How to Make a Wooden Match Safe

A match safe is a container usually made of plastic or metal that is used for holding wooden matches. In this article I will show you how to make your own match safe out of wood.

We will use an 8″ length of wooden dowel that is 1″ in diameter to make our match safe. You could also use a straight piece of tree limb of the same size, but if you do, make sure it is seasoned wood and not green.

Here are the tools you will need:

* Saw

* Vise or clamp

* Ice pick

* Whittling knife

* Sandpaper

Begin by whittling or sanding one end of the dowel or limb until it is squared off and level. Then measure 3 1/4″ from the level end and mark it. Wrap a piece of paper around the dowel to make an even line around the circumference. Then saw off the 3 1/4″ piece.

Smooth and square off the sawed end and mark the exact center with an ice pick. Start a pilot hole by twisting your ice pick into the dowel until it is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ deep, turning the dowel several times and eyeing the ice pick as you twist to keep it parallel with the sides of the dowel. Be careful so that your ice pick does not slip.

Next, select a 1/8″ drill bit to widen the pilot hole. The 1/8″ drill bit probably won’t be 3 inches long, but you will use progressively larger and larger bits to enlarge the hole to a depth of 3″ and 1/2″ in diameter. Mark the bits with tape for a depth gauge. Also, for safety reasons, don’t hold the dowel in your hand while drilling. Wrap it with paper or cardboard and hold it in a vice, or use some kind of clamp.

After drilling out your 1/2″ diameter hole 3″ deep, wrap sandpaper around a smaller diameter dowel and smooth out the inside.

Now pick up the other section of the dowel you cut earlier. This will be the cap or lid to your match safe. Measure 3/4″ in from the flat end and mark around the entire circumference. Deepen this circumference line carefully with your knife and then carve off the entire 3/4″ section of the dowel so that it will fit into the drilled portion of the match safe body. After achieving the proper fit, measure off a length of exactly 1 3/4″ and then saw it off to get the exact length of the cap for your match safe. When carving away the 3/4″ section that goes into the drilled out hole, don’t worry too much if you over carve it because you can melt candle wax on the unlevel parts, which will “shim” it to the proper fit. Now sand, smooth, oil (mineral oil is probably the best to use) and wax your new match safe and it will be finished.

That is all there is to making a wooden match safe with a very basic and simple design. Feel free to experiment with other shapes and sizes. While most match safes are square or round, I have seen some shaped like insects and animals. They can also be decorated with phrases and designs of your choice as well. Keep in mind that your match safe can also function as a needle case.

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