Welcome to Issue #3 of

Wood Shop News

brought to you by:

www.wooden-box-maker.com In this issue:

  • duck boxes
  • work in progress
  • woodworking classes
  • new and for sale
  • on a personal note
  • final words

Homes for Wood Ducks

wood duck nesting boxes
Photo from Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds.

One of my students came into the shop a few weeks ago with an article about the need for wood duck nesting boxes. Like other states, Ma is suffering from the recession and wood duck boxes have not been high on the priority list.The article asked for donations of materials for nesting boxes.

The class decided to go one step further. Instead of simply donating materials we decided to make the boxes. We downloaded the plan, I rustled up some rough pine and everyone rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

wood duck nesting boxes

wood duck nesting boxes

In no time at all we had 10 boxes ready to drop off. wood duck nesting boxes

Each box will have several inches of shavings for nesting materials, they will then be mounted on poles in a pond where wood ducks have nested before. The long "entrance" of each box is to keep raccoons from helping themselves to the eggs.

It was a fun project. It was nice not to have to worry about close tolerances for a change. We cut everything to size and banged it together. Since it was rough lumber a few extra scratches didn't matter. The ducks won't mind.

It feels good knowing that some day wood duck chicks will be nestled in the bottom of the box all cozy and safe.

Work in Progress

I have a couple interesting projects going on at the moment that I thought I'd share with you. The first is a simple box to hold keys. What makes it interesting is that the door is made to match the customer's entry door. wooden boxes

I was concerned about routing the raised panels, since they are so small (the small ones are 2" x 2"). To make it safe, I first cut one long strip to width and routed both sides. Then, I routed each end and cut off a panel from each end. That way each panel already had three sides done when I cut it to final length.

To route the final side I ended up making myself a jig that allowed me to route the raised panel without having my hands anywhere near the bit. The jig was basically a flat board that ran against the fence. It had a backing board so the panel wouldn't have any tear-out. The important part of the jig was a strong clamp that held the panel to the board.

The second fun project I'm working on at the moment is making some Shaker hat boxes. Since they need to be specific sizes I had to make myself some forms for bending the wood. I didn't want to make the forms solid because it would have been too much waste, so instead I built up blocks until I had the right height. making Shaker boxes making Shaker boxes
I then used my circle cutting jig (more on that at a later date) to cut the forms on my bandsaw.

My next step was to resaw some 5/4 cherry into 1/8" boards for the bands.

I used my bandsaw to resaw it, then I used my drum sander (visible in the background) to get rid of the milling marks and make sure the wood is a consistent thickness.

Tomorrow I will cut the wood to size for the bands, cut the swallowtails and then soak the wood to make it pliable. The next step will be to bend the wood around the new forms.

For more on the process check out my page on

making Shaker boxes.

On a Personal Note

I was watching a honey bee the other day as it flew around the clover on our lawn. If you watch closely you can see it brush the pollen it collects into tiny pouches on it's legs called "pollen baskets."

making Shaker boxes

You can see it in the photo to the right. It looks a little like a partially filled balloon half-way up the leg.

The bee will land on a flower and walk around it and tiny yellow grains collect on her legs. She then brushes the pollen into the sacks. If you watch long enough you can see the pollen baskets get filled. Once they are full the bee returns to the hive and unloads.

Honey bees also have "nectar sacs," which they fill with - yes, nectar. Once the bee returns to the hive a "helper bee" aids with unloading the sacs and baskets. The bees then work their magic to turn the nectar into honey.

It takes 75,000 loads of nectar to make a pound of honey. That means the bees need to visit around 2 million flowers to make that honey. A single bee can visit over a thousand flowers a day (flying at an average speed of 13-15mph).

No wonder we say "busy as a bee!"

Check out this youtube video for more information on the honey bee life cycle.

Woodworking Classes

(Located S/SW of Boston) Learn new skills or hone old ones in small group sessions tailored to the individual.

routers Classes are limited to 3 people and take place in my shop outside Boston. They generally meet once a week for 2-3 hours. The sessions go on as long as students are interested, a few months or a few years.

routers As students progress, class may become "open shop" time when they work on their projects and I answer questions and give suggestions as things come up.

Individual instruction is also available.

Contact me for more information.

New & For Sale

Visit my sale page for photos of what I have for sale. Custom work is always welcome.

Final Words and Errata

I hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘zine. Do you have ideas for future topics? Comments? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just hit reply and tell me what you think.

If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to send it on. If a friend passed this to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting www.wooden-box-maker.com

Brought to you by the good people at wooden-box-maker.com and ktwood.com.