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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

I'm Matt and if you can spare a few moments, give what I've got going on a read. If you have any useful advice or courses of action to suggest, I would appreciate it wholeheartedly. When approaching a subject I'm not familiar with, I try to reach out to any subject matter expert that can maybe lend a word or suggestion. I get new guys on the forums I habit too and I know sometimes it can be a pain. I work in the firearms industry and am a SME on some small arms stuff. I work well with my hands and I have a mechanical aptitude higher than average I would say. I can stone file and polish trigger/sear/disconnetor engagements pretty well if anyone knows what that entails. Woodworking wise I have basic joinery, basic carpentry, finishing skills enough to do what I want with my project. I worked as tile/hardwood flooring install man for a year in my younger days. Anywho, enough background. There's a different section for that.

I am wanting to build a very nice, elegant and simple wooden shadowbox with a lexan face to display a very good friends treasured pistol. The Colt 1911 was manufactured in 1918, left in an arsenal until the late 1930's until it was issued to his father, an young army pilot who would later take that trusted pistol with him over the skies of Germany a few years later. That pilot earned multiple medals for bravery and service that are to be displayed with the pistol. At least 3 confirmed, 4 probable Nazi warplanes couldn't harm Americans anymore by the time he flew home for good. Mr. Padgett passed away years ago and his son wants to honor his service and the brave man that he was. I am building this as a gift for the gentleman as I am also doing what I can with the pistol rebuilding wise without touching originality.

I am comfortable with my design and abilities to get where I want to be once I have clean finished boards to final dimension for assembly/ fitting of the box itself. Problem is, I don't have final dimensioned pieces to work with. I went to a local lumber yard that has been in business for a number of decades and purchased a very rough cut Honduran Mahogany board (At least that's what they told me) roughly 3x10ish, about 8.5. I had their in house shop plane it out to roughly weak 2" and a strong 8". In my ignorance (never working with rough board) I figured it would be a close enough board to work with. I want to identify how I can best get to where I need to be with finished pieces. Should I go to a cabinet shop and have them work me a finished board? Give it a whirl myself? (never planed or straightened a board like this). I'll include some pictures.

If anyone of you are still with me, thank you so much for reading my novel. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. If anyone has any questions that might help, please do send them my way.

Thanks' again,
Matt
 

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Sounds like an interesting project.

The first picture looks like there is a crack in the board, so you need to work around that.

The board is no longer rough cut. The shop looks to have done a decent job of planing.

What tools do you have to prepare the board for the project?
 

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We also need to know what your end goal is. Are you planning to make the box out of 3" think board? Provide us some details on your project please.

Don't take the following the wrong way at all: 3" think board seems to be overkill for a display box. But if that is your vision for the project then go forth and post lots of pictures because I'm sure it will be beautiful.

Have you looked into local woodworking guilds / clubs in your area? there might be a local craftsman in your area with the tools to work your board down for little to no cost. I could do it as I have a 12" planner, 6" joiner... ect ect... but you wouldn't know that if you lived near me unless you let us know your rough location.

PS: my grandfather was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, please pass along my gratitude to your friend for his fathers service.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
As far as tools are considered, I have basic hand tools, jig saw, circular saw, compound miter, some small wood chisels, general shop tools. One thing that I do not have but will be soon is a table saw. My last is gone. Nothing that heavy duty here. I have never done any additional planing so no planes or anything of the sort. I haven't really needed any tools like that before as I've never taken on this aspect of a project.


I'm going to attach a picture with a rough 2 minute sketch of what is roughly in my head here. The I'm already having to redo the final plans because I figured on having 2x8 clean to work with.

The dimensions of the board after planing: 1.5"X7 3/8"X8' 2".

I agree 3" would be a little much. I was wanting to go with 2" final but it looks I maybe stuck with 1.5 hopefully.

As to getting the board into workable pieces. Would it make sense to section off the rough lengths of pieces I'll need, and then clean them up from there? Or does it make more sense to keep all one piece as these flaws are addressed.

I would jump at the chance to pay someone to help me out as well as teach me a thing or two at the same time. I'm in the Savannah, GA area, roughly. I live out in the middle of nowhere and its perfect. I was thinking as a last resort contacting a local cabinet shop to see if they couldn't help me.

