A coworker who was planning for his retirement from the Air Force approached me about building him a shadowbox for the occasion. He didn't have an exact picture in his head as to what he wanted, but he did want the symbol and room for the flag in the base. Apart from that, he left me to my devices.
I created a box with a clipped top that extended the lines of the symbol but not to the point of looking awkward. The box has three levels: the box which contains the items, the front panel and the stripes.
The stripes were stained darker than the rest of the box for extra definition and the edges were treated with a 45 degree chamfer. Although I was hoping for a bigger difference between the stains, it was enough to be noticeable.
The front panel behind the symbol is 3/4" thick while the top and bottom are closer to 1/4" and are similarly treated with a chamfered edge. I used hand chisels to trim the interior corners.
The frame on the back was where I started, as well as the cause of some initial angst. I was afraid there would be multiple opportunities to err in snaking the blocks behind the symbol, and then have the joints be strong enough to support the weight.
The top of the flag box features a handmade variable box joint for extra strength and hidden splines are cut into the sides to seat the upper half of the box. This was also supported by the fixed shelf above.
The front was fitted with plexiglas and the back is covered with blue suede fabric.