Boxes and Tray in the Done Pile


Sliding lid pencil box with kolrosing paprika filled decoration.


Sliding lid pencil box with kolrosing coffee filled decoration.

Two more coats of clear shellac, buffed with steel wool and a coat of paste wax finishes out these few simple projects.  I think that I derive as mush satisfaction from making these simple, utilitarian projects as I do from creating anything else.  It’s the process of working with my hands that draws me to this type of work.  Plus, I’m practical in my nature and these everyday use type projects tick that box for me.  What could be more satisfying than taking a few bits of wood and some simple tools and creating something useful and, if I may be so bold, beautiful?


A simple table top tray.

Box making is also a fantastic way to practice your woodworking skills.  Making boxes is just small-scale drawer and case work.  If you can make a box you can transfer those same skills to the larger projects.  They are also a chance to practice your finishing skills.  This is something I need to practice every chance that I can get.


Chisel box with sliding lid removed.


Chisel box with lid in place.

The finish on these projects is simple.  A few coats of clear shellac, applied with a hake brush.  Once the shellac is dry I rub it out with 0000 steel wool.  This creates an absolutely smooth surface.  When I rub out shellac I use sound, touch and sight to judge the surface.  The freshly coated shellac surface has a somewhat rough surface.  When I begin rubbing it out with the steel wool there is a grating sound.  As the surface begins to smooth, the sound changes to a sort of swoosh sound as the steel wool glides across the surface.  A quick feel with my fingers will reveal any areas that have been missed or need a little more attention.  Finally a visual inspection to verify that the entire surface has been addressed.  When I rub out shellac I try to remove all of the gloss from the surface.  Doing so usually results in a uniform and smooth surface.  Then a coat or two of a quality paste wax will bring up a luster.  This shellac and wax method is by far my favorite way of finishing a project.  The results are consistent and repeatable for me.

Greg Merritt

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4 Responses to Boxes and Tray in the Done Pile

  1. orepass says:

    I like the Kolrosing! It brings a unique element to the boxes.

  2. billlattpa says:

    Awesome work! I have a plan for a pencil box similar to this one that I would like to make some day. I really like the finish, simple but beautiful.

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