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 have just completed a build of a tall, five drawer dresser for a bedroom! The final dimensions are 37″x20″x52.5″. The dresser was made from 3/4 red oak plywood for the case and drawers, red oak edgebanding, solid red oak slats to divide the drawers, 2/4 birch plywood for the drawer bottoms, walnut harvested from a farm in Blacksburg, VA for the top and pedestal, and 16″ soft-close full-extension drawer slides. The drawer pulls came from Knobs ‘N Knockers in Lahaska, Pennsylvania–near where I grew up. The faces of the drawer fronts are veneered with walnut to show a continuous grain vertically between the five drawers. The case is finished with homemade chalk paint and dark wax to provide a clean, but vintage looking effect not fully captured in these photos.
My goals for this project–like all my projects–were to minimize the use of traditional fasteners, cover up mistakes well, draft the original design in SketchUp, be a good steward of materials, and to ask myself at every crossroads, “will this last 100 years?” I was lucky to be able to meet my goals for this build and come in under budget as well!
This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn some valuable lessons from this dresser build. If I were to do this project again, I would definitely do some things differently. Firstly, just because I could make the drawers to 1/64″ tolerance, I probably shouldn’t. This made it really tough to get the drawers to slide cleanly and evenly. Another thing, 3/4 material for drawer sides and faces is too thick. I think 2/4 sides and 1/4 bottoms would be sufficient. This would also reduce the weight and add a little more capacity to each drawer.
Following is a mostly complete chronological series of pictures of the build. Now to finish my next project, a pair of mobile six foot see-through dry erase boards I’m being commissioned to build!