It is that time of year that we think of all of the things this country has been through. July 4th is the day we here in the U.S. celebrate our independence. This among with all of the freedoms we here take advantage of on a daily basis is forged on the backs of our men and women in the military. I was recently contacted by a gentleman looking for a memorial flag case for the memorial flag of his grandfather. This was an honor I was excited to take on and I wanted to provide him and his family with a true monument for his grandfather.
I started with a rough swan board of Mahogany. This would be a beautiful wood to make this case from. It would give the case a very clean an classy look. The first step was to cut the board into the proper lengths for the outer sides of the case.
As I do not have a planner or jointer at the moment I decided to dimension the board using the I2r-8 UCCNC from i2r.com. This along with a 1inch flattening bit from Bits&bits made for a perfect combo to achieve the perfect thickness on these boards. If you have a router plane jig or cnc and plan to use this to do your thickness planing the trick is to swap though each board before moving your cut depth. This will ensure that you are getting the same thickness on each board as you run them.
For jointing the board I used a jointer sled jig on the Metabo Tablesaw. The sled allows you to cut one edge of the board perfectly straight so that it maybe then ran through the table saw for its final dimension. I will be releasing a video on how to build one of these for yourself soon so keep an eye out for that. The jig worked perfectly and allowed me to safely run the board through the table saw cut them to the proper size.
After running the boards through the table saw to the final size I kept the off cut pieces as they would be used for another element in the case later on.
With the boards to size it was time to add in the bevels that would give this flag case its shape. To do this you need to use a tenoning jig. This can be a jig that you make or one you purchase. That being said I borrowed one from a friend as I did not have a chance to make one yet. This tenoning jig worked great and if you make one yourself they do work great as well just make sure that is is a jig you trust to use. These can be very dangerous cuts so do not cut any corners safety first. There will be 2 different angles that need to be cut to create the proper shape for this case. First is the base. There are two 22.5 degrees angles on the base of the case. The lower end of each vertical arm are also going to be cut at 22.5 degrees. The other ends of the arms of the case will have a 45 degree cut. While making these cuts make sure to be accurate as you can be as the more accurate the cuts the tighter the seams of the case will be.
After cutting all of the bevels into place in the arms and base. It was time to add in the details to the arms of the case. These were just simple elements that would make this case a bit more personal. This case will house the flag of an army veteran so with that in mind I added the army insignia to the arms as well as some stripes that would be filled with red white and blue epoxy later on. These were cut out with both the 90 degree v-bit and the 1/8th inch end-mill from bitsbits.com. The cuts came out perfect and extremely clean. I was also able to slow down the feed rate at critical moments to make sure the cuts smooth with pretty much not tear out.
To do the epoxy pours I first started by spraying the top of the board and the cuts from the cnc with clear lacquer clear coat. The purpose of this clear coat is to create a layer for the epoxy to adhere to with out bleeding into the grains of the wood. This give the edges of the epoxy pours a very clean crisp edge. This trick will be used later on I the case build as well so keep it in the back of your mind. After the clear coat had fully cured I then mixed up the Total Boat Epoxy with the colors from Kp Pigments. Make sure to only mix one color at a time so that you do not risk the epoxy starting to solidify during the multiple pours. You can also use a paint scraper or puddy knife to spread the epoxy and fatten out inside the cuts you made. This will make the sanding process much easier. Let the epoxy cure completely before you start the rough sanding process.
While the epoxy was curing I went back to the cnc and started working on an engraved lexan plate that would go on the front of the the case this would be a nice personalized piece. For this I used a diamond drag bit this is one cool bit. You do not have to have the spindle of the cnc running to use this bit. It uses a small piece of diamond on the end of a spring loaded bit to ensure the bit does not apply to much pressure to the surface of your material. This looked great on the lexan and when the LED lights are added later it will look amazing. I then used a torch to slightly heat up the edges of the lexan plate this would heat the grains of the lexan and allow them to meld together and form a bit of a clearer edge. Be careful not to hold the heat in any one spot and also do not let the lexan get to hot. It will cause the plate to warp, melt or become distorted. Also holding the heat to long on the edge can cause the edge to bubble. One other thing to watch for is your fingers do not burn yourself. (Preform this at your own risk).
Once the epoxy is cured and rough sanded you can make an corrections or fix any problems with the epoxy if any arise. Do this before assembling the main sections of the case. To assemble start by laying out a long piece of 2 inch wide masking tape. Then lay out the sections of the case onto the tape with the epoxy sides against the tape. Line up all of the sides so that once lifted into place all of the seams tighten up to hold them into place as well as make sure they do not have any edges that are hanging over. With this process you do not need to apply clamps the tape when done properly will pull the seams tightly together and will hold the seams while the glue dries. After a few minutes when the glue is in a gel like sate remove any excess from the sides and allow the glue to completely dry. I was using Titebond III and I allow the case to set for about 24 hours before moving on to the next step.
While the glue on the main body of the case was drying I moved on to working on the outer fascia of the case this is the component of the case that stops the flag from falling out of the front of the case. This was going to be made from the cutout pieces made earlier while making the main arms of the case. I started by cutting the pieces to the proper width using the Metabo Tablesaw. Once the pieces are cut to the proper width then using the Metabo Tablesaw and the miter gauge I cut the pieces to length while also cutting the ends to the proper angle to create the proper triangle. After cutting all of the pieces to length I used some 2 inch masking tape to hold the front fascia in place while adding some Titebond III wood glue to hold the fascia in place. Make sure to use plenty of clamps to hold the fascia into place and let the glue completely dry before moving the case.
