This is my DIY Wine Ceremony Box Project. In this four part series I will give you step by step instructions on how to create a beautiful wine ceremony box. In part one, you will build the box itself, which is a slide top Pine box. Later in the series, I will cover trimming the box with an exotic hardwood, inlaying a family monogram, and finishing by hand.
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Building the Wine Ceremony Box
Purchase a piece of Pine from a hardware store that is 3/4″ thick, at least 5-3/8″ wide, and 84″ long. Depending on the look you are going for, you can choose a piece with more or less knots and surface defects. If you are going rustic, then find a board with lots of character.
For my box, I wanted the binding to stand out, so I went with fewer knots. You will need six pieces to complete the wine ceremony box. All of these can be cut from the one board.
Wine Box Cut List:
- 5-3/8″ X 16″ Two Pieces (Faces)
- 4″ X 16″ One Piece (Bottom)
- 4-1/2″ X 16″ One piece (Lid)
- 4″ X 4-5/8″ One Piece (End)
- 4″ X 3-7/8″ One Piece (End for Lid Slider)
Rabbeting The Lid of the Wine Box
Take the piece for the lid and put the nicest looking face downwards. Then measure 1/2″ up and 1/4″ in from each edge.
This can be done on the table saw, with a router, or on a router table. Set the height of the router bit to 1/2″, and take several passes on the edges of the board until you have a 1/4″ deep rabbet. If you do this in several thin passes, the cut will be smoother and there will be less chipping or tearing of the wood.
Notice that the edges are nice and straight. This is important, because they will need to fit well in the sides of the box. Any random gaps will become very noticeable.
If you cannot get a nice straight edge, you can always sand by hand a little when you are fitting the lid to the box. If you take your time on the router table, you can get a nice clean look that will be easy to work with. Take a little time setting up the fence, and you will have a nice straight cut.
Next, you need to route the same rabbet on one end of the lid. It is very important that you only put a rabbet on one edge. The other needs to remain in tact so that it can fill in the top area of the box.
Work carefully when routing the end of a board, as it can be a little tougher to work with. If you take very small passes, this is a much safer and easier process. Also, make sure to use the miter gauge on the router. This will give you far more stability than trying to push a short piece of wood through by hand. Follow the directions on your tool, and make the same size rabbet on the one edge.
Making the Channel Inside the Box
Grab the faces of the box and the taller end from your pile. Then, assemble them as shown in the picture. The faces attach with the end piece in between them. Make sure that your best looking sides are facing out. Using a pencil, make a couple marks about 3/4″ down from the top. The marks need to be in the corners, and on all three pieces. These will help make it easier to remember where to cut later.
There is a type of router bit called a slot cutter, which is perfect for this process. Find one that has a 1/4″ cutting height or less. The channel only needs to be a little taller than 1/4″ to fit the lip on the lid. Set the bit so that the top cutting edge is 3/4″ off the table. This will make the bottom of your channel 3/4″ from the top of the box. The lid is the same thickness, and both will line up perfectly flush once you assemble the wine ceremony box later on.
Make several passes, working each piece through the router before you change the setting for the next cut.
Once you reach your target depth, see if the lid fits into the channel. It should slide in and out freely without binding up. If it feels snug, or it can’t be easily pushed in, adjust the height of the router bit by lowering it a tiny fraction, and make another pass. Test fit the lid again, and repeat this process until the lid moves smoothly through the channel. Once all three pieces have the same channel, the step is complete.
Test Fitting and Gluing the Pieces Together
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Your wine ceremony box should now start to actually look like something. Hold the pieces together by hand and slide the lid in place to check the action.
Place a couple clamps on the sides to hold everything together, and check the lid again. You want to diagnose anything that needs to be worked on at this stage. If you have a sticky lid, or a piece that doesn’t quite line up right, fix it now before moving on to gluing.
The carcass for the wine box is easiest to assemble with brad nails and glue. If you do not have a brad nail gun, you can always clamp the pieces together. It will take a little more time, but it will work just as well.
Begin by attaching the ends of the box to the bottom piece. Square them up really well, and secure them with wood glue and brads. I find that it’s easiest to clamp the pieces together with the glue first. Then, I square them up. After that, I fire a couple brads to hold the pieces in place. Finally, I remove the clamps and fire a couple more brads where the clamps were. These four brads hold the pieces together really well for the glue to dry.
If you work on these one at a time, it will allow you to line up the faces nice and square. It will also allow you to make any small corrections necessary for gaps and overlaps. You are going to sand the piece later in the process, so if the assembly has a slight overhang somewhere, it can easily be removed. Also, make sure that your channel lines up really well when you are putting everything together.
There will be two small square holes in the end of the wine ceremony box from the channel exits on the faces. These are easiest to fill using a piece of scrap wood.
Find a piece of your scrap from the project, and cut a 1/4″ X 1/4″ X 1″ plug. Make sure that the 1/4″ x 1/4″ face is showing end grain. This will match the end grain of the faces, and blend in really well when finished. Apply a little glue inside the holes, and pound them in about half an inch. Make sure they do not enter the part of the channel where the lid will slide.
Then, sand the plugs flush with a block and sandpaper. This will blend the plug into the surrounding area, and it will almost disappear.
Lastly, trim the end of the lid so that it matches flush to the end of the box. This is best done on a miter saw. This is left long intentionally in order to accommodate any variances in the glue up.
If you are happy with the wine ceremony box as it stands, you can always sand the surfaces well, round all the corners, and finish the piece. In the next article, I will show you how to add exotic hardwood binding to dress up the look. This is an optional step, but it is fairly easy to accomplish, and really makes the wine ceremony box look nice.
If you prefer to move on to the monogram inlay, you can do so as well. This is an easy inlay technique that allows you to add a nice personal touch to the wine box, and even a beginning woodworker can accomplish it.
Finally, finishing the box is an easy process that I will cover in the final article. You can skip right to it if you are satisfied with your box right now. This is a hand applied finish that will give the box a warm aged look.
If you have any questions on my DIY Wine Ceremony Box, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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