Making 100 Beer Flight Boxes with Bullets!
– Hey, I’m Caleb, with “You Can Make This Too.” Today, I have to make a few beer flights Vroom, one, vroom, two If only it was gonna be that easy I’m building these from a stash of rough four-quarter walnut, about an inch thick, that I have on hand that’s perfect for making a ton of small items, meaning it’s pretty warped and knotty I start by skip planing everything in order to be able to get a look at what I’m working with I may seem to go out of order as I mill all this, but I’ll explain my reasoning as I go Now that I’m looking at the bare wood, I switch to the miter saw and start chopping these eight and 10-foot boards down to more manageable lengths and to reduce any crook and warp I have a stopblock set up at about three feet from the saw to help me keep pieces pretty consistent But if it doesn’t make sense to cut down a board even more, I don’t, and leave it a little long But I do take care to remove any pieces that are too wasted to be useful out of the boards My mobile bench turned out to be super-handy during this build I used it to organize all my pieces by how many long blanks I expect to get out of each piece, which I wrote on them just to help me keep track and make sure I was going to get all the pieces I needed Wheels are a must in my small shop And right now I’m really glad that I sprung for some nice big wheels But it’s probably time to sweep when you can bury a bone in the shop Anyway, now to get a straight edge on the pieces before they get ripped I have a love-hate thing with my jointer fence I have to move the bolts depending on where I need it positioned, but the alternative would be to have a giant tail sticking out of the back that gets in the way when I’m working with larger wood But it’s always worth the time to adjust and make sure the blades are covered by my stock since this beast doesn’t have a guard I also take some extra care to make sure my fence is dialed in as close to square as I can get it since, well, I just moved the fence again And now I’m all set to joint a straight, clean edge on these boards, of course, taking time to identify any crook and see which way the grain is going to make sure the grain is running downhill as I feed them Instead of pushing my bench back through all the shavings, I figured I should stop being a lazy bum and sweep it all up Unsurprisingly, it pushes a lot better on concrete Damn it, I missed a spot That clean edge gives me a reference for my table saw fence, so everything can start getting ripped to width Of course, I take some time to verify machine setup That’s going to be a trend with this project, double-checking calibration and making jigs Normally, it’s faster to just finesse any issues with hand tools than to take a bunch of test cuts and adjust everything as close as possible, but, since I’m doing 100 of these boxes, it makes sense to spend a few extra minutes before each procedure to be as accurate as possible Then I reposition everything and bring it down to the thickness at the thickness planer By ripping first, I created more pieces to feed through the planer, but reduced the amount of cupping that was present in a lot of the boards, which will help them stay thicker Also, it seems like the dust collection isn’t working, then it probably isn’t working Took me way too long to realize my hose was clogged Dope Anyway, make sure to take breaks to clean your hose to avoid performance issues Everything is thickness’ed and ripped to width, so now it’s time to cut to the length to create blanks Of course, this starts by checking that my saw is cutting square and setting up a stopblock Now I can dive into cutting blanks to length, of course, being sure to remove any undesirable bits as I go Some defects in the wood won’t be a problem, but a knot on the end where the joiner is going to be cut is a no-go That won’t produce a tight joint and nobody likes a loose, sloppy joint The outside of the blanks will actually be on the inside of the boxes Just trust me, this’ll be a lot of beer boxes, but I don’t drink enough while I’m in the shop to mix up my insides and outsides Anyway, that’s why I’m loading up my spray gun with some TotalBoat halcyon I figured it’ll be easier to finish the inside of the boxes while they’re on the outside of the wood because that makes sense What makes more sense, though, right now is the halcyon, because I can recoat in an hour, which means, in an afternoon, I’ll be able to get two coats on both sides of everything The best part of this, though, was getting to trade my earmuffs for a respirator Actually, I’m kidding Respirators suck But I imagine COPD sucks more, so Before I do any more processing on these, I need the exact thickness of the bottom of the boxes, so I’m gonna start working on those Earlier, I set aside some of the rough stock that was thicker than the others after skip planing to be bottoms, because I’m hoping to resaw three bottoms out of each piece But they’ll need the same processing as the others
have already had, which starts at edge jointing But first, plugging the machine and tightening the fence, and pointlessly picking at the end of wood to jab a splinter under my nail And remembering the fence is out of whack because I just tightened it After other unspeakable errors that will never be publicly admitted, I can finally rip the bottoms to it Then, on to my old nemesis, the band saw Fortunately, these are pretty narrow pieces, so there’s less chance of any issues with the resawing, a shop procedure that has taunted me for years But, since I started coaxing myself to sleep every night whispering, “You’re a good woodworker,” it suddenly turned a page I also watched an Alex Snodgrass video on “Tuning Up My Band Saw and Change the Blade,” but I’m pretty sure it was positive self-messaging that did the trick And with those few, quick, simple steps knocked out, now I can measure the bottoms and discover what thickness my dado stack needs to be to rip a dado on the sides to hold the bottom And I can get to ripping said dados Fortunately, I only did a few before I remembered that I have a featherboard and this is the perfect time to use it Settling in to really repetative tasks like this is where accidents are prime to happen Any time I’m doing something I know is a bit risky, I’m fully alert and present, and anticipating