How We Make Them

Lambeth Lions Memory Boxes are handmade in Lion Gary Martins' basement workshop. All time and talent is donated by the members. The costs for the materials, supplies and consumables are provided by the club. The major tools and equipment are provided by the member.


Lambeth Lions produce approximately 70 boxes per year which are donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) at the Children’s Hospital as well as the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London, Ontario.

Each Memory Box takes about ten hours to complete. We start with very high quality rough sawn red oak which is provided by a fellow Hyde Park Lion, Roy Philmore.



The sides and lid are made from rough sawn red oak while the floor is made from red oak veneer plywood.



The walls of the box are joined with random spaced through or half-blind dovetails of various shapes and designs.  One of our favourite designs is called "Teddy Bear Ears".




Box Walls

After dressing the red oak material and cutting it to length and width, we cut the dovetail tails on the front and back and the dovetail pins on the sides. The inside faces of the boxes are then sanded to 180 grit. The boxes are then glued, assembled and clamped.  Due to the design of the dovetail joinery, no screws or nails are needed. The exterior of the box is then sanded to 180 grit.  A rabbet is then routed on the bottom of each box to hold the recessed floor.



After dressing to 7/8” thick and one jointed edge, the material is cut into approximately four inch strips, rejoined and glued together to form 12” wide boards. This step helps ensure that the lids do not warp. The boards are then thickness planed to ¾” thickness, cut to final dimensions and the edges routed to shape. This is followed by sanding to 180 grit.





The floor is cut to final dimensions, corners rounded to fit the rabbeted box and sanded to 180 grit.


All parts are then sprayed with five coats of General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane water based satin finish with sanding at 220 grit after the second and fourth coats.


The bottoms are then secured and the hinges installed.


Final Step

The finished boxes are delivered as needed to the NICU (Neonatal and Critical Care Unit) and the PCCU (Paediatric Critical Care Unit) at London Childrens Hospital, ever thankful that we are able to support our families in a time of unimaginable grief.


Every member of our club participates in some way towards the provision of the boxes. Every Lion contributes according to his/her particular skills, strengths and interests whether it be helping to raise the funding required or cutting the dovetails.  We are indebted to each and every Lion in Lambeth Lions Club for their support of this project.