This is my DIY Wine Ceremony Box Project. It is a four part series of articles that will show you in a step by step manner how to make a wine ceremony box. The first part has already been covered, and if you have been following along, you have your box already. This part of the project covers adding decorative binding, and the next two will cover adding an inlaid monogram, and finishing. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
Adding Exotic Wood Binding to the Top of the Wine Box
For this project, I had some Cocobolo binding strips that I made for an acoustic guitar I was working on. They were already cut to size, and I had several to work with.
Binding strips can be found online at guitar making suppliers, or locally in fine woodworking stores. The strips tend to be about three feet long, 1/4″ tall, and anywhere from 1/16″ to 1/8″ thick. It really does not matter what height or thickness strip you purchase, because you will set the router table to the size you need. For reference, my strips are 5/16″ tall and 1/8″ thick.
If you are using Cocobolo, like on my wine ceremony box, make sure you are wearing a respirator until you know how you will react to the wood. Many people have a high sensitivity to this species, and some can’t even use it. If you don’t know, make sure to protect yourself.
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This process is easiest on a router table, but can be done on the table saw as well. Since my strips were a little bigger than the diameter of my router bit, I had to make a couple passes.
The inside portion of the strips need to be located 3/4″ from the outside edge of the ends of the box. Put a flute bit into the router table, and set the depth to be a little shallower than the thickness of your strips. Then, set the fence so that the farthest edge of the bit is 3/4″ away.
Make a pass, and check your fit. If the channel needs to be wider, move the fence closer and make more passes until it presses in by hand. You should not have to force the binding strip. It should fit cleanly and snugly without needing to press hard.
Make two channels like this, each one going across the top of the box and lid. Both will be 3/4″ away from the ends of the box at the farthest point. If you make both of your first passes on each end, then repeat each new pass on both sides, your fitting process will go by much faster and you will have better results. Also, make sure to hold the lid in place while you route. A small clamp on the end can keep it from moving.
First, cut a strip of your binding material to a little longer than the channel on the top of the lid. Then, apply glue. Make sure to get the glue into the walls of the channel as well as on the bottom.
Press the strip in place by hand, firmly seating it at the bottom of the channel. Apply clamps to hold the binding strip in place, and the wine ceremony box lid can be set aside to dry.
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Apply glue as before, getting it spread on the walls of the channel as well as the bottom. Then, put the binding strip in place with a little overhang on each end.
Finally, add some clamps to hold it in place. If you wipe off as much of the glue residue as possible, it will really help you later. The pieces are going to be sanded flush, so any excess glue will need to be sanded through as well.
Cut a couple smaller pieces that still overhang the edges slightly. Apply glue, and clamp them both securely.
Make sure that you are checking your work as you clamp each of these strips. It only takes a second to ensure that the strips fit well, and are flush to the bottom of the channel. It will not be easy to see except on the ends, but you want to try and avoid any gaps. It’s easy to do if you look for them, and all you need to do is tighten your clamps to correct them
Remove the clamps from the smaller pieces on the wine ceremony box and check them for gaps. If you see any, the area can always be routed again, and a new piece glued in.
If the piece looks good, sand the overhangs flush with sandpaper wrapped around a block. Work the ends carefully, so you do not break them. Then, sand the tops flush to the surrounding wood.
The part that is exposed inside the box needs to remain in tact as you sand. This will butt up right against the lid, so any dips or gaps will be very easy to see.
Start by sanding the overhanging ends of the binding strips with sandpaper and a block. Work them carefully until they are flush to the rest of the wood. Then, carefully sand and clean up any glue residue from the exposed edge of the strip. Finally, sand the entire strip flush to the surface of the wine box.
The only difference is that you need to make sure that you do not alter the flatness of the edges of the lid. Again, this will show as gaps in the final look. Slowly and carefully sand until the edges are flush, then stop.
Next, sand the top of the strip until it lays flush to the surface of the lid. This can be done with the same block, or you can do it with an orbital sander. If you inlaid it very close to flush in the first place, the sanding will be minimal.
