Baby Teeth Boxes            11-2017

My oldest daughter, Stefanie, expressed interest in an unusual project that I just couldn't pass up. She wanted to know if I could make her a box that held baby teeth? I thought, sure...I could do that. But that was over a year ago and I finally decided to make it and give it to her as a Christmas present.

I'll be using black walnut and hard maple as these two species have a nice contrast together. I'll be putting the pockets for the teeth in the black walnut, again for contrast so they can be seen easier when viewing.

As you can see I'll be making three of them: one for Stefanie, one for my daughter Angela, and one for the future (we have four kids). It's easier to make a few the first time (whatever I'm making), than to re-think and re-engineer something at a later date.
 

 

 

The first order of business is squaring all the pieces. Here I'm surfacing the tops and bottoms.
 

 

 

Next I machined all the pockets for the teeth using a 1/2" diameter ball end mill.
 

 

 

Here are the X and Y coordinates for the pockets. I drew the shape in my CAD system and then plotted the points that would be used for each pocket. Once I was happy with everything, I transferred each pocket location into Excel and printed it out. If you noticed in the picture above, the shape that you see isn't a circle, it's an ellipse. The ellipse shape seems to be a better representation of the human mouth than a circle.
 

 

 

I used a 3/16" roundover bit for the top and bottom surfaces only. The opposite sides are just going to be lightly sanded.
 

 

 

I used a 3/8" roundover bit for the four corners.
 

 

 

Once they were sanded they looked much better and easier to handle.
 

 

 

I engraved each one with the appropriate name on the lid for a personal touch. I did this at my work on our CNC milling machine.
 

 

 

The hardware for this project is the smallest I've ever used. In fact, the holes in the hinges and latches were so small that they came with nails in place of screws.
 

 

 

I'm laying out the location for the hinges here. Once I had them in the right place I used a pencil to make the spots for the holes.
 

 

 

Here you can see the pencil marks for the nails.
 

 

 

I pre-drilled the holes undersize so it won't split the wood.
 

 

 

After all the holes were drilled, I gave them all five heavy coats of semi-gloss clear.
 

 

 

Here is the finished box for Stefanie's little one. Aidan is nine years old now and I had Stef open her present well before Christmas day so he didn't ask any questions....if you know what I mean!!
 

 

 

Here you can see the ellipse shape a little better. Notice the small gap between the upper and lower pockets. This will help mom with putting the teeth in the right spots.
 

 

 

Stefanie really liked her gift and I hope my daughter Angela likes hers too.