with it’s card holder completed,

…and with the monogramming engraved by Woodcraft’s Laser Engraving Service, done by Rob Patterson.

Back to the base unit,  I laid out the screw holes for six #8 x 1-1/2 Highpoint Flat Head Combo Drive Screws. Using the Noxxon Self Centering Center Punch, I now have placement locations ready for drilling using a Tapered Countersinking Bit.  We’ll transfer these hole locations to the box unit and assemble at a later point.

I wanted the box to have a pen holder for a matching Bubinga Pen that I planned on turning near the end of the project.  A perfect time to make the pen will be during the finish drying time.  I was not sure where or how I was going to place the pen until the base was cut to size.  At first I was going to attach the pen with a leather wrap inside tucked under the lid, but decided to cut out an area right on the base deep enough to hold the pen since I had enough material to leave in front of the box.  This opened up some other ideas I’ll have for you in the Recipe Box, Part 3!

Creating the base with the appearance of small standing legs in each of the base corners without applying actual separate legs was the next task.  So we took to the router table once more and Bill taught me how to make that happen.  We again used a sacrificial piece first and cut a 45 degree, 1″ from each of the 4 corners with a WoodRiver bit.  I raised the router level until I reached the look I desired.  Using a dowel rod, I wrapped & changed out various grits of sandpaper in each of the 4 areas cut.  This helped in not rounding the corner areas.

 Next up is Part 3: Contrast Elements; Sub-Base & Dovetail Splines, where I’ll add some unexpected detail not originally in the design intent, stay linked!

In the Spirit of Excellence, auf Wiedersehen…Frank!

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