A while back I purchased some walnut to build a set of Piggy Banks for some friends of mine. The plans called for buying old, used post office box doors and then building the banks around the doors. I put the project aside for almost six months. Finally, I had a bunch of time on my hands so I started building the piggy banks. I haven’t done this kind of small, refined work for quite some time so there was a bit of trial and error at first. I made two at a time. It just takes a little time to prepare the wood. The plans call for 3/8 and 5/8 stock so there was a bit of planning involved with lots of wood chips.
Basically, it involved planing the wood to thickness, routing a dado on a long piece of 5/8 stock for the sides and bottom, cutting out the pieces and gluing them up. After the frame is glued up then you glue a thick 1” piece on top and drill out holes for the dowels that you see. The doweling material that I used was walnut. The dowels are for show only, not for structural strength. After it is all dried you cut the curve top portion on a band saw. Then it is just a bunch of sanding. The post office box doors are marked before assembly of the box section and the holes for the screws are pre-drilled on the drill press.
The plans call for a Shellac finish. I have never used Shellac. I did some test Shellacing on some scrap pieces of walnut and kind of got the hang of it. Each bank has 3 coats of Zinsser Bullseye Amber Shellac. The shellac really brings out the beauty of the walnut and the amber tone makes the banks look a lot older than they really are.
All in all a very fun project. I learned a lot about shellac and how to use it. It really is a different kind of finish that is for sure. The banks are functional. You can put coins in and open the post office box door anytime you wish. Be sure and check out the photo gallery of the production process.