Keepsake Box: Episode 5

Keepsake Episode 5 Keyframe

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With the box construction complete, it’s ready to be finessed. Paul refines the shape of the feet, and scrapes and sands the surfaces in preparation for applying a finish. Shellac is then applied with a brush for an even, durable finish. The last few finishing touches are to fit a stay, in this case using epoxy, and fit a leather lining in the bottom of the box.

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  1. rayc21 on 21 June 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Very enjoyable project and what a lovely box I’ll have to get some walnut.
    Thank you Paul and team.

  2. Greg Jones on 21 June 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Outstanding little project-nicely done! Thanks to Paul and to the WM Crew for a very enjoyable production.

  3. petervalcanas on 21 June 2017 at 5:01 pm

    What a great project! I love making boxes.
    Two questions. What was the name of the brush you use for applying the finish and
    did you use an amber shellac for the finish or was that a clear shellac.

    Thanks for this great project!

  4. idahocowboy on 21 June 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Are you not worried about the small pieces of steel wool getting into the wax and staying on the box?

    • Philip Adams on 22 June 2017 at 9:51 am

      Hi Neil,
      This shouldn’t be an issue if you use high quality 0000
      as it is made up of long strands that don’t crumble much.

      • Darren on 24 June 2017 at 10:15 am

        I use liberon 0000 wire wool, and find it very dusty. It often leaves residue on the wood. Am I supposed to prep the 0000 in some way first, or do I need a different brand? Thanks, Darren.

        • steel on 25 June 2017 at 3:54 pm

          I use 0000 from Kaba, also having issues with heavy fiber residue in the wax.
          Could anyone recommend a usable manufacturer ?

          • Craig on 26 June 2017 at 1:29 pm

            “Synthetic steel wool”
            3M and Norton are two mfg’s

  5. rsmith13 on 21 June 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Great little project! Your ability to make everything look easy is incomparable!

  6. Adams.rt on 21 June 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Wonderful finish, excuse the pun. I can’t wait to make some of my own for Christmas presents this year.

  7. tomleg on 22 June 2017 at 12:07 am

    Just brushing the wood is good enough to clear out sawdust from the surface of the wood before shellacing?

    • Philip Adams on 22 June 2017 at 9:52 am

      You may need to vacuum to remove dust from your environment. Paul usually has one nearby. But otherwise a relatively stiff brush works well.

  8. wdelliott on 22 June 2017 at 11:31 am

    I did not pick up on the kind of glue used.

  9. henrikwester on 22 June 2017 at 12:03 pm

    i love the “oops” 🙂

  10. larryl49 on 22 June 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks Paul, really enjoyed this project it showed the beauty of the wood used. I learnt loads.
    Regards Larry.

  11. Indranil Banerjie on 10 July 2017 at 10:51 am

    Amazingly lovely box – done with an equally lovely smile at the end. Thank you.

  12. georgejp on 28 July 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I loved making this box, but am struggling to find thin enough leather here in the UK.

    Could you give me some info on where to source leather, please Paul.

    • Philip Adams on 9 August 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Hello George,
      The leather Paul used was most likely recycled from a leather jacket or couch/sofa. Otherwise he discusses upholstery leather here, but that may be too thick. I am sure that if you contact a distributer, they would be able to recommend some:

      • georgejp on 23 August 2017 at 10:02 pm

        Thanks Phil, much appreciated.

        • Alan on 19 March 2018 at 3:05 pm

          If you ask in Leather Furniture stores; they often have swatches of Leather Colour Samples showing last season’s colours, that you can have. Each colour sample is relatively small, but good for small projects.

  13. Vibhu Vashisht on 6 March 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Great project! I tried using 0000 steel wool during the finishing process of a project and I found that metal filings from the steel wool would come off the steel wool and remain on the surface of the wood and in turn get stuck in the finish. Is it just a case of poor quality steel wool or would you have other suggestions to improve finishing?


    • ehisey on 7 March 2018 at 12:59 am

      My guess is it short strand stuff. Seems that is what we mostly get in bigbox stores. Paul use a long strand steel wool, he did a video orblog post on it a while back.

      • Vibhu Vashisht on 7 March 2018 at 3:32 am

        Thanks ehisey! I did get the steel wool from home depot. I’ll check out Paul’s blog post and take it from there!

  14. don fox on 13 April 2018 at 9:09 am

    would it be beneficial to apply boiled linseed oil to box first before the shellac? or is that only an either or finish? meaning that if you use linseed oil you don’t use shellac.