And what does the wood look like to those of you that know your stuff? It feels and looks good to me, barring the couple cracks. It wasn't particularly cheap.

And thanks for the responses fellas!
 

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You have a nice looking board. No issues with the the board, accepting the cracks.

The 1.5in dimension is likely going to work best as the depth (thickness) of the frame.

This means you need to rip the board to the desired height of the frame.

If you have a table saw, I would calculate how many strips need to be cut to make the four sides, accepting you can only cut up to the crack.

The accuracy of the mitre cuts depends partially on the accuracy of the rip. If the pieces are not exactly parallel, then the mitres will not fit as good as you desire.

Most table saws come with less-than-desirable mitre gauges.

Incra mitre gauges are one of the best brands on the market.

If you need help, and can rip the board to roughly the final dimensions, adding perhaps an extra 1/8in in width/depth and 1/2in in length and can send me the pieces, I can cut to final shape and make the mitres and cut the groove for the glass.

If you want me to help, you do not have enough post to be able to send or receive Private Messanges, but you can post a Visitor message at my profile and give me your off site email.
 

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looks like an awesome build, a very honorable gift, and something that your friend will be very thankful for! As long as the sawmill gave u a true edge to start from when they planed it down, it should rip nicely with the use of a good table saw. if you dont have one, I would seek a good shop out close by to rip the dimensions down for you once you get them sorted out, then you can build the rest from there with the stuff you have. hope this helps, and my shop's in NC but if i was closer I would be glad to let you come use/build in my shop!
 

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I can vouch for Dave, he is a stand up guy. Having done a transaction with him through this forum I can tell you he is a man of integrity.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dave,

Appreciate the insightful words. I'm no stranger to hard work but when it boils down I just don't have the knowledge or resources to get this done to my satisfaction. I know how to rip boards but only at a very basic level. I don't think I know the wood enough to know what to avoid, go around etc. I saw that piece of wood and it looks perfect so I jumped the gun a little it seems. I think it would be most beneficial to try and find someone locally who is in tune with this sort of thing. I want to have someone physically show me whats what on this board. My whole plan was to keep it simple and just use clean lines and angles with high quality wood and the end result very simple and elegant. It seems my "simple" idea is getting a little more complicated! I wish I could just send this whole thing to you along with a check to get it done, but I value hands on learning and that is the route that I am going to go. I thank you again for your offer to help me out. If you we're within a few hours of here I would be all over it. Thanks so much again!
 

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I think your first step is to find or create some detailed plans to work from. Are you planning on a box with a face frame? What size does the box need to be and how deep? how thick do you want the walls of the box? 1/2" to 3/4" is what I would shoot for. Are you going to use solid wood or plywood for the back of the box? Solid wood is unstable, so your design has to allow for movement in that panel.

So that brings up your first problem: how are you going to resaw your 3" thick board into one-inch boards to make the box out of? You'll need access to a large bandsaw (ideal) or a tablesaw (less ideal).

Then once you have 1" boards to work with you'll need to plane/sand them smooth, cut them to size, and decide on a method of joining the edges to make the box. Then make the face frame ...

It takes a lot of tools and knowledge to make even a simple box out of a solid hardwood plank. You really should ask around and find some local help with at least milling that board to the right thickness.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had specific plans when I thought I would have a clean 2x8 to work with. I miscalculated the work involved in getting what I purchased to a point where I'm comfortable working with it. The board started off as 3" as I said above the final thickness after the mill shop planed it out is 1.5". I still need to thin a spot or two and sand so that will get me to a strong 1"ish. I've got a basic layout for the box and front face for the most part. I just need to modify my original design (much more in depth that the picture I posted) to accommodate the material I now have. I have with the help of some folks here identified some imperfections that I need to work around. That will figure into the final plan as well for usable material. I've elected to go with miter joints. Simple enough and works with tools I already have.

I'm going to dive back into examining my material, drawing up new plans and see what the hell happens. It wasn't cheap but if I need to go buy more board if I junk something up, there's an awesome lumber and mill shop that will square me away. Once I have some better documented plans I'm going to post them up here and get some constructive criticism on how to improve or do something better. If I mess up, I'll try until it gets the way I think it should be. Thanks for all of the wise words fellas. Much appreciated. If you ever need to know something about modern small arms, I can probably help you. Thanks again!
 
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