One of the odd things you derive pleasure from as an industrial designer is knowing how various things are made. You see an ornate table leg and you picture the lathe; you choose one metal product over another at the hardware store because you can see the stamping quality is better; you touch a plastic housing and find yourself instinctively looking for the parting line.
Every once in a while you run across an object that makes you shudder, because you have just a vague idea of how it was made and you suspect it was a royal pain in the ass. That was what I felt when I first saw Texas-based Johnny the woodworker's checkered boxes, pictured here. I almost felt irritated when I saw them, because they instantly reminded me of those times when you were waiting to use the table saw in the ID shop at school, and you saw the complicated thing the person in front of you was working on and realized you were going to be waiting for a while.
Johnny (last name unrevealed) makes the checkered boxes from mahogany, walnut, bloodwood, cherry, purple heart and other woods, and sells them on his website in addition to checkered vases and regular boxes. Surprisingly, he's also made the plans available for free download. The manual for the hexagonal boxes is a hundred pages long, features 112 photos, and consists of 58 steps. "Fifty-eight steps sounds like a lot of steps," Johnny writes, "but each step is very easy. The hardest step is choosing and buying the wood you want to use."