Thinking Inside, Outside, and All the Way Around the Box

My first project was finally assigned to me. I was to design a box that I would be building over the next week. Duncan sat me down in his shop and walked me through the design process. It’s not just drawing a pretty picture of what I want or sketching an approximate idea, it’s thinking through all the details. What do you want it to look like? What will it be used for? How much weight will it hold? What materials are you going to use? How will you attach all the pieces together? It’s thinking about form and function, aesthetics and durability. It was fascinating to watch him break it down and I realized how much work goes into the design process.

So over the weekend I sat down with a pencil and paper excited and thinking it would be pretty easy. It ended up being harder than expected. I started by looking up pictures of boxes to get an idea of what I wanted. This took refining my search terms to find what I was looking for; there are just so many wooden boxes out there.

I sketched a few ideas down of what I might like the box to look like.       


Then I needed to choose what size I wanted my box to be. I had a 1” x 12” x 8’ board to work with so the dimensions needed to fit into that.

Man, I went around my house like a lunatic, measuring everything. I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look like but it was hard picking the size, I am a visual person and couldn’t wrap my head around it until I could physically see it. Then I thought, maybe if I could figure out what I wanted to put in it, I could figure out what size it needed to be. So, I went around my house like a lunatic again looking at all of my stuff and judging whether or not it was worthy of being put in my first hand made box. Finally I settled on a 24×12 inch box to put near my front door that I can throw scarves and such in. And I’m sure it will end up doubling as a seat for my son while he gets his shoes on.

Finally I made it to the sketching part. Time to think about the details I had gone over with Duncan. I tried to remember all he had told me and did my best. I played around with my sketches then designed the box I was going to build.

Although it was harder than expected, it was fun and I learned a lot. I know that it was slow going for me this time, but the more I do it the better I will get. Eventually I won’t have to measure everything in my house to get an idea of size… I hope.


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