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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Latest From the Shop


I don’t just turn things on the lathe.

I do other stuff in the woodshop too.

Today’s project is a shadow box for a retiring US Air Force Senior NCO:


It’s made from American red oak and black walnut.  The box is designed to resemble the NCO’s rank badge, in this case Chief Master Sergeant (in case you’re not up on your Air Force ranks).  The upper section will hold a folded American flag, which is currently being shipped around the world and flown over all the commands the Chief served at in his long and distinguished career. The middle section will be backed with Air Force blue felt and filled with the Chief’s badges, insignia, and decorations by a professional engraver/award shop in Anchorage (I just do the woodwork, the foofoo stuff is somebody else’s job).  Up top, on either side of the flag are two Air Force Challenge Coins which the Chief asked me to embed in the box.

Not that anybody but a seasoned woodworker would notice: the four corner joints are locking tongue joints cut on the radial arm saw and there isn’t a pin or screw in the entire piece, it is entirely glue joints (I know that doesn’t mean much to you non-woodworkers, but pins, nails, or screws are cheating. Your joints should be well made and precise enough that they don’t need such things.  In a quality piece, I mean – you buy from other people, you get what you get. Caveat emptor, baby, caveat emptor).


  1. Jim, that's amazing. The officer should be thrilled. Did you come up with the design or was it his request?

  2. awesome - and I appreciate the joints

  3. That's a fantastic design--very tasteful yet creative and expressive at the same time. I'd be curious to see a pic when it's all loaded up.

  4. ok when you said shadow box, you neglected to mention it was a work of freaking art. Nicely done Jim. Whew gotta get you a Domino somehow.

  5. you neglected to mention it was a work of freaking art

    Well, hell, I shouldn't have to.


  6. That many curves, and they all came out so pretty! Excellent work!

  7. Sir, i would be intrested in seeing, and purchasing something with more of a Marine setting, if you would be interested no desing specifically, just what ever come to mind and let me know the price (preferably wall mountable though)

  8. Hey, nice! Very creative with the stripes, there. Does it get filled/arranged from the back or does the plexi pop out the front?

  9. Beautiful, Jim. Just beautiful.

  10. Jarhead, I'm very expensive, just so you know right up front. I only do custom work. You can email me at the stonekettle address and tell me exactly what you want. We can go from there.

    Karl. The back comes off. It's a single piece of hardboard, held in place by flathead screws. There's a hanging slot, cut with a keyhole router bit, in the center/upper back for hanging (in the apex of the flag compartment). The back supports the weight of the box when hanging, so it needs to be fastened securely - not with those little picture frame tabs like you see on the boxes in Wal-Mart or the Exchange.

    The "glass" is Lexan, a polycarbonate. Tougher than plexiglass and less likely to scratch or break in shipment (the guy is retiring, first thing he'll do is pack out and the movers will box this up and ship it to wherever he's decided to call home). Also less likely to yellow or cloud. It's more expensive though.

  11. Impressive, far beyond my abilities and I do some wood working.

  12. Beautiful. Created with thoughtfulness.

  13. Jim, absolutely beautiful, and great design and execution. I'm sure it will be a treasure to him, and start a lot of conversations.


    nouslast: Honor and Dignity, closer to first, where we used to be.

  14. That is beautiful! My father was an AF NCO and would have loved that.


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