For me, woodworking is about building things and having fun doing it. I'm lucky in that most of the things I build are items that I have choosen to make, but once in a while I get requests for things that are either hard to find or are not easily available other than to have someone build them. This seemingly simple tissue dispenser turned out to be a lot of fun, I got to use a whole range of tools, even on this small build, and I did something I have never done before which is to purchase commercially available molding and use it for creating or augmenting something I build.
I have seldom spent much time looking at molding in the lumber store and was surprised and how little variety there was when it comes to wide material with any kind of sculpture design. There was lots of plain molding, but not much in the "fancy" category, but I selected a couple that I thought might work. One was a baseboard molding which I finally decided against, the other was a crown molding piece molding with a bit more charcter to it.
My challenge was to make a wall mount kleenex or tissue holder and dispenser and someone even gave me a tiny picture as an idea to help me with the build. I had no idea on sizes so went out to purchase a tissue box. To my amazement there are many different kinds and all sorts of different boxes, and none of them exactly the same ... similar, but not the same. I decided the best way to do this was to build for the largest tissue box and that way it would accomodate the smaller boxes too.
Once I had the measurements, time to cut the crown molding. I have long had issues with cutting 45 degree pieces so I knew I had to take my time and make sure I made the correct cuts to make the side of the box ... and sure enough, I cut one wrong and had to re-cut it. The nice thing with 3 sided 45 degree cuts is the joints are always perfect, it's the 4 sided versions that need to be the most precise. After I had my 3 sides of the frame cut and they were the sized I needed, the only other thing I needed to do was cut a rabbett along the back of the sides so that the back of the holder would be supported and have a place to attach it to a wall. I made my holes in the back to equal center lines of 6 inches. This means that whoever is going to install this holder, all they need to do is out 2 screws in the wall, level with one another and 6 inches - exactly - apart.
Cutting the plate for the bottom also needed some adjustments as the bottom is slightly off-set because of the way the tissue boxes sit in the holder. In order to make sure it was solid, I cut the bottom with my scroll saw (could also have used my jig saw) to ensure the bottom was one solid piece with the hole cut out for the tissues to come through.
All the components were assembled using 2 part, 5 minute curing, epoxy glue. This glue is very handy when gluing end grain as it gives a solid bonding in only 5 minutes and holds extremely well because it doesn't soak into the end grain wood like carpenters glues often do.
Once the main body of the holder was assembled, the final component was the top, and just cutting some wood to size and triing it on, it was clear that the top needed to have the end grain sculpted in some way as well to mirror the bottom section and help give the whole box a more elegant look.
I painted the top with a good quality latex paint which also happened to match the sides ... lucky on that one too ....
Once the glue was dry, the last and most crucial step ... would the tissue holder work. I pulled the top off the box of tissue I had purchased, installed it updide down so it would dispense, and try the first few sheets. The first tissue ripped in half when I tried to pull it out, the second was good, the third stretched and every one after that was fine ... it workeed !!
All in all this was fun project, not as easy as it seemed and a lot of thought needed to go into how to hang the box, which sides of the box needed to be cut to size and what that size was and how it would all be assembled. All in all, anothe fun, educational project ...
Copyright Colin Knecht