Sunday, 4 March 2018

Simple swivel boxes...

So while we're waiting for the allotment and gardens to defrost I though I'd write a quick post about the valentines gift I made for my wife this year (yes I know that was last month) it was a quick make and I used mainly hand tools to do it, I did also intend to pyrography the lettering into the wood on the inside of the box, but ran out of time (hence the piece of paper)

Here it is, a simple heart shaped swivel box -

Made from tropical hardwood.
These types of boxes aren't a new thing, but they are easy to make if you don't have a lot of time, I didn't take pictures of the heart shaped one as I made it, so I made a couple more quickly to demonstrate the method, which have since disappeared into the depths of my daughters bedroom.

So I took a plank of wood, for this box it was just a bit of pallet - 

It is what it is, a plank of wood.

I cut it into three pieces roughly 7cm square, top, middle and bottom, I cut a hole in the middle piece with a forstner bit, but you could use a hole saw or spade bit, there are numerous ways to make holes in wood.

Once I'd made a hole in the middle piece (this makes up the void where things will be stored) I glued the middle piece to the bottom piece with wood glue and used some clamps to hold it in place.

Here's a picture of the steps mentioned above - 

Once the glue had set it was on to the next step.

Okay so now we need to make a swivel point so that the lid can slide open and closed, you can just line your pieces up and drill straight through them, but I didn't want to see the pin from the outside of the box, so I used a dowel setting tool (I have various sets in various sizes)

Basically these are small metal inserts that have a point on one end, the idea being you drill a hole in the wood (using a drill bit with a depth guide) place the insert in the hole and the use the point to mark where the other holes should be drilled, and in theory when you drill out the holes they will all line up and your dowels will be nice and straight.

Hole for the peg that the lid will swivel on drilled - 

That was easy.
If you have access to a post drill or one of the guides that you can mount a drill in it's best to use it, the straighter the better for this as you want your holes to be as straight as is possible, you can also make a guide block from two bits of wood in an 'L' shape.

Once the first hole is drilled you place the metal insert in the wood - 

Like so.

And with that done you then press the other bit of wood down on top of it to mark the next drilling point, and that's it, it's worth taking your time to make sure things are all nicely lined up and I've found that making the swivel point before the final sanding and shaping is better because if things are slightly off you can then shape and sand any miss-alignments out.

Next drilling point marked out - 

You can just make out the marks in the picture.

And that's about it, once you have holes in both pieces of wood you can put a pin in, I used a piece of dowel, but you could use metal or plastic, the length of the pin will be determined by the depth of each hole in the respective pieces of your box.

I decided to go a step further with this particular box, I've added a couple of small magnets to help keep the box closed, and I've used the same method as I did with the swivel part, that being using dowel setting tools to mark out a couple of shallow 8mm holes in the base of the box and the lid, which are a perfect fit for the 8mm neodymium magnets I have. 

Here's a picture of that process - 

Basically the same, just a larger hole.

Once that was done I roughly shaped the box with a sander, I also made a small round box on my lathe with a swivel lid in exactly the same way, I turned the two halves of the box and using the dowel setting tools made a swivel point on it, obviously if you want to make a shaped box, be it heart shaped or whatever floats your boat then cut each piece into roughly the right shape and once you've got everything lined up then do the final finishing.

There's no reason you can't make the boxes deeper by adding more sections, or why not take a log and using a hole making bit (forstner or spade) hollow it out for a rustic looking log box, you can buy small metal (brass etc) catches which are easily attached with small pins or glue, planning on getting engaged ? why not make a small wooden swivel ring box ? just a thought.

The finished boxes - 

Thanks for reading.

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