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Treasured Wood Jewelry Box New Castle DE

You’ll need very little wood to make this jewelry box. The star of the show is clearly the lid’s center panel. When you open the lid, you also see the bottom side of this fabulous piece.

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Treasured Wood Jewelry Box

Treasured Wood Jewelry Box

Make a big Splash with a small piece of rare wood. 

by Tom Caspar and Jon Stumbras

I’ll bet somewhere in the dark recesses of your shop you’ve squirreled away a small piece of special wood, just waiting for the right project. No doubt you’ve saved it to become the centerpiece of something well-crafted, small in scale and novel in design. This jewelry box is the perfect project to showcase that dusty board.

Select the Wood 

You’ll need very little wood to make this box. The star of the show is clearly the lid’s center panel. When you open the lid, you also see the bottom side of this fabulous piece. I used spalted big-leaf maple (see “Spalted Wood,” page 71), but you can use any piece of wood that has a fabulous curl, wild burl or unusual bird’s-eye pattern. 

For the rest of the exterior, it’s best to choose a rich but understated wood, so as not to detract from the panel. I chose mahogany for its warm color and lack of prominent grain. Walnut or cherry would also work well. If you’re conservative about cutting, you can get all the parts from a rough 4/4 or 5/4 board that’s 5-1/2 in. wide and 4 ft. long. 

For the interior trays, you’ll need a little 1/4-in. plywood and some 1/8-in.-thick solid wood that looks elegant, such as rosewood. I chose cocobolo. 

Build the Box

1. Resaw boards for the box’s sides (F, G, H) and the frame pieces that go around the lid (B, C) (Photo 1). It’s best to start with 1-1/4-in. (5/4) lumber and plane it to 1 in. thick. If you cut a dead straight line, however, and your wood is very stable, it’s possible to resaw rough 1-in. (4/4) boards. Make some extra pieces to help with machine setups later. Plane the lid pieces to 7/16 in. and the side pieces to 3/8 in. Rip the side parts to rough width (see Cutting List, below).

2. Cut 3/8-in.-wide box joints on all side pieces (Photo 2). Set the bit as high as the side is thick, so the box-joint fingers are flush when the joint is assembled. Begin cutting the box joints from the bottom edge of each piece.

4. Rip the box sides to final size. The exact width doesn’t matter, as long as each cut lines up exactly with the joint’s fingers or notches. Note that the back (G) is lower than the sides by the width of one box-joint finger.

5. Glue the box together (Photo 3). Cut spacers (J) to length so the hinge fits comfortably between them. Glue the spacers to the box. 

6. Glue the tray supports (K, L) to the inside of the box. Sand flat the bottom and top edges of the box (Photo 4). 

Frame the Lid

9. The lid’s raised panel (A) is the box’s centerpiece, so it pays to be particular about how the grain pattern is oriented. Make a simple window to figure out how to cut your showy wood (Photo 5). 

10. Cut grooves all the way around the panel (Photo 6; Fig. B, below). Cut the ends fi...

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