any indicators of pending disaster But ripping 300 dados, it’s easy to lull away and lose presence once you get in a rhythm So it’s at these tasks that I take extra time and go a little further than I normally would to set up extra safeties to mitigate the possibility of injury in case I make a mistake, not that humans are known for those Up until now, I was just ripping the pieces that’ll be the long sides The same blanks will actually be the short sides The difference is they only get a dado on one side because they’ll be thicker Again, I am thankful for this mobile workbench Moving material around my small shop normally isn’t an issue But this isn’t my normal kind of project Now I’m ripping the blanks that’ll be the short side pieces to their final thickness I had to make them thicker than the long sides to have enough room to drill out for the brass dowels that will be added later to reinforce the joint And, now that I have the actual width of my short sides, I was able to set up the dado stack and my stopblock to cut the rabbets on the end of the long pieces to the width of the short pieces I’m doing them now before splitting them to minimize how many pieces I have to handle Normally, that’s not a big deal, but it does take longer to set a piece down and pick up another one than it does to just flip over a piece already on the saw Multiply that time difference by 100 and all the different procedures being done, and it can really add up to some time-savings over the life of this project All the joinery is cut on the long side blanks, so now they can be split in half to create two sides To set up my band saw to rip them in half, I use a trick I picked up from someone on YouTube Most of those guys are arrogant hacks, but occasionally they have some nuggets Anyway, the trick is to get as close as possible You make a cut and then put the off-cut side of the piece against the fence and try to slide it into the back of the blade Once that happens, you’ll know you’re cutting in the middle I do that on some scrap and then get to ripping all these pieces I’d probably go crazy if I made it any number into these and realized my saw wasn’t set up right from the beginning Granted, that’s probably not saying much, since I’m obviously already slightly deranged for taking on this kind of order in my small shop With the long sides bifurcated, I can partially mock up a box to get the proper width for my short sides I test on some extra blanks and make sure this width gives extra room for the bottom piece to float between the sides I don’t want the bottoms too tight Wood expansion is unlikely to be much of an issue, but, as much as I’ve tried to be precise, there’s always a margin of error So, especially with the groove that’ll hold the bottoms, I want enough play that every box will come together without an issue, but that it’s still adequately supported And then I get on with turning the about-50 blanks into 200 sides, plus some extras, just in case I’m sure some folks will point out I’ve generated a lot of waste Each one of these blanks is oversized and could have been smaller to save a little material That’s true, but that would’ve come at the cost of extra time and would’ve given me less room for error I save time by having all the side blanks the same size as I was processing them, and then I could pick which one would be better as shorts or as longs Also, it would have been tragic to realize that I made an error somewhere, and my short sides would have to be a touch longer than anticipated, but meaning that my blanks would now only yield three instead of four pieces, leaving me 25% short, or having to completely redo an earlier process
Also, the extra length gives me some play to cut out defects and still get four pieces from most boards All right, the bottom of these beer flight boxes are gonna have four recesses for glasses to sit into, and here’s the jig I made to drill them I’ve got a backstop to set my piece against to make sure I’m drilling in the middle, and then I have two stops on the end for the first piece or first hole, then I can use my spacer block, drill the second hole, move it over, drill the third, remove it, and drill the last That’ll make this about as fast as I can think of to make them go Hope this helps someone Next up is my best time-saving tip and the sanest thing I did this entire project, ask for help My buddy Will, link to his YouTube below, Jackie Canvas, came over and spent a whole day helping me First, he sanded the little nubs off the bottom of the bottom pieces while I tacked together some assembly jigs But, before we got to assembling, there were some bottoms that needed a little repair These were extras, but with Starbond CA glue, it’s superfast to do simple repairs like these, so, I went ahead and did them Now, before we got going, just in case we ended up needing some of them, that way it’d already be done Now for an exciting moment, the assembly Step one, make a box, is almost complete This, and the next step, are two where an extra set of hands really make a difference on speeding up the process I made these two jigs to help hold everything square and together It took a little experimenting, but after a few tries, Will and I found a process that took both of us about the same amount of time to perform our tasks so we could be really efficient and not have to wait on each other Will put some TotalBoat 2-to-1 epoxy on one of the long sides, slid in the short sides and bottom, then passed them to me I applied epoxy to the other long side on the rabbets and set it on the box, then shot two pin nails into each joint, flipped the box over gingerly, and then pin nailed the first side Watch carefully and you’ll see that I angle the nailer as I shoot in each nail in a opposite direction Doing it that way creates opposing geometry that adds a lot of strength Pin nails are headless, which is great because I won’t have to worry about covering the nailheads But that also means they’re not very strong Creating that opposing geometry adds mechanical strength to the joint instead of just the friction of the wood squeezing the nail Another handy thing about pin nails is it’s really easy to know when you’ve run out of nails, really easy But the upside of doing this many boxes is that only happened to me about five times before I didn’t learn to pay attention