This post was going to be titled "it's all about the bling bling and the pinky ring!" but I thought the revised version was more fitting. Especially after my last post concerning the 4 steps to my woodworking enlightenment. After all a box is just a box until you put something in it.
What I choose to put in most of my boxes is a system of well thought out and nicely produced cubbies. I honestly put a fair amount of thought into how I lay out the interior of every box. Are the dividers too tall, do they interfere with removing that wayward ear ring from the bottom of the box, can you easily grasp and remove a sewing bobbin/pin/needle etc. Is the square footage of this or that cubby too small, too large and on and on. I truly attempt to think this process through, especially on pieces that I'm slating for inventory. I have no idea who the customer is, nor what their needs are going to be and as such I try to make each interior universal but still custom so that each piece is useful and yet still a piece of art.
I took this same care with the interiors of the latest sewing boxes...especially after the fitting issues I had in the original. In that instance I think I got too caught up in the function of the interior and was more focused on wowing the wife vs. making a piece that I was functional and beautiful at the same time.
I also take the same view point of the late Bill McDowell in how I assemble each interior. I'm not a fan of the half lap joint style that many box makers utilize in their interiors. To me they lack sincerity (yes I said sincerity)...honestly to me they always look like a cop out. You've spent hours and hours crafting a piece and then you add an ikea/lincoln logish interior...BORING...ok, that might be harsh and if you're one of those woodworkers out there producing box interiors in this fashion I apologize. But seriously I prefer to build my interiors using rabbets and dado's. It's a little more time consuming and require a tad more dedication in your stock prep, the tools you use and the final assembly, but it's soooo worth it at the end of the day. After everything is said and done I know for a fact that my dividers are seated, firm and ready to put up with years of abuse...and look utterly fabu to boot.
The latest sewing boxes are no different in this matter and each interior started out as several strips of re-sawn Honduran Mahogany or Black Walnut.
I will typically line the interior of the box with what I call banding strips. These act as support for the lift out trays as well as give me a clean way to dado dividers for the bottom cubbies. With those out of the way I will turn my attention to the actual dividing process. In the photo above you can see my thoughts and the lay out process. I will make a quick reference/sketch of each division on the bottom of the box to aid in visualizing each cubby and ensuring that I'm maximizing space while keeping the flow of the piece. With the design essentially finalized I turn my attention to making some saw dust.
I have used several different blades for my interiors over the years. I have no idea why but finding an FTG (flat top grind) over the years has been a royal pain in the ass. Seriously, it took far longer than I would have ever imagined to locate a 10" table saw blade with this grind. Thankfully Forrest a few years back heard my cries (or so I say they did) that I needed a quality FTG blade and that's when they released a woodworker II blade with what they're calling a number one grind (Forrest model WW10401125) If you have the means to pick one up I highly suggest you do...it is totally choice. But in all honesty I used several blades ranging from a glueline laminate blade to one of my chippers out of my dado set. The key is to get the flattest bottomed cut possible without a lot of tear out; a zero clearance throat insert is a mandatory.
With the blade figured out it's a simple matter of setting your cutting depth and running your dado's. Once you get used to this process it's a simple matter to dado and cut your pieces to length one right after the other. A key piece to the puzzle to remember is that with 1 full crank of your blade height you can go from dado to cut off and back to dado...give it a try if you don't trust me.
With the bottom divided and ready to roll I generally turn my attention to the lift out tray (if the box has one) and repeat the above processes. The only difference is that the banding strips become the sides of the tray and the addition of a bottom, aside from that it's fairly straight forward. Depending on the type of box I may or may not add a center divider that acts as a handle on the tray. In this case the pieces are fairly small so I thought a handle would be a nice touch.
So with the boxes divided and the trays built it's time for the finishing act...