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Inspired by Do-It-Yourself pen boxes (like this one by StephanV), having a STRONG aversion to the smell of tobacco rendering a re-purposed cigar box unviable, and with a desire/need to keep costs down, I decided to make my own pen box. With the input and help of a good friend with a woodshop, this is what I came up with:

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I'll post some process photos and a description of how I made it in the event that it may help a future fountain pen enthusiast who wants to give it a go himself.

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  • dvalliere

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I started with a 1/2" x 8" x 4' red oak board from Menards; the cost was about $9 USD on sale. I cut it down to 7" for the top and bottom and about 2" for the front and back. I glued it together in 2 stages. The first stage is shown here:

 

box_01.jpg

After the above photo, I put the top piece in place to let it dry so that the front and back walls would be held outward enough. Then I glued the top in place:

 

box_02.jpg

 

Next, I cut the box in half to create a clam shell style. Then I routered the back of the lid and glued on pieces for the side, making sure not to adhere the sides to the lid piece. See photos below:

 

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Next, I drilled 2 holes in the sidewalls and lid to accomodate a finishing nail style hinge. I dab of wood filler late in the process (after oil, below) and the hinge holes are not very noticeable. Designing it this way meant not having to buy hinges or have hinges showing.

 

Then, I sanded everything flush and smooth at 80 grit, rounded the edges with a router, and then sanded everything finely, working from 100 grit to 400 grit. Next was 3 coats of Minwax Antique Oil that I had on hand. Then it was time to add some felt for the lining. I cut 3/4" tall cardstock for the inside (using a paper cutter to keep straight and square). I used my Jinhao x750 with Noodler's Lexington Grey to color the edges of the cardstock pieces so that no white would peek out between the felt and box when assembled. (My first attempt without coloring the edges didn't look as good.) I glued the felt to cardstock using Aleene's Felt & Foam Tacky Glue from Michael's; (use a coupon and save money). Insert 4 felt strips, lightly adhering with Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive; (again, don't pay that much, get it with a coupon!). The felt is a mottled grey "charcoal" from Hobby Lobby; the project took 3 pieces.

 

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Next, I made use of DIY tutorial information found here on FPN to make my insert tray. I chose to make each side of a mountain 1/2" and spread the mountain out over 1/2". The valleys are 1/4". I made a slightly wider valley on the left edge of the box (.45") to accommodate my Jinhao 159. I used the aforementioned Tombow adhesive to bond the felt mountain/valley cardstock/felt combo piece to the cardstock base with printed guidelines.Insert pen tray, and it's done. Total cost out of pocket was maybe $13 since I already had the Tombow adhesive, sandpaper, and antique oil.

The finished product:

box_open.jpg

For what it's worth, this is my first real woodworking project since wood shop class in middle school decades ago. It really wasn't too hard as long as I took my time and thought things through. I hope this helps someone else along the way.

Edited by dvalliere
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Erik Dalton

Nice, very nice. I like the fact that it has a flat top allowing for stacking down the line.

This is something you use for life and pass down to your kids. Great job!

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stonezebra

Love the design - rounded edge, no hinge showing, simple lines - and your pens look very cozy snuggled down in the felt, and inexpensive too.

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When I was actively working with wood, I had ten books dedicated to the art and style of the wooden box. Many of them, IIRC, would have easily adapted to pen an ink storage systems. My favorite material was maple in all its variations.

 

Nice work, post more!

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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graystranger

What a wonderful detailed description. Great photos. The box is wonderful, just lovely. Well done indeed! Thanks.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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What a beautiful pen box! Excellent workmanship. Definitely heirloom quality! I love it :-).

"In the end, only kindness matters."

 

 

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This is a beautiful looking pen box. Can tell a lot of work and thought involved here. Great work, you should be proud to display this box anywhere.

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Beautiful and functional. Will copies end up in the Classifieds section? It seems to me that in the first picture the sides are darker than in the other pictures. Intentional or some optical effect?

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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Beautiful and functional. Will copies end up in the Classifieds section? It seems to me that in the first picture the sides are darker than in the other pictures. Intentional or some optical effect?

No copies to be made. It was a one-time project for my own use. In fact, I'm moving soon and wouldn't even have access to the proper tools (a local friend) in the future if I wanted to make more.

 

As for the color variations in the box. No, that's not an optical illusion. The wood varies greatly in grain and color. The original 7.25" wide board was actually 3 pieces of wood edge-glued. The darker edges (when viewing the box from the top) are the side of the wood--edge side. It absorbed the oil differently than the flat top surface. I liked the effect that caused on various surfaces.

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thnx, so I have to find the tools for making it on my on. Good tutorial btw

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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Waski_the_Squirrel

Very impressive! I've worked with wood just enough to know that this is both well beyond my skill set and a very nice piece of work.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

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Leeuwenhoek

Thanks for sharing your great work and tutorial. You make it look/sound simple which I think is a sign of someone who can do something very well. :) May attempt this in the future as I to have an aversion to repurposing cigar boxes.

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Outstanding. If you ever make another pen box I'll be happy to start and finish the bidding war for it.

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

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