Baby pictures

I’ll start this next project series with a description of a problem that I’m sure we’re not the only ones to have.  We have a collection of mason jars that we use to can up tomatoes and such in the summertime.  Makes good chili in the middle of winter!  But the cardboard boxes that the jars are boxed in come apart over time.  That, combined with the fact that various folks have given us jars from time to time, means that we had an ungainly stack of glass jars perched rather precariously on a set of shelves in a back room.

It only took one cat to expose the inherent frailty of this system…

This situation was far from ideal.  And so, some years ago, I undertook my first woodworking project to rectify this situation.

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There you have it, internets: the first thing that came from the woodshop.  It wasn’t much back then: nailed butt joints, straight-from-the-home-center boards, some cardboard dividers, a nailed on plywood bottom.  Back then, I hadn’t learned how to handsaw a square cut, so I used a miter box to crosscut all those pieces so that they would be square.  It’s pretty primitive…but it holds jars!

So as I worked on both my skills and my design here, I’ve been through several iterations of this idea.  I’ve managed to refine it down to a sturdy design that is not only stronger, but half the bulk of this ur-box.  It’s a lot better looking, too.  And that’s our project for these next few days.  We’ll explore a new tool and technique with a floating panel bottom, and will use a dovetailed design since I’m hand-cutting all the joints.  If you were to look at a machine-tool version, it would probably feature finger joints instead.  The box won’t care.  The golden age of shipping boxes (after barrels, before cardboard) was dominated by finger joints (one of the aliases is a “box joint”), since they are quick to cut with a tablesaw.  Whatever.  Like in Shangri-La, most things are moderately correct.

But I’ll still pick dovetails.

Anyway, we’ll pick this up tomorrow, and I think that the above box can now go back into the dark place where I don’t look.

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