DIRESTA Ice Pick Shadow Box

In Tutorial by jackmanworks@gmail.com

A tribute to the one and only Jimmy Diresta: Maker Extraordinaire. I felt the Jimmy casting was missing the typical Diresta flare, therefore I transformed him into an ice pick…it’s what he would have wanted.

Box is made from a reclaimed oak door frame. Aluminum dowels hold on the front of the box with nothing but friction. The block is made from pallet wood with a screw used as a pivot point for the center piece. Ice pick spike is a metal rod salvaged from a printer that was rescued from the dumpster. Clear material used in the front is plexiglass with custom vinyl lettering.


Notable Materials
Diresta action figure
Metal rod (salvaged from a printer)
30 minute epoxy http://amzn.to/2kIH4J2
Reclaimed oak
Black spray paint
Painters tape http://amzn.to/2jO5Gva
Wood glue http://amzn.to/2kID2jI
Pallet wood
Vinyl decal
Red dye http://amzn.to/2eOQuxL
Spray polyurethane http://amzn.to/2q1NrJm

Notable Tools
Drill http://amzn.to/2wy5wSZ
Bench top belt sander http://amzn.to/2jmRXik
Drill press http://amzn.to/2jgpN57
Thickness planer http://amzn.to/2j4ISuI
Palm router http://amzn.to/2obmZeX
Chisel http://amzn.to/2iDRapV
Random orbital sander http://amzn.to/2jrwsJC
Pipe clamps http://amzn.to/2jkLLbO
Screw clamps http://amzn.to/2k4EvjT
Table saw http://amzn.to/2j4bvVU
Miter saw http://amzn.to/2j614UM
Spring clamps http://amzn.to/2is48uW


Build Details:

It all starts with the Diresta doll casting… I mean action figure! He was selling these to help raise money for a maker space that he is building.

Second ingredient is this metal rod that was salvaged from a broken printer. I see those in the trash all the time and they are full of these rods and lots of cool gears too.

I stick the rod into my drill and run it along my belt sander to bring the end to a point.

I want to turn Jimmy into a literal Jimmy Diresta ice pick so I drill a hole in his foot to accept the spike. This was a painful experience, but we both made it through intact.

A hole is drill through the box that he is standing on too and then I have my literal Diresta ice pick. I can’t stop there though, this thing needs a sexy box! I measure to determine what size will be needed to conceal the spike.

The main frame of the box is made from the reclaimed oak door frame. I plane it down flat to an inch thick in my lunchbox planer and then cut the 4 sides to length on the miter saw leaving a couple extra inches in length so I can use box joints to fasten the corners together.

I decided the box was going to look a little naked just with the plane oak so I use a Diresta stencil to transfer the lettering onto each side.

I want to create a negative carving of this so I start with my palm router with an 1/8″ straight cut bit and cut around the letters.

Then it’s just a matter of carving around the letters to visually separate them from the surrounding area. I do this randomly digging out around the letters to create a really cool texture later.

When the carving is complete, I spray them down with black paint a second time with what will be a final accent color on the box.

The tape was just there to catch the over-spray, so that is removed and then the whole surface is sanded smooth to remove the excess paint and reveal the negative carving.

With that complete, I move over to the table saw with the pieces to cut out the finger joints on all of the ends. The jig I use is a simple table saw sled that cut through all of the boards at the same time, but my contractor saw doesn’t accept a dado stack so the width of my fingers is determined by the width of 2 blades stacked together. Blue paint is applied on the inside face by the ends of the board to catch the glue squeeze out.

I apply glue quickly to all of the fingers and then combined slam the box together with a mallet and clamp it together with some pipe clamps and screw clamps. You have to be really quick with this glue-up because of all of the surface area at these joints and the glue will dry faster than you’d expect.

The next day, with the glue dry, the box is removed from it’s clamps and each of the corners is sanded flush. Whenever doing finger joints, always leave the fingers slightly longer than you need them so you can sand them down flush. The alternative of shorter fingers doesn’t give you anything to work with.

With the box shape complete, I now cut off the front of the box back on the table saw. I just want a thin lid for the box so I cut off about 1/2″ from the front and then sand the surface smooth and soften the corners slightly.

Flipping it around and paying attention to the back of the box now, I use a rabeting bit in the router table to create a rabet around the inside edge of the back where a panel will be installed (I do the same in the front cover where plexi-glass will go). Then I just square off the corners with a chisel.

The backer panel is just a small piece of 1/4″ plywood which is cut to size and then stapled into place.

For the finish I’m picturing this as a kind of fire extinguisher cabinet with a fire truck red color, but I want to leave the inside surface with the natural oak color so I cover the inside edge with blue tape.

The coloring is a red dye that I apply with a rag to everything except the inside surface of the box. By using dye instead of paint you can still see the amazing grain of the oak piece, just colorized.

Attaching the front is something I played around with in my head for a little while until decided that contrasting this with some metal would look cool. I ended up getting my hands on a 3/8″ aluminum rod, so that’s what it ended up being. I measured out even spacing along the front and used painters tape to hold the cover in place while I drill with a forstner bit into the perimeter of the box.

I use my miter saw to cut up the aluminum dowel into small chunks that will fit into the depth of hole I drilled into the sides of the box.

These are held in place with a bit of 30 second epoxy in the bottom of each hole and then hammered to the bottom of the hole and sanded flush with the top of the lid of the box.

To conceal the giant spike, I cut up some pallet wood chunks and fit them into the bottom of the box.

The pieces are all glued and brad nailed together except for the center piece which is screwed into the piece next to it to act as a pivot point to get Jimmy in and out. The blocks to the left and right are glued in place with some wood glue.

The box and log are held in place with hot glue so that they don’t move when pulling out the ice pick.

Finish is applied to all of the wood pieces, I use spray polyurethane so I can reach all surfaces inside of the box.

I cut down some plexi-glass to fit inside the front lid of the box. This plexi is held in place with some super glue and I hold it in place while it dries with an excessive number of clamps.

Finishing piece is some custom vinyl lettering. I apply some blue tape to the front surface of the plexi to help with alignment and mark it where I want each line of lettering to be located and then I adhere them in place.

His cat Spike even got a spike of his own! 🙂