to when the gun ran out of nails Then we set off to rough-sanding the boxes We’re doing it now after assembly for the same reason I mentioned earlier, less handling Instead of sanding 400 pieces, now it’s 100 pieces with four sides Also, apparently some of the short sides ended up getting ripped a little narrower than others Will set those aside as he went and I used a flush trim saw to even them out while he kept sanding Next up we’ll be finishing, so everything gets dusted off A wiser man would have been wearing a dust mask for this, a wiser man And I busted out the TotalBoat halcyon and sprayer again The inside of the boxes have been prefinished, except for the bottom, but it was pretty easy to spray the bottom of the inside and then all of the outside Fortunately, Will was still around and this was another time his help super-sped things up With him handing me boxes and stacking the sprayed boxes, I was able to pretty much constantly spray And by the time we finished the first go-around, the first boxes were already ready for a second coat Luckily, my spray gun isn’t very heavy, but there’s no amount of teenaged debauchery that could have prepared my forearms for a three-hour spray gun marathon Before the next step, I needed to dial in my drill press using an old machinist’s trick I noticed while doing the recesses that the table was slightly out of square with the quill, so I bent a welding electrode, a coat hanger would work too, and trucked it up, and then turned it around the table until it had even contact If I really wanted to get down to hair accuracy, I would have busted out the feeler gauges, but that’s excessive for my needs Anyway, why did I need to tweak the drill press? Well, the rabbet joints holding the box together are ingrained glue-ups, which aren’t very strong
The pin nails add some strength, but they were really just to hold the boxes together while the epoxy cured A stylish way to reinforce the joint would be dowels But, since I’m making these for Cartridge Brewery, a brew pub that’s going into the old Peters Cartridge Factory outside Cincinnati, Ohio, I figured how cool would it be if I used once-fired 9 millimeter brass casings as dowels Fortunately, the owner agreed In hindsight, 380 shells may have been a better choice and would have given me a little more wiggle room But anyway, I’m drilling a 10 millimeter hole in about a 15 millimeter thickness board, though my out-of-square table at the drill press could have ended up spelling disaster for me drilling these holes Of course, once again, I whipped together a quick jig to make lining up each hole automatic and accurate-ish It probably sounds stupid, but it wasn’t really until after drilling all those holes and moving them back onto my bench, that it set in just how many 100 is And, well, it’s 100 and that’s a lot A short push to my assembly table and it’s time to start pushing brass into holes When I made the first prototypes, I used epoxy, but I had a problem with it Due to the viscosity of the epoxy, it created a hydrolock when I tried to push the brass into the hole, which made it near-impossible to get the brass all the way down into the hole, because the air was trapped, and I was basically having to create an extra atmosphere of pressure inside the brass So, I switched to Starbond CA glue It’s a lot thinner and I only had airlock issues on a couple of them Mostly this went really smooth, except for later when I realized that I missed about half-a-dozen of these boxes on one side somehow Anyway, now to start working on some of the accoutrement like the leather brand badges I decided to hit easy mode, and fortunately, my local Tandy Leather had these practice pieces precut to the perfect size for my badges I just had to heat up a brand and try to burn the logo in the center of them And this was probably the most straightforward process Unfortunately, I think only Hannibal would enjoy the smell And then later that night, off-camera in my pajamas, I got my Netflix and chill on with these badges and a big tub of leather conditioner The other accoutrement is to make a chalkboard to go on the boxes for the servers to label which glass has which beer in the beer flight For those, I broke down a four-by sheet of eighth-inch hardboard into individual pieces I really enjoy working with real wood, but it was actually nice to switch over to an engineered material where I wouldn’t have to worry about defects or tension, et cetera, everything that comes with a natural organic material Also, I was thinking completely backwards and cut all these upside-down from how I should have And for the third time my sprayer was a huge help in this project I thinned the chalkboard paint a bit and went to town It took me awhile to find a flow, though, because I wanted all the edges to be well-painted also Spraying before cutting would have been easier, but I was afraid that cutting would cause chip-out on the paint and I would have still had to come back again to paint off the edges anyway So, I’m spraying everything after cutting it off But I knew trying to hammer tacks through these and be consistent was going to be a super-pain So I whipped up yet another jig at the drill press and got to drilling A really boring job, again Thankfully, for once, finally, I was able to gang drill and plunge my bit through several at once It turned out that four pieces at a time seemed to be about the right amount And now to add the accoutrement and finish the box Will passed the great idea of picking up some tiny $2 pliers at Harbor Freight to hold the small tacks for the leather badge, which are a huge pain to hammer That made it a little easier And the chalkboards went on a bit easier because the holes help hold the tacks to get them started Unfortunately, off-camera, I had a box split while hammering in the tack, so I started predrilling all the holes for the chalkboards on the boxes So, only 396 more holes to drill and to drive 792 more brass tacks through chalkboard, paint and leather badges Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this, learned something or were at least entertained If I earned your subscription, don’t forget to do that and ring the bell When this video’s up, I’ll probably still be working on these And if you don’t hear from me for awhile, well, send help and then make time to make something