Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Just a Plane Box?

A customer asked if it was possible to have a wooden storage box made for his plane. In this case the "Willie Davis" plane. I've not had this request in the past so I asked for a bit of time to think this over.

I needed to think over a configuration that would function as requested yet not escalate to  becoming a work of art. In fact the specifications were that it just be functional and not overly elaborate. I couldn't resist the urge to say "so you just want a plane box huh?

I immediately imagined a structure much like the simple packing box the character Thomas constructed in the book 'The Joiner and Cabinetmaker". This enclosure would however be hinged and would have a painted finish.

 I don't presently have a thickness planer and so I set about re-sawing some pieces of popular I received from my friend Jon Fiant. I then planed this material to final thickness using a jointer and smoothing plane. This was easily accomplished and the extra calories I burned that day afforded me an extra biscuit at dinner that evening.

The construction could not have been simpler. Butt joints joined with square cut nails. I am always amazed at the strength and holding power of square cut nails. I glued on a hinge and latch strap at the top and bottom. Besides providing a place for the hinges and the latch it also bridged the joints where the pieces of the sides came together at right angles, re-inforcing these joints.

The top was merely two boards joined with two wooden cleats or straps, assembled using more of the square cut nails. I cut the lid boards from one board that was amazingly flat prior to dividing. This board was a drop piece that had been hanging around in Jon's shop for quite a while prior to arriving at my shop. Any wide board that had stayed flat thru time in two different shop environments was a good board for the lid parts.

The paint was a Sherwin Williams sold color exterior stain.Cape Cod Red. It looks quite a lot like milk paint when applied. After two coats I sanded it with 400 grit sandpaper and then rubbed it down with maroon Scotchbrite. I then applied a provincial colored stain. This helped me achieve the final color and gave the paint a subtle sheen. The next day I applied a bit of shellac to seal the stain and paint.

The bottom panel was made from some white pine and left  unfinished to contrast with the red. (not shown) Then a layer of 1/2" thick foam. I used 2.5" thick pluck and pull foam in the area where the plane was to reside. You just remove as many of the 5/8" squares as required to fit the object you wish to hold. This is topped off with another layer of 1/2" foam.

This plane enclosure is just what it needs to be in order to function as planned and still have enough character to make it visually interesting.


"The important things I know I learned from dogs"


  1. Nice simple box. The pluck and pull foam seems out of place though. A french fitted insert would be more appropriate.

    Jim B

  2. Jim I agree and if I do another I certainly think a french fitted liner would be more appropriate.