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Thread: Shaker Box Questions...

  1. #1

    Shaker Box Questions...

    I'm researching getting into making shaker boxes. They don't look too complicated to make, however there seems to be a little more to it than I initially thought. I'd like to know what I'd need to get started and how difficult it is to make the parts needed? Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Central Michigan
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    1,431
    John Wilson is the utmost authority on making boxes and has everything you need. Give them a call and they will set you up and be honest with you on what you need.

    http://www.shakerovalbox.com/
    Richard Poitras
    Central, Michigan....
    01-02-2006


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,003
    Milling the stock can be a challenge for the smallest boxes. Basically need a thickness sander to get cherry that thin. Making the copper hot box isn't hard, but finding reasonable copper sheet is hard. Smallest boxes are the hardest to successfully bend, and oddly the hardest size to get any money for if you sell. I use quarter sawn sycamore for the lids. Too showy for a shaker box, but sells well. It'll take some work to just get ready to make them. You need bending forms and then driers to hold the shape after bending. Yup, John Wilson is the guru and makes the copper tacks. This is a post card I had made up to show my work. A stack of cherry boxes there in the back.
    Large _55T9807.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    2,065
    There is an episode of Classic Woodworking about making Shaker oval boxes. You can view that episode if you have Amazon Prime.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  5. #5
    Looks like there's no "trying" in shaker box making. That is, you need the copper trough, hot plates, forms, anvil and more to make the boxes. Bummer...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Central Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Arita View Post
    Looks like there's no "trying" in shaker box making. That is, you need the copper trough, hot plates, forms, anvil and more to make the boxes. Bummer...
    For about $100.00 you can get all that you need from John , if you want to buy the kit ... but you don't need an anvil, (use a pipe) no hot plate, (cook hot water on stove) forms are just scrap wood, so if you do the research you can try it for cheap. Also check around as there are lots of classes to take for a day that are fun, learning, and cheap to see if you like it.
    Richard Poitras
    Central, Michigan....
    01-02-2006


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    55
    Back in the 90's I took the weekend box making class up in Michigan from John Wilson. It was a great chance to learn. I was able to build my skills pretty well and have many stacks of boxes that look much better than ones I have seen at Shaker Village gift shops. I found making them a lot of fun. I sold a few but, to be honest, after materials and time, the return just wasn't good enough.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    John Wilson, mentioned above is the man. I have made hundreds of shaker boxes. They sell readily especially around Christmas. I bought all my materials from John and talked to him on the phone several times when I had questions. I made my own hot water trays from copper flashing and just used a pipe for an anvil to clinch the nails. I used a Coleman stove out doors to heat the water. One thing I learned was to use distilled water for soaking. Our well water is hard and it would leave black spots on the bands. Jared

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,003
    Quote Originally Posted by richard poitras View Post
    For about $100.00 you can get all that you need from John , if you want to buy the kit ... but you don't need an anvil, (use a pipe) no hot plate, (cook hot water on stove) forms are just scrap wood, so if you do the research you can try it for cheap. Also check around as there are lots of classes to take for a day that are fun, learning, and cheap to see if you like it.
    My anvil is a pipe clamp, clamped to my bench with a foot of pipe hanging out. My heat source is a flat electric griddle. Wife got a new one, I got the old. Went to a roofing company for a cut off piece of copper for the trough. John talks about using the bathtub for the giant boxes.

  10. #10
    The starter package that John Wilson offers looks pretty complete. Is there anything I'll need to add to that? Is the video instructional for a newbe like me? I've always admired the boxes, but thought they looked deceptively simple to make.

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