Binding The Faces of The Wine Ceremony Box
You can use the same setup on the router table to create these rabbets all the way around the faces of the box. Or, you can use a rabbeting bit and that will work too.
On both faces, you need to create rabbets on all four sides that are just slightly smaller than the binding strips. If you get them incredibly close, you will have a much easier time sanding them later in the process. Take your time, use a test board, and then cut all four sides on both faces.
Cut a piece of your binding material a little longer than the end of the box, and trim it slowly until it perfectly fits like you see in the picture on the left.
If you trim it well, and fit it well, you will not need to sand it afterwards to fit the two long strips. Use a piece of binding strip on each end to help you fit the smaller strip. Once it fits with no gaps, you can glue it in place. For this I use masking tape, because the strip does not need much force to stay in place.
Cut a piece that is a little longer than the length of the box, and test fit the piece without any glue. If it fits well, apply glue. Make sure to get it on the wall of the rabbet as well as the bottom, and tape the piece. Work from one end to the other, pressing the piece with one hand, and applying tape with the other. If your piece was fairly straight, and your rabbets done well, it will not take much force to press the binding strip into place.
Once you have the binding in place on the wine ceremony box, go back and inspect the joints to make sure that there are no gaps. It will become a big deal later on if you don’t address them now.
Also, feel free to add more tape, or even add some clamps if you feel that you need more pressure. It’s better to have them now than wish you had them later. Once you are satisfied, set the piece aside to dry.
Begin with the shorter pieces that go on the ends. Trim them well, using binding strips on the ends to help you fit them. Glue them in place, then move on to the longer pieces.
Cut the longer strips, and glue them in one at a time. Use as much tape as you need. Add clamps if you have a tough area that wont settle down, and allow the wine box to dry for several hours. Remove the tape when dry.
Anywhere that the binding strips are hanging over the body, start sanding them flush with sandpaper and a block. Work them one at a time, and be careful not to break the ends.
Move around the box like this, flushing out all of the ends that are hanging over. If you use a block and sandpaper, the edges will come out perfectly flat. This is because the block targets the higher spots, and sands everything evenly.
Anywhere that the binding strips hang over, start sanding with a palm sander. If you do not have a power sander, use a block and sandpaper.
Work each face of the box one at a time. This is the easiest way to ensure that you will get everything nice and level. Once you have a face completed, move to the next face. If you inlaid the strips close to flush, the sanding process will not take very long. Also, make sure that you sand through any glue residue, as it will alter the look of the finish.
Filling Defects On the Wine Ceremony Box
Next, it’s time to fill any gaps or defects. Most woodworkers use wood filler. In some circles it’s considered a huge no-no, but for the average woodworker, a couple fills are going to be needed from time to time.
I really like the two part fillers that harden through reaction. These are a little different than the wood dough products you can find in a hardware store. Mohawk makes an excellent two part product, and all you have to do is cut some from the end of the stick. You mix it in your hands, and then press it into the defects. There are a couple other brands that have a similar product, but I have not used them myself.
I have full instructions for using Mohawk two part filler in another article. It’s a straight forward product, and you really can’t get it wrong.
After the product dries, sand the areas flush with sandpaper and a block. Make sure to sand until all the filler residue is gone. This is the way you know that you only have filler inside the defect, and not still on the surface.
For my box, I rounded them only slightly, and broke all the sharp edges with sandpaper. I recommend that you do the same thing.
Use some 220 grit sandpaper, and work around all the edges. Round them all off slightly, and run a finger along them. Do this carefully, and feel for sharp areas. If you find a spot, sand it more until it’s smooth. Do every edge, and check your work several times. You do not want someone holding your masterpiece and hurting themselves.
The next article covers adding a personalized family monogram. This is an easy inlay technique, and is a great way to accomplish a complex design quickly.
Then, the final step is to finish the box by hand, and drill/make two hardwood pegs to seal the box. If you do not want to do the inlay, you can skip right to the finish article, and you will be very close to complete. If you missed the first article where the box was constructed, you can find it here.
If you have any questions on my DIY Wine Ceremony Box Project, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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