While the front fascia was drying I went back to the cnc to create the front plate of the case. This plate serves two purposes. First this was another piece that would be personalized to add to the meaning of the case the second is to cover the from lower joints of the main body of the case. With angled joints like these it is very hard to get a joint that can not be spotted due to the grain structure not having perfect alignment between the two boards. Once the front plate was engraved I used the same process as before to apply color inside the engraving. First spray the board with a clear coat layer then allow that to completely dry, Then once dry apply the color inside the engraving sit the piece to the side and allow to completely dry.
During the downtime I also used the I2r-8 UCCNC to cut out the back plate for the case. After cutting the back plate I then marked to marks on the case at equal distances from the ends of the case, This would be the mounting points for the pins and slot to hold on the back of the case. Once the marks are in place hold the back so it does not move and drill a 1/8th inch hole at a tad bit over 1/8th of an inch from the edge of the back. Make sure to drill the hole through the back and into the back of the base of the case. This will be the mounting points for the pins. Using a chisel or band saw square out the hole so that it becomes a slot that slide over the pin that will be installed in the back of the case.
To install the pins I used a small amount of StarBond Adhesives Ca Glue to hold the pin into place. Once the pin is into place use a hammer and the backing board to tap the pin down until it is flush with the back of the backer board.
To hold the top of the backer board into place I was going to be using a Neodymium magnet. To place the magnet properly I measured and marked a point from one edge of the backer board to proper spacing to allow for the magnet to sit into the back edge of one of the arms of the case and line up to magnet mounted in the backer board. First drill a small hole that will be used to align the Forstner Bit. Make sure not to drill to deep as you want the magnet to sit flush with the edges of the case and board.
You can now install the magnets into place even though I did not do this until later on. I installed the magnets using StarBond Adhesives Ca Glue this is a straight forward process just try not to use to much glue and cause a high spot. Use 320 grit sand paper to clean up any excess if needed.
Now you can sand the excess color from the front place that was made earlier. The clear coat should have stopped any bleed through of the color and the color should be easily sanded away with the rest of the clear on the top of the board. Once it is sanded it was time to place the from face onto the case. First mark the center of the front edge of the case and the center of the front face board. Align these two marks up and mark the edges along the sides of the case use this mark to cut off the ends of the front face to perfectly match the angle of the cases sides.
To attach the front face I used some Titebond III glue and a couple of brad nails to hold the face in place while the glue cured. Make sure to line up the edges of the face before adding the nails
While letting the glue on the front face cure I wanted to make a small plate for the peak of the case this like the front face plate would cover the seam line as well as add a nice detailed touch. This was going to be the army insignia star. After cutting it out I use the orbital sander to clean up the edges of the patch. The patch would then be installed later on using StarBond Adhesives Ca Glue and masking tape to ensure a straight alignment.
Before installing the patch on the peak of the case I sanded the entire case to at least 320 grit then also wet sanded the epoxy to around 6000 grit with micromesh. This gave the epoxy a nice smooth finish. When done sanding I installed the patch on the peak of the case. Marking equal distance marks from the bottom face of the case and then using masking tape to ensure that the patch was straight and in line with the bottom face of the case.
The final step before finishing is to install the lexan plate as well as the led strips that will light the case. The installment of the led lights are straight forward using the adhesive backing strip on the led lights. The backer board will need to be slightly modified as well to allow for the led wires if you plan on installing them as well. The clip for the lights is held in place with a small drop of glue and the lexan place was glued into place using StarBond Adhesives Ca Glue then starting with a small bit and stepping up to 1/8th inch drilling pilot holes and installing small flat head screws.
For finish I went with Danish Oil this would really bring out the color and gain of this beautiful Mahogany as well as adding a bit of protection for the wood. Its also a breeze to apply by flooding the wood then allowing it to penetrate for around 15 minutes then whipping away the excess. Then repeat the process until satisfied.
I am a huge supporter of our military and service member so this project has really meant a lot to me I really am honored to have the chance to make this and make something that will become a memorial to this soldier. With the 4th of July here in 2019 I hope you all have an amazing holiday and safe time with your families. Thank you to all of our service men and women for all you and your families do and for keeping this great county of ours safe and free!
What do you guys think of the case? What touches would you like to see added. Let me know in the comments of the video. Make sure to Subscribe on YouTube. Also hit follow on Instagram or look me up @jpaywoodworking. There are plans in the works if you would like to build one of these cases for yourself. I will be posting links in the article when the plans are released.
If you are interested in the i2r- UCCNC check them out here at i2rcnc.com
If you are interested in any of the bits i used in this project check out bitsbits.com use code jpayne15 for 15% off.
To order any of the pigments used check out kppigments.com and use promo code jpayne for 15% off your entire cart.
For any of the tools or materials used check out the links below:
Dewalt Brushless Drill Combo – https://amzn.to/306ERaI
Metabo C10RJ Table Saw- https://amzn.to/2Xu4OEE
Ryobi Forstner Bit Set – https://amzn.to/2JlEi6i
Total Boat Epoxy – http://totalboat.refr.cc/jeremyp
Pigments – kppigments.com
Startbond Adhesives- https://www.starbond.com?rfsn=2359259…
Band Saw – https://amzn.to/2Vxynzs
Danish Oil Finish – https://amzn.to/2xwIlaw
Kobalt chisel set – https://amzn.to/2Lz3EQV
Ryobi orbital sander – https://amzn.to/2JscY6f
Led strip – https://amzn.to/2Xx3AbL