I went down to the wood shop and made some precise calculations and decided that the existing shelf was about 1 1/2" thick, which surprised me as the shelf didn't feel that thick. But being the meathead that I am at times, I decided this was correct and to plan the turn around that measurement. I placed the box back on the lathe and proceeded to drill a 1" x 1/2" hole in the center of the shelf. That would help to establish the depth of turn so I wouldn't remove to much wood:
Here is the hole in the center:
And I took a 1/4" bowl gouge and proceeded to very gently shave away at the shelf until the level of the shelf matched the depth of the hole in the center:
That part of the turn went well. So I decided to repeat that method and drill another 1/2" deep hole and then the resulting shelf would be about 1/2". So I drilled the hole...
...and horror of horrors, I drilled through the shelf unintentionally-Gaahhh! I miscalculated the thickness of the shelf by a full 1/2". After I caught my breath, I looked carefully at the shelf. It was about 1/2" in thickness and the good news was is it was thick enough and strong enough to support the mechanism:
I thinned down the shelf by about 1/8" of an inch more and then I took it off the lathe and dropped the mechanism inside and the key fit inside the hole perfectly:
Here you can see the key protruding out of the bottom:
And here is the music box mechanism inside the top of the box:
Talk about dumb luck!! I thought this was going to take all afternoon. I've been dreading this part of the turn since I began the project! It took all of 5 minutes to do!
The turning portion of this project is now done. All I have left to do is the final sanding and applying the finish.
I need to run out and purchase some small wood turning screws for the box. I'll probably post again later today after I've applied a preliminary layer of varnish to the box.
I like to think it was my immense skill as a wood turner that saved the day but it was probably the wood fairies who made this possible.