At the Kansas City Woodworker's Guild we have an equipped shop that is open for the members to use. The requirements are that they sign a waiver, take and orientation and pass a written test (all the answers are variations on "don't do anything stupid") based on the orientation. Then they may use the shop so long as a "shop foreman" is on the premises. I'm one of about 12 shop foremen who come in on a regular basis for open shop time.
So, one of the new members asked me to help him with a 5th anniversary gift. We talked it over and decided on "box" since it would be small, practical and he only had about two weekends of free time. Yesterday we went and selected . Last week we agreed on a general pattern for the box. There was an article some years back in Fine Woodworking by Gary Rogowski where he built what looks like a sushi box. Nice lines, simple, minimum of tools. Perfect starter project.
So just to make sure I wouldn't cause my friend Jason any more problems than necessary, I did a prototype in some very sappy (and twisted) cherry.
Sides are on the order of 1/2" thick (really doesn't matter so long as they are thick enough but neither too thick or too thin). The overall size is about 10" x 4" x 2" but in my case it ended up a little under as I had to cut around some defects in the wood. The little handle piece is curly maple. Shellac and wax finish. Corner joinery is hand-cut but I did use a router for the bottom rabbet.
The curve shape of the box was roughed in with handplanes, then faired with a cardscraper and finally hit with 220 to even out the facets. Pretty easy and went quickly.
He is also going to use some cherry he picked out but instead resaw a thicker piece to go for a four corner match (I used a single longer piece so three corners match, the fourth is a little off).
I'm glad I did a prototype because I found a couple of places that are pretty easy to run into problems. I fixed one and left the other "broken" so he could see. Likewise I found one sag in the shellac this morning but left it alone also so he can see it. Fixing the sag is easy with a scraper and a touch of fresh shellac. Re-wax the side and you would never know.