In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

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We needed a new mailbox, but I couldn’t find an
off-the-shelf version that I liked. So I decided to
build my own. As I’ve always admired the work of Greene
and Greene, the architect brothers who fused Asian design
with Arts and Crafts style during the early 20th century, I
thought it would be cool to include some of their signature
elements in my mailbox: Pronounced joints with heavily
rounded edges create the structure, stepped profiles
accentuate the lid, and faceted pegs add visual interest
and overall balance. The pegs also hide the screws used to
assemble the box.

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Start by marking and rough-sawing the sockets. Their
inside corners will be radiused by routing in a later step, so
leave sufficient material.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Rout the fingers and sockets using templates and a flushtrim
bit. This template creates fingers at the top and bottom
of the front and back pieces. The fingers and sockets are
reversed on the template used to rout the side pieces (below).

Round the fingers and sockets on a router table. First, hold
the piece on edge and rout clockwise around each finger.
Then lay the piece flat and rout full length on both faces.

Assemble the box one corner at a time. Square the joint
and clamp the parts firmly. A squarely-milled 4×4 makes
this easy. Pre-drill, then install the screws.

Use a washer to create a complementary profile when you
trace the lid’s handle onto the spline blank. The groove for
the spline was cut in the lid earlier, before the handle profile
was sawn.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2008, issue #135.

May 2008, issue #135

Purchase this back issue.

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