I built a shadow box/flag display case for my grandfather's medals from WW2 and the flag from his funeral. My dad brought me his flag and medals a couple years ago, and this project has been on the to-do list for awhile.

I started by cutting the sides to length and mitering each corner to 45 degrees.

image

Next I ripped an inch from the sides to make the box top and cut a slot for the front plexiglass to fit into.

image

Then I clamped it up and let it dry.

image

Next I started on the main box, which had the added complication of a diagonal piece to separate the flag from the rest of the box.

image

Once I got the diagonal piece to fit, I cut slots in each to accommodate the backing of the box.

image

For the backing, I glued some felt to plywood using some spray adhesive.

image

While the backing dried, I finished up the lid. I wanted to add some splines to the corners to strengthen the joint and add a little flair. I built a simple jig to hold the lid at 45 degrees so I could run it across the table saw and create a 45 degree slot for the splines.

image

Here you can see a piece of oak in the corner to test the fit.

image

I originally was going to use some oak scrap, but I wanted more contrast between the spline and main body. I had a small piece of Koa wood that I brought back from Hawaii last year that I thought would be perfect to use for the splines, so I trimmed off a small piece and cut 4 small triangles.

image

Here you can see a closeup of the spline after I trimmed it down.

image

After that was done, I cut the excess felt away from the backing pieces...

image

...and then did a test fit to make sure everything fit together well.

image

After gluing everything up, sanding, and finishing with danish oil, I added the hinges. Here I started by marking the outline of the hinge with a striking knife.

image

Then I cut a shallow mortise for the hinge to sit in, using the lines from the striking knife as a guide.

image

After I finished the hinges, I added a magnetic closure in one corner of the box.

image

Here you can see the completed box and the splines.

image

Here's a shot from the top with the lid on.

image

And here's a clearer shot without the glare from the lid.

image

The woodworking part is done, but I'm still working on the interior. I need to mount the medals/badges, and I'm planning to get a small plaque made with his name and dates of service. Maybe a picture if I can find a decent one of him in uniform. Not sure if one exists.

Back Home