A while back, I saw some vintage P.O. boxes for sale at a flea market and an idea hit me instantly. I thought it was going to be a unique idea and that I could make a bunch and eventually sell them. When I got home, I quickly learned that this was not a unique idea at all, but I still loved them and wanted to make one with a little twist.
The P.O. box doors came from a post office in Pennsylvania and were manufactured in the late 1950’s according to the casting stamp inside the door. I used walnut and two different shades of cherry all from Blacksburg, VA for the body of the piggybank.
The tricky part of this project was measuring the opening for the door just right so that it fit not too tight, and not too loose. This took a lot of measuring and some trial cuts. It was also critical that the box joints fit perfectly and didn’t have any tear-out since they would be a focal point of the boxes. I made seven piggybanks this round and I gave some away for Christmas, the rest will be for sale shortly. They were finished using several coats of wipe-on polyurethane with a brass coin slot on top and small furniture pads on the bottom.
I was really happy with the way these turned out, I really like the cherry and walnut together and the lighter colored cherry for the back. In my next batch, I may try a different style to add some diversity. I also just picked up some older (late 1800’s, early 1900’s), larger P.O. box doors from a cool store in Austin, TX called Uncommon Objects.
I was commissioned to make a pair of portable, transparent dry erase boards for FoxGuard Solutions in Christiansburg, VA. They were going to live in a corner of the office where there was limited natural light. This is why the dry erase boards needed to be transparent—to not block the one window where light was available. It was also important that the boards were mobile, so they were put onto casters. The space where the boards would reside was recently renovated so my design tried to accommodate how the room was remodeled in terms of space and colors.
The final size of the dry erase boards measures just under six-and-a-half feet long by two feet wide and just tall enough to easily go under standard door frames. They’re heavy, weighing about 100lbs each because they’re made from solid wood except for the steel casters and the acrylic.
The boards were made from quarter sawn cherry, quarter sawn red oak, plywood, and acrylic. Cherry was selected due to its reddish-orange hue to help it fit in with FoxGuard Solutions color scheme. The cherry was sourced locally from Ripplemead, Virginia. Red oak was chosen to complement the cherry, and to provide a lighter contrasting colored wood. Half-inch plywood was used to make up the bottom-half of the boards, which was stained a smoke blue-grey color. Thinner plywood was used to make the orange logos in the bottom-middle of each board. Quarter-inch acrylic was used for the actual writing surface of the boards. The boards were finished using light coats of tung oil to help keep the color as light as possible and to bring out some of the really awesome figuring and ray flecking in the cherry.
This project really lent itself to using traditional joinery techniques. These boards could pass through a metal detector if it wasn’t for the steel casters and the screws that attached the casters. Everything else is done using through tenons and half-blind tenons.
There were some challenges to this project. The cherry lumber I acquired had not been professionally cut, dried, or stored. It had a lot of rot and insect damage that needed to be cut out. Also, I really tried to help keep costs down by using thinner pieces of lumber and then laminating them together to get the thicker pieces needed for the legs, posts, and crossbeam. The amount of milling that went into the lumber for these pieces was more substantial than I had planned. The size and weight of the boards made them unwieldy to work with at times too, requiring two people to lay them down to work on them. Another thing I hadn’t considered going into the project was even though I was making two dry erase boards, they were double-sided so it was effectively like making the same thing four times over.
I’m glad to have these boards delivered, I think they look good and fit the space well. Now it’s time to be Santa’s little helper and make some things in time for Christmas!