    • Ed on 13 April 2018 at 12:56 pm

      It depends upon the wood and the effect that you want. People used to put oil under shellac, feeling it deepened the grain. I think there are better oils than BLO and I’d use one of them instead. Try a scrap and see if you like it. If the oil dries, the shellac will stick. Some woods will react with oil in a way you may not like. For example, oil (even without color) darkens cherry, so clear oil will likely cause cherry to blotch. I probably wouldn’t put oil onto cherry under shellac, not because of incompatibility, but because there’s a good chance it won’t look good. If you want to ask, “which oil,” just see what is available and look into whether your candidates really dry. I’ve had good luck with Arm-R-Seal (General Finishes) and Waterlox in the US. The Arm-R-Seal is more than just oil. There are a lot of solids that build a substantial, tough finish. But it would be fine wiped on and then wiped back to deepen the grain. Both Waterlox and Arm-R-Seal like to harden in the can, so buy as little as possible or put some bloxygen (which is really argon, I think) into the can or find some other witchcraft to keep it from being wasted.

    • don fox on 14 April 2018 at 7:38 am

      thank you

  15. Marc-Andre Petit on 21 November 2018 at 3:09 am

    It might sound stupid, but i’m always damaging my work when I try to remove glue excess on inside corner with a chisel. What would be the proper way to take care of it or handle the chisel?

    Thank you

    • Philip Adams on 26 November 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Hello Marc-Andre,
      Generally you aim to register the flat face of the chisel on a surface as you carefully pare into the corner with a slicing action. If the area is hard to reach, a knife can be used or a chisel with the bevel down and handle raised used to carefully cut into the corner. Does that help?

      • Selva on 26 November 2018 at 3:53 pm

        On the topic of excess glue removal, isn’t better to wipe off most of the squeeze out during glue up than wait for it to solidify? I used to use a wet towel to wipe off (Paul seems to discourage that practice) as dry wiping leaves a thin layer of glue in the vicinity which shows up when finished.

        That said, my pieces always show a patchy line at the joints when finished, presumably due to glue left behind, especially visible on light wood. How do others deal with squeeze out?

        I mostly use GF2002, sometimes Titebond III — the latter is more sandable when dried, but sanding is not always and option particularly at tight corners. And try to remove any remaining squeeze out with a cabinet scraper — that’s done best when semi cured as the glue gets too hard otherwise. Works well but not perfect.

      • Marc-Andre Petit on 11 January 2019 at 10:37 pm

        Thank you, yes that help a lot. Now i need to practice for a steady hand !

  16. Allen Schell on 9 July 2019 at 4:19 am

    Anyone have a source for the chain?

  17. Allen Schell on 10 July 2019 at 9:37 pm

    should i google bobble too ?

    • Paul Rowell on 15 June 2020 at 10:20 pm

      I’ve just put the chain stay in my box and I didn’t use the little bobble thingies but because the chain links were quite a bit bigger than the ones Paul used, made do with gluing one of the links into the holes at each end.

  18. jdkatz on 15 December 2019 at 3:37 am

    I’ve made three of these now. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s Paul’s most challenging project. I wish he’d do more like this.

    • Sven-Olof Jansson on 15 December 2019 at 7:56 pm

      Knowing from your previous contributions that you have a good sense of humour, I allow myself this one.

      A bold statement, which might elicit a surge in the sales of tree-felling saws.

  19. mark leatherland on 15 June 2020 at 9:20 pm

    I thought at the start that I may have been biting off more than i can chew with this project but I have very much enjoyed making my box and am very pleased with the outcome. In fact I’m rather amazed as from a young age I have admired such things and wondered at the magic of the craftsman that must be involved to produce out of a plank of wood and now find myself capable of making this. Thanks Paul, im very grateful.

  20. Pete Thompson on 3 December 2021 at 12:40 am

    Having a hard time sourcing #3 brass screws of quality. Brusso hinges come with good screws, but I would sure like to have some spares. Any ideas? I know most prefer common heads, but a square Robertson would be tops. Many thanks to Paul for a great project!

    • p w on 6 December 2021 at 11:01 pm

      There are a whole bunch of options.

      Also,,,to the the query of oil and use of shellac… Forget the oil as it is not needed at all in order to pop the grain of any of your species of wood prior to the use of dewaxed shellac. Also, and very importantly, a cote of shellac will dry in less than thirty minutes as the denatured alcohol liquid in the can flashes off and leaves the dissolved flake of the Lac bug on the wood. Wood oil finish will require at least a day and depending on the product two or three days not to mention the safety of hanging the oil rags til dry. De-waxed shellac enables the creator to apply either water based OR oil based topcoats IF a durable layer of resin is needed/preferred.

  21. Carel Roets on 18 December 2021 at 3:12 pm

    This box turned out to be a meaningful Father and Son project. Thank you very much. Is there a way to post a picture?

  22. Peter Carson on 19 December 2021 at 9:29 pm

    my feeling regarding being rushed , this shouldn’t make any difference to the pupils/viewers as you will work at a speed your comfortable at . in some ways in my opinion paul is demonstrating how much quicker you can work after gaining more experience. any pupil watching and making any of his projects will undoubtedly keep referring back to the video to recap and double check what they are doing or how they have marked the components , hope this helps , Peter

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