Boxes For All Reasons

This is the first time I’ve seen Simon’s Cat.  He manages to decimate this box.  Our boxes are wooden, and thus “almost” cat-proof (can anything be entirely cat-proof?).

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Michael is working away on the 3x5x8 boxes.  They’re all glued, and he’s starting the process of sanding them.  I wanted to show you a little something about how the work progresses.  First, of course, Michael starts with a piece of wood.  He runs it through the planer to make it the right thickness, uses the table saw to cut the right size pieces, then uses a special jig and the dado blade to cut the finger joints.  Here’s a picture of  2 sides of a box joined together by finger joints on one side, and with finger joints showing on the other side.

Next Michael fits all four sides together, adds the bottom, and tapes the areas of the box close to where he’ll put glue.   The tape is used to prevent glue, which might ooze out from the glued joints, from sticking to the wood.  This picture is actually a mock-up, if it were real the tape would be seen on the inside of the box.

When the glue is set, Michael takes the clamps off and removes the tape.   This box is in the process of having the tape removed:

This next box has all the tape removed but hasn’t yet been sanded.  In other words, it’s glued but not yet sanded.  I took two pictures of it, one of the box as a whole, and one of the inside bottom of the box, which I find spectacular:

The sanded box, below, can be differentiated from the glued but not sanded boxes by the lack of prominence of the ends of the fingers.  In the glued but not sanded boxes, the ends of the fingers literally stand out.  You can see this by looking down the outside corners of the the box in the second picture.  But in the following box the protruding ends of fingers have been planed and sanded flat.

Next, Michael will put two coats of a light oil finish on the box and it will be ready to go!

“Not a Box” is a wonderful picture book about all the great things boxes can be. The book was animated by by Jessenia Nauta and is read by Luis J. Jarrin.

This poem was apparently written by Lascelles Abercrombie, an early 20th Century British poet to whom I was introduced today.  He apparently wrote it in 1910.  BUT, Kendrew Lascelles apparently wrote the poem in the early 1970s and he did read it as his own on the Smothers Brothers show.  John Denver asked if he could record it on his album “Poems, Prayers and Promises” and Kendrew Lascelles gave him permission.

The Box by either Lascelles Abercrombie or Kendrew Lascelles

Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-A-Bye,
Around about the wondrous days of yore,
They came across a kind of box
Bound up with chains and locked with locks
And labeled “Kindly do not touch; it’s war.”
A decree was issued round about, and all with a flourish and a shout
And a gaily colored mascot tripping lightly on before.
Don’t fiddle with this deadly box,Or break the chains, or pick the locks.
And please don’t ever play about with war.
The children understood. Children happen to be good
And they were just as good around the time of yore.
They didn’t try to pick the locksOr break into that deadly box.
They never tried to play about with war.
Mommies didn’t either; sisters, aunts, grannies neither
‘Cause they were quiet, and sweet, and pretty
In those wondrous days of yore.
Well, very much the same as now,
And not the ones to blame somehow
For opening up that deadly box of war.
But someone did. Someone battered in the lid
And spilled the insides out across the floor.
A kind of bouncy, bumpy ball made up of guns and flags
And all the tears, and horror, and death that comes with war.
It bounced right out and went bashing all about,
Bumping into everything in store.And what was sad and most unfair
Was that it didn’t really seem to care
Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.
It bumped the children mainly. And I’ll tell you this quite plainly,
It bumps them every day and more, and more,
And leaves them dead, and burned, and dying
Thousands of them sick and crying.
‘Cause when it bumps, it’s really very sore.
Now there’s a way to stop the ball. It isn’t difficult at all.
All it takes is wisdom, and I’m absolutely sure
That we can get it back into the box,And bind the chains, and lock the locks.
But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.
Well, that’s the way it all appears, ’cause it’s been bouncing round
for years and years
In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wondrous days of yore
And the time they came across the box,
Bound up with chains and locked with locks,
And labeled “Kindly do not touch; it’s war.”

Sarah and her family were visiting Sarah’s Great Aunt Ginger.  Aunt Ginger lived in a big old house in the hills in Northern California. Sarah was usually bored on these visits to Aunt Ginger’s house.  Aunt Ginger was a vegan so the food was mostly various forms of tofu, all of which Sarah found very dull.  On the second day of their visit, Sarah was sitting in the bedroom assigned to her family reading a Harry Potter book. She’d read it 10 times before, but it was more interesting than going for a hike with Aunt Ginger and her parents and her little brother. She got up to stretch and walked over to look in the drawers of the dresser that Aunt Ginger had not cleaned out for her family to use. She knew this was wrong. Those drawers were private. But she just wanted to take a peek. In the first one she found a box. It wasn’t a very big box. It was a light-colored wood with little tiny box like shapes at the corners. The lid said “Dream Box.”  Sarah knew she shouldn’t open the box, but she did. There were many small pieces of paper in the box. She recognized Aunt Ginger’s handwriting on them, but it looked like the handwriting had faded. She looked at the first piece of paper. It said “I want to kiss Paul McCartney on the lips.” Sarah, at eight years old, was grossed out. And she wasn’t sure who Paul McCartney was. Another piece of paper said “I want to be a movie star like Audrey Hepburn.” Sarah had no idea who Audrey Hepburn was. Another piece said “I want John to stay home instead of going to Canada or Vietnam.” This was more interesting. John was Sarah’s grandfather. She knew he went to Vietnam to fight in a war many Americans thought we shouldn’t have been fighting. She wondered why he might’ve gone to Canada instead of to Vietnam. Certainly we never fought a war against Canada.

Sarah heard the front door open. The hikers were back. She closed the lid quickly but very carefully and put the box back where she found it. At dinner that night Aunt Ginger and her parents and her little brother told her how much fun the hike was. Then Aunt Ginger asked her if she had a good time reading Harry Potter. Sarah said yes, but she asked who Paul McCartney was.  Aunt Ginger and her parents all began talking about the Beatles and which Beatle was their favorite and Paul McCartney conducting symphonies. Then Sarah asked why someone would go to Canada instead of Vietnam. All three of the grown-ups began explaining the Vietnam War and the fact that people who didn’t believe we should be fighting the war and didn’t want to be drafted to fight in the war went to Canada. Finally, Sarah asked who Audrey Hepburn was. Aunt Ginger looked at Sarah as if a puzzle was fitting together in her mind. Then she smiled “you found my Dream Box, didn’t you.”

Here’s Pete Seeger singing Malvina Reynold’s wonderful song.  Michael would like everyone to know that his boxes are not made out of ticky tacky!


This is the first blog entry for Boxes For All Reasons. Boxes For All Reasons builds small to medium size wooden boxes to be used for any purpose you desire. Here’s a song from Amahl and the Night Visitors to get you thinking about what you might put into your box.

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