102 Tequila Gift Boxes   3 comments

I got a significant order last month. It was another collaboration with my engraver … and her client, as well. The cable network Starz wanted to do something nice – very nice – for the makers of their series Vida, which premiered its third and final season this week.

Clear Image Printing produced a lovely book about the show. Lavene & Co, my laser engraving partner, produced custom shot glasses, sand blasted & personalized bottles of Patron, and then laser engraved the lid of the custom wooden box that I made to hold it all.

The boxes I made were custom designed to tightly hold 4 shot glasses, the bottle of Patron and the commemorative book. I worked through 5 different prototypes, tweaking the design with the client to ensure it would be precisely what they wanted.

This was not a small order for my one man shop. I started with 600 board feet of 1/2″ Hard Maple. Now, typically, I have no way to store that much lumber at once. Fortunately (?), however, I was on an event break due to the Corona virus while working on this project, so I used the cargo trailer for temporary lumber storage as I was working on machining the 19x parts each box required!

The first thing to do is to break the lumber down from 12′ lengths into 6′ lengths that are easier for me to manipulate in the shop … and store in the 10′ trailer, for that matter.

I start with lumber.

Once the lumber was in the trailer – and protected from the rain that was on the horizon – then I was ready to start machining the parts.

102 boxes times 19 parts each equals 1,938 parts.

It’s all about the parts.

102 boxes times 4 shot glasses each equals 408 holes to be drilled.

Thank goodness for the CNC, which did these shot glass holders in groups of 4.

The box lids needed to be assembled first, so they could be engraved. That meant building them, then staining them, wiping them dry and getting them to the engraver.

Mrs M made a rare appearance in the driveway shop annex to help with the staining. That gives you some indication of how far behind I was when the deadline was breathing down my neck.

Then, I could start on the boxes themselves.

It was during a late session that things got, uh, exciting. That’s not good in the shop. Ever.

I was cutting the Patron bottle holders. They fit under the bottle neck to cradle it and keep the bottle from moving. I ran 10x at a time on the CNC, then had to cut them apart. That’s when I screwed up.

I made the cut, which was open faced (translation: no blade guard possible). The off fence side was not pushed through with my push stick; only the fence side was supported.

I’m not sure what happened … but I do know that one of the pieces was kicked back. That’s what got exciting.

Launch angle: about 30 degrees

Exit speed: 102 miles per hour

Elevation: about 5 feet

Throw distance: about 12 feet

Impact: spectacular

Here’s the piece:

You can see where the blade grabbed the workpiece, and then the straight line where the sawblade propelled it upward, forward, and straight into the light fixture at the rear of the table saw. It bent the metal fixture, and then exploded both of the flourescent tubes.

BANG! Glass rained down on the shop. She said, while standing in the driveway shop annex, “WHAT HAPPENED?”

That’s the dent in the fixture, with one tube now replaced.

Like I said, it was exciting. All my fault. So, clean up that mess, correct my Grrr-ripper so that both sides of the workpiece are supported, and get back to work.

Come to find out, I had to build and stain the box carcass, then stain the individual inner pieces (the bottle neck holder, the 1/4″ divider, and the shot glass holder) before they were mounted in the box. This was the only way to get an even stain coating on all visible surfaces.

Once the boxes were assembled, my least favorite part was upon me: installing 214 hinges and 107 latches.

After one very, very long night and a couple of long days, I was finally done. The boxes got picked up … and the client was very pleased with how it all turned out.

3 responses to “102 Tequila Gift Boxes

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  1. Very nice job! Interesting story! I know they will be appreciated by everyone who receives them.

  2. They turned out beautiful! I bet it was nice to have a project since all the shows have postponed or canceled. Stay healthy!

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