Build It | Hawaiian Mango Keepsake Box
Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva works with a local woodworker to build a keepsake box out of mango wood.
- If using a slab, ensure it has been dried to 14% humidity, then run it through a wide-belt sander to make it level.
- Run the piece through a jointer to get a straight edge, then run it through a table saw to remove the live edge and cut the lumber into a piece about 8” wide.
- Cut the dimensioned lumber into pieces about 3/8” thick on the band saw. Run the piece through a wide belt sander again.
- Cut a dado that will hold the bottom in place on the table saw.
- Sand the piece that will serve as the sides with fine grit sandpaper, starting at a 220 grit and ending at 1200 grit.
- Apply a finish to the dado side of the board using polyurethane glue. Dab a few drops of glue, then carefully work the glue into the wood grain using a finishing rag.
- Wipe down the finish after application and then again every 10-15 minutes until the glue has cured.
- After the glue has cured, sand the piece again using 1200 grit sandpaper.
- Apply a paste wax for the final finish.
- Cut the pieces to length on a table saw, then miter the corners to 45º.
- Glue the four corners together using polyurethane glue. Before installing the final piece, place a thin piece of koa wood in the dado to serve as the bottom. Use strap clamps to hold the miters true while the glue sets.
- Once the glue has set, run the box through the table saw removing the top third. This will serve as the lid.
- Use a jig to hold the box and the lid at 45º and run them separately through the table saw, creating a space for splines at the corners.
- Use polyurethane glue to hold Cuban mahogany scraps in the splines.
- Run the box and lid through the wide belt sander as the splines dry.
- Once the glue has dried, use a flush cut saw to make the splines flush.
- Glue an additional piece of mango to the sides of the lid using polyurethane glue.
- Drill two 5mm holes on the box and the lid to accept barrel hinges.
- Cut a chamfer on the bottom and top of the lid where the hinge holes are to ensure the lid opens.
- Sand the piece and ease the corners.
- Apply polyurethane glue as a finish to the outside pieces in the same manner as before. After it has dried, use paste wax again.
- Install the barrel hinges using super glue to hold them in place.