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Quick, but not dirty

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Because we’re woodworkers – and because people know it – we’re often asked to make things we don’t really have time for. But we all do these projects anyway.

With another book deadline coming up I don’t have the time for extra projects. But my wife volunteered my services to make a wedding box for the nuptials of the daughter of one of her friends. Sally said it didn’t have to be fancy and I didn’t have to put a lot of work into it – just something out of wood that would be nicer than one you could buy.

She clipped a photo from some wedding magazine as an example and my jaw dropped, so I went online to research some more of them. These boxes, designed with a slot for wedding guests to drop envelopes into, are all made of cardboard covered with some sort of patterned cloth or paper, with a few frillies and ribbons glued or stapled on. They all look cheap and flimsy, and they’re all unbelievably expensive. The one Sally clipped for me was $85 and was, to be kind, junk.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this, but phrases like “doesn’t have to be fancy” and “don’t put a lot of work into it” aren’t in most woodworkers’ vocabularies when it comes to projects that will be gifted to others. For temporary jigs or quick-and-dirty shop projects, yeah, but not something that is going to be used as a centerpiece at a wedding.

So I did some more research online and found a number of images, and have designed this wedding box to look like a miniature dowry chest. All solid oak, good joinery and brass hardware. I even made a filler piece that matches the chest that can be added to the top of the box later to cover the slot and add a handle, making it an attractive, useable piece long after the wedding.

Even though I didn’t have time to do this, the end results are all positive: I get brownie points with Sally, I impress one of her friends, and I get some good practice making this first wedding box – my own daughter’s wedding is coming up in October so I’ll be making one for her, too.

And you can bet I’ll make time for that one.

Till next time,


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