The utensils box as a Work-in-Progress

Rick in Rhode Island wanted some details.

Rick wrote me a note, asking details about making the kitchen utensils box. Specifically, he wanted to know at what point I cut the steps on the sides of the box.

Rick, the simplest way I know to keep all sides properly registered against the side stop is to make a “regular” box first, as follows (remember, I used finger joints, machined on the Leigh R9Plus jig):

The kitchen utensils box, a WIP (Work-in-Progress)

Why do I want proper registration? If the work piece is not properly registered againsthe side stop, and also under the finger assembly, the box may not be square. Simple as that!

The rest of the story.

Following a couple of dry fit runs to make sure I had all the sides oriented properly, I used the band saw to cut the steps. This is the safest way I know to get the steps right. I suppose I could have used a hand saw of some kind. Next time I will – maybe.

Some may wonder what I do with the off-cuts from the rift-sawn white oak. I simply keep them in a barrel, until I find a small project. However, storage is getting limited in the shop – so I might have to change my ways in the future.

Thanks for writing, Rick!

— Al Navas

One box full of cooking utensils

From multiple crocks to one tray in the kitchen.

A simple solution:

Kitchen Utensil Tray

What I did:

  • Using the straightest grain white oak I had in the shop, I made a box using finger joints on the Leigh R9Plus jig.
  • I used 1/4-inch thick oak plywood for the bottom and the dividers.
  • Using a block plane I rounded all corners and edges, until they were hand-friendly.
  • Sanded to 150 grit using a random orbit sander with vacuum attachment.
  • The finish was Stephen Shepherd’s Moses T’s St John’s wax. The white oak surface is wonderfully silky smooth!


Sandy loves this box. It allowed her to organize all the kitchen utensils. Now, where are my BBQ tools?

Click here to view several posts on my use of the R9Plus finger joint/dovetail jig.

— Al Navas

The trundle bed is (almost) complete

The bed is (not quite) finished.

It now awaits:

  • Two mattresses
  • Canopy
  • Curtains
  • Quilts
  • Pillows

Requests kept coming in.

Two granddaughters requested the trundle bed. Nana was to make the mattresses, once I made the bed. As you see in the list above, the list has expanded a bit. Of course, beds need “stuff” in them, to allow sleeping comfort. I can see Sandy spending a few hours in the sewing room; she has become the in-house upholsterer.

Trundle bed awaits mattresses.

Here is the bed, while it awaits the supplies mentioned earlier. I applied two coats of Waterlox Original Sealer, followed by the Moses T’s St John Wax finish; it is made and sold by my friend Stephen Shepherd, publisher of the Full Chisel blog

Note: I have no commercial relationship with Stephen – I simply love his finishing materials! Easy to apply, and a little bit goes a long way. I used a lint-free rag and rubbed on the St John’s finish. The black walnut is a wonderful, rich color!

— Al Navas