When I saw this box at an antique store, I instantly fell in love. I loved all the details on it, the patina and especially the “box” joint/”finger” joint (early dovetail joints) in the corners. I loved the hardware on the front and knew that it must have been a drawer and it was labeled to hold some cool contents.
I found two boxes in the same booth that day and I snatched all three up. I just loved the corner detail. So pretty! I have used them for planting Easter wheat grass in, holding old door knobs, blown eggs for Easter displays and a lot of things, but, I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to make a cupboard of these awesome boxes.
So, about two years ago, I started down this path with an idea to make a cool cupboard using these old antique boxes. I found about five (ranging in price from $2-3 dollars to $11 once). When I would find one, I would add it to my growing stack of cool antique shipping boxes (I still think it’s cool that even kids chalks and crayons came in these small boxes).
Once I had a few of these, I knew I would need a lot more. I wasn’t finding these boxes. There were a lot of antique boxes that had nails holding the boxes together in the corner but, if I was going to make a cupboard that was ultra cool with all the details….it needed to have this corner joint detail. When I couldn’t find them locally, I went to an expert wood worker to see how much it would cost to have replica’s made of my beloved box. The woodworker knew that each finger joint was going to have to be hand cut with a swipe of the blade. So, each corner would have to have 15 or so swipes of the saw to create this box joint. That equaled a lot of time plus to get the “patina” just like my original…I was quoted $80 a box. I about fell over…..I love my boxes but, not for eighty dollars. I needed like at least thirty more of these boxes to make the cupboard that I had envisioned in my mind. So…it was onto plan B. I got a few second opinions but, nobody could get the price under $20…and that was with ME doing the “patina”. Ha Ha…now onto plan…(what letter were we on here…) uh, just for the alphabet’s sake here…we’ll go with plan G.
So, plan G was to try and find the original boxes. After much searching on the internet, I gained a vast knowledge about these boxes. My original “Key” box was about the size of a old cheese box. Cheese used to come in these boxes (kind of like velveeta does now). The box size I wanted was 3 lb. cheese boxes. I scoured everywhere trying to find them and I finally started finding them on Ebay out of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I could buy them off Ebay for around $5 a piece. Wow, that is a lot less than $80 and they would have their own original “patina”.
I found not only 3 lb. cheese boxes but, a few 5 lb. cheese boxes (which ended up being just enough for their own row in the cupboard). I bought a few crayon/chalk boxes, nail boxes, anything that had my beloved corner. (let’s face it…it’s just a cool detail!!)
Once I collected all the boxes I thought I needed, I went to my handy neighbor (Mr. C) that owns the woodshop that I use and we put our heads together to figure out the dimensions of this antique box cupboard.
And this is what we came up with. We had to design the cupboard with different widths of dividers to make the cupboard come out square. Tricky, but definitely do-able. It was thrilling to see my idea in my head come out on paper! Now, before I built my cupboard, all I needed to do was refinish the dresser that was designed with, in mind, to be it’s base. Ready, Set,