In the early nineteenth century, finding inexpensive and efficient ways of storing things could be a bit of a challenge. Cardboard boxes, Tupperware™, and Ziploc™ bags would not be invented until a hundred years later. One solution arrived at by the ever practical and efficient shakers was the oval bentwood box. Oval boxes hold a lot with very little wood and are relatively quick and easy to make. One of their best features is that they are designed to store compactly one inside another, so as not to waste valuable cabinet space when not in use.
The construction of an oval box begins with two bands of veneer: one for the box, one for the lid. Fingers are cut in one end of the band and holes drilled for the tacks which secure the band once it has been bent into an oval shape. The fingers serve to reinforce the main tacked joint. The other end of the band is tapered in thickness to provide a smooth transition where the veneer overlaps once it has been bent into an oval shape.
The veneer bands are boiled to soften them, and then they are bent to the desired shape and held with copper tacks, which are clinched (bent over in back) to secure the joint. After drying, the bands are fitted with a solid wood top and bottom and finished. I have added hand carved pieces on the top, completing the box. The entire box, including carved parts, were made in my shop by me.