The Humble Rat Coffin

As we're gearing up for the Philadelphia Furniture Show in a few weeks, we spent yesterday knocking out some small items.  These little trinkets help us cover our costs for a show and it's nice to offer some items at a lower price point.  If anything doesn't sell, we're stocked up on Christmas/Mother's Day/You Name It gifts for the year.

Some of you may have seen me in the December issue of Woodcraft Magazine.  I did an article on a dovetailed candle box.  Notice me showing the editor and photographer the best way to awkwardly hold a chisel. 

The concept of a candle box was basically just a vehicle for an exercise in hand cut dovetails.  It turned out to be a very nice little box, but there is certainly a lot of time involved.  For me, the goal of making these small items and gifts is to crank out a beautiful product with a minimum of time investment. 

Enter, The Rat Coffin.

This little box has always been a favorite of mine.  The dimensions don't really matter.  I find a 5/4 board that I can re saw for the box sides.  Whatever length I've got determines the size of the box.  For a general good proportion I make the long sides almost twice as long as the short sides. 

Instead of dovetails, I go with miters.  It's a very clean look and it simplifies the whole process by about 300%.  I make a stop block for both lengths and cut my sizes.  By resawing the sides, it's easy to get a really nice grain match around the box.   Also, please note, I am the king of Grumpy Table Saw Face.

The miters provide for a nice and easy glue up as well.  Blue tape is all that's needed to pull everything nicely together.  The bottom and the lid are made by rabbeting around each part for a snug fit.  The bottom gets glued in and the lid plops on.  Done!  I've done a bunch of different lids over the years.  This time, a little bevel was the ticket.

Some years ago, I dubbed this particular style of box "The Rat Coffin" ™

You could gussy these guys up a bit with some keys in the miters.  You can see Larissa doing that on her boxes.

Larissa is also hard at work making some beautiful little gems.  A small little teabox and and a nice box in walnut and birdseye maple.  Very cool little handle on this one.  Eoin cranked out a few simple chopping blocks and we're good to go.

Please come out and say hi at the Philadelphia Furniture Show.  We'll be there March 31-April 2.  Furniture is starting to gather in the shop to gear up for the big weekend. 

We're also working on a prototype for a scooped out seat, Windsor meets Sam Maloof chair.  So far the customer says he likes the feel of an adirondack chair and a sports car's bucket seats.  These are the challenges we love to have.  We'll be test driving Jaguar's all next week while we're on vacation in the Catskills to prime ourselves.