Welcome to Elizabethtown Pennsylvania, home of Dove Chocolate and M&M Mars, The Masonic Village, The Elizabethtown College, and Funk Brewing. I love having a good craft beer after a long day, while socializing, or anytime really. This project was near and dear to my heart. My neighbor owns and operates the Elizabethtown location of Funk Brewing. I love the atmosphere of the taproom and restaurant; it is as its name implies, a Funky Rustic setting. Funk Brewing was going to be opening a back room with 20 more tables for seating, and were in need of 20 more tables caddies to hold silverware and napkins similar to the caddies we made two years ago for their grand opening. The boxes are a very simple box that has an internal groove for the bottom and two rabbet joints on each side to allow 4 drywall screws to attach through the sides into the adjacent two sides. Before I build anything, I like to draw out the project in my CAD software to ensure the project will go as planned, reduce waste, can calculate how much material I need, generate cut lists, and maximize my efficiency. My CAD software of choice is Autodesk Fusion 360. I like the software because its a feature packed program, has integrated CAM for CNC machining and best of all its free for start-ups and hobby usage.
Pine 1 x 6 x 96
Drywall Screws 1 1/2"
Step 1: Acquire Materials
First, I picked up the wood and screws at the local lumber yard for the boxes. Luckily, I had a bunch of stain and satin wax left over from other projects in my finish cabinet so I did not have an expense for those items. To be able to do the reverse ink transfer for the logo, I picked up some wax paper at the grocery store to print on more on this later. The last task was to order ink for our old HP inkjet printer. We use this printer only for doing reverse ink transfers so there was a high probability that the ink was either all used up or dried out. To ensure we had ink, it was best just to order some from Amazon.com. Once we had the materials it was finally time to start building.
Step 2: Cut Groove
Once I had the material, I put a 3/4" dado stack on my table saw to cut a groove into the boards 1/2" from the bottom of the box. I did this step first because each piece other than the bottoms would need the groove. I found this to be the most effective way rather than coming back later to cut each groove in each individual piece. I did use a shim on the dado stack to give just a little bit of room to allow for a slip fit of the pieces.
Step 3: Cut pieces to length
I had to cut 100 pieces repetitively with the same dimensions. 40 Sides, 40 front and backs, and 20 bottoms. To ensure all the pieces were cut accurately, I set up a simple stop block and repetitively cut all 100 pieces. I had to reset the stop block between each part as they were different sizes. After 40 sides, I reset it for 40 front and backs, and finally reset it again for the 20 bottoms.
Step 4: Cut Rabbet Joints
Once all the parts were cut to size, I went back to the tablesaw with the same dado stack and ran a rabbet joint on the sides of the front and back pieces. When the box is assembled, it will allow the end grain of the sides to be hidden and allow for screws to fasten the entire box together.
Step 5: Drill Holes
I made a simple jig for my drill press to drill holes in the front and back pieces. I wanted to ensure that the holes were in the exact same spot every time. By making a quick jig, I was able to achieve a look that every screw was drilled in a calculated measure not just all willy nilly. Once the holes were drilled, I switched my bit to a countersink bit and used the depth stop to ensure I got a consistent depth every time. Doing this extra step allows for the screw to become flush with the surface of the wood and keeps the grain from splitting if over-tightened.
Step 6: Sanding
This step is pretty self explanatory. I sanded each piece through the sequence of abrasives starting with 80 grit all the up to 220 grit.
Step 7: Staining
This particular project called for a dark walnut stain. I used Zar Dark Walnut Stain since I had some on hand from another project that I had completed recently.
Step 8: Assembly
Once every thing was stained and dried, it was time for assembly. This step took a lot more time than I had anticipated. Since I was going to be sinking a screw into the end grain of the side pieces, I decided to predrill the end of the side pieces to keep the wood from splitting. Each box was dry assembled, clamped, predrilled, unclamped, glued, then screwed together. While this workflow did take more time to assemble all 20 boxes, it was well worth it as I did not have any boxes split end grain, and everything went together as it should have.
Step 9: Image Transfer
One of the final details of the box was to apply the Funk Brewing logo to the front of the boxes. I utilized a reverse ink transfer technique to get the look we wanted. To do this, we had to take the Funk Brewing logo and flip it so it appeared backwards on the software. I utilized a vector editing program Adobe Illustrator, but an open source software like Inkscape would also work. I set up the old inkjet printer with new ink and printed the first test piece on regular paper to ensure the printer was indeed working, and that the color was even. When this all checked out, I cut a length of wax paper and loaded it into the printer by taping it to a piece of cardstock. Once the piece printed out, I set it to the side and printed 3-4 pieces to allow the first few to dry a little bit. I found that by applying the transfer too early resulted in the logo becoming blurred when transferred. A few minutes dry time between printing and application turned out to be perfect. I put the wet side down against the wood and used an old credit card to press the ink into the wood grain. I repeated this process for every box. Once completed, I took the boxes out into the sun to let the ink dry before applying the finish.
Step 10: Apply Finish
My finish of choice for this project was to use a Watco Satin Wax which is a liquid product and dries very quickly. It was applied with a rag on all sides. Once applied, it was set aside to dry until all boxes were coated, then a dry rag was used to wipe off excess wax. I like using the satin wax as a finish as it leaves a silky smooth finish, allows the wood to breathe and doesn't have a pungent odor as some finishes can exhibit.
My boys and I hopped in the truck and dropped the boxes off at the brewery on a day that they were closed to the public. They got to enjoy a nice fountain soda at the bar while my neighbor and I talked about new brews coming out and cool promotions. One of the best parts about this job was a perk of getting to try out their new seasonal brew. Funktoberfest. With the satisfaction of a completed job, there was more work to do, enjoy a new craft brew and to sit back and relax.