Jewelry Box Contest

to return to winners page.

ere, in no particular order, are the rest of the entries in our Jewelry Box Contest. Our judges have weighed in with comments on some, but not all of the entries. Our congratulations go out to all contestants along with our sincere thanks for the great ideas and the inspiration that your work offers to everyone who visits here. I know you all will enjoy your subscription to Popular Woodworking magazine.
... Ellis Walentine, Host

Chesterfield, VA

In the past few years, I have become very interested in 18th century reproductions. This past year, I had the opportunity of building a replica of an 18th century French double concert harpsichord. During a break in that project, I constructed this jewelry box, a miniature of an 18th century silver chest.
     The piece was made using a single board from a walnut tree that was felled in Washington, D.C. over thirty years ago. The secondary wood, for the drawers, is cherry. As I had no drawn plans for this piece, I simply scaled the silver chest to exactly one-third size.

     There are numerous miter joints in the case and base, all done with a Dubby slide. This was my first attempt at cabriole legs which were done using the bandsaw, lathe and hand tools. Instructions for the cabriole legs were taken from Lonnie Bird's book on shaping, and his article in FWW. I must admit there were some broken pieces before I was satisfied with the four legs used in this project.
    The original silver chest had four drawers, and the top was permanently affixed. In an effort to adapt this piece for jewelry use, I eliminated the top drawer and hinged the top, using gold chain as stops. The drawers and the top section are lined with blue velvet from Rockler. The back of the case came from a section at the end of the walnut board that was highly figured; it was re-sawn and book-matched. The jewelry case would not have looked historically correct if constructed with all figured wood.
...Bill Sampson

DM:  Bill Sampson did a very fine job of building this traditional Queen Anne miniature piece. The proportions of some of the hardware was too large, specifically the escutcheon and the gold chains.
RJ:  What a wonderful miniature chest. Superb attention to detail on a small scale. The hardware and chain lets the final piece down slightly because they are out of proportion, but the size of the grain patterns is very well suited to the scale. It’s very hard to work in such small scale and to get it "right." You’ve made a very fine effort.
LG:  This jewelry box is a beautiful piece of workmanship. The cabriole legs and scalloped apron exemplify the lines of traditional furniture. The open base limits the amount of space for jewelry so its function as a jewelry box is compromised in favor of it's aesthetic appeal. Scaled hardware would have helped this design but the workmanship appears to be quite nice.
EW:  I was floored when I saw the ruler in Bill's photo. The concept and workmanship are wonderful. Aesthetically, my biggest concern is with the scale of the side bails and the escutcheon plate. Other than that, the miniature size means that there is not much room for a typical jewelry collection.

Aloha, OR

    This box is one of my (and my wife's) favorites. It is 14" x 9" x 3.75" high. The lid, which is 1/4" thick, is Ambrosia Maple. The inlay in the lid is made of Butternut, Peruvian Walnut, and Jatoba, which are glued in strips, then cut to small 45 degree angle pieces, then reglued in an alternating pattern.. The keys in the box corners are Peruvian Walnut. The barbed hinges are cut into the lid and box with a special blade, so they are completely hidden, the back of the box and lid are chamfered at an angle to hold the lid open just beyond 90 degrees. A thumb recess for opening the box is routed into the top and lid on the front. The wood grain pattern is continuous on the two front corners and one back corner, and from the body of the box to the lid. The finish is several coats of polyurethane.

    The finger jointed and divided top tray is made of Alder. It rests on rails secured into dadoed slots on the sides. I have left the bottom dividers unsecured at this time since the recipient of the box may want to use it either for small jewelry pieces, or leave the bottom open for larger pieces. I like to wait until I know how the box will be used before I glue in the dividers, although I have made the dividers and show them inserted and not glued in one of the photos. The bottom of the box and inside of the top tray are flocked with a suede-tex flocking kit.
...Stanley P Postma

RJ:  I immediately took a liking to this piece. The optical illusion of the off-centre herringbone pattern in the lid set off against the maple draws the viewer in for a closer look. Simple, elegant, cleanly made, uncluttered, understated, and attractively sized being neither too large or too small. The general pattern is a well known one, but it’s impulse-buyer friendly if Stan wants to supply that market using batch production techniques.
LG:  It’s the lid. The herringbone pattern grabs the eye and your selection of woods exaggerate this pattern, it’s wonderful. I like the contrasting splines set at different depths to add a bit of interest to the corners.
DM:  I really liked the herringbone design on the panel of Stanley Postma’s box. I also liked the staggered spline pattern joining the corners.

Weaverville, CA

    This box is made of anigre. The lid is sycamore, the stems and leaves are poplar, and the petals are purpleheart and holly. The finish is six coats of padded-on shellac, polished with pumice and rottenstone and then waxed with two coats of wax.
    When I first thought of building a jewelry "box" I began to think of ways to extend the usual mind-picture of a box. But then I returned to considering the basic box shape - maintaining the squareness, while improving it with other factors. I decided to keep and firmly establish the box-ness. So having chosen to build a plain and simple "box", I addressed the details which might add elegance to the form.

1. The box stock is cut so that the grain pattern is continuous around the circumference of the box, as well as bottom and top.
2. The marquetry is a simple pattern that only uses 3 species of wood (besides the background) but provides a complimentary softness and fluidness to the geometric shape.
3. Besides the hinge there is no hardware - finger access was carved into the body, so as not to intrude on the perimeter lines. The piano hinge was chosen because it too adds to the linear lines of the box.
4. The compartment fabric repeats the geometric lines of squareness. The front section is built to hold rings - a rabbet was cut prior to upholstery.
...Jerry Cousins

DM:  Jerry won me over with his marquetry. I thought the design and execution of this decorative element was exquisite.
LG:  This is a simple box with a wonderful piece of jewelry all its own. The marquetry is beautiful, nicely done.
RJ:  Very pretty marquetry work using poplar, purpleheart and holly with sand shading.
EW:  I really enjoy lyrical marquetry work, and Jerry has given us a beauty. Great job!

Wynantskill, NY

    I decided to build a box for her that would allow her to see every item that she had in nearly one glance, and I also elected to ignore several old standby concepts of jewelry storage, such as hanging the necklaces. I did elect to make a ring holder. My intent was to keep the task of selecting jewelry each day simple and streamlined.
    The box measures approx. 20" x 14" x 3 1/2". The front, back, sides, and lid panel are padouk. The lid frame is birds-eye maple. The bottom of the box is made from a floating panel of 1/4 "thick birch veneer plywood, with quarter-sawn anigre veneer as the interior surface. The bottom of the box is not lined with cloth, making the movement of the jewelry in the bottom very easy and user-friendly.
    I elected to finger-joint the box, which was a challenge with the padouk, as it was fairly brittle. The frame for the lid was joined together at the corners with bridle joints. The lid panel was chosen out of a large, well-figured 4/4 padouk board for its figure pattern. The panel is free floating in the frame, and measures 1/16" less in thickness than the frame members.
    Hinges are store-bought brass with a built-in lid stop at approx. 100 degrees of travel. The interior trays are made from cedar and covered completely with a velvet cloth. Although not an aromatic cedar, the combination of the wood's fragrance with the interior finish is very pleasant. The trays slide on padouk runners let into the front and back interior. The sliding ring holder is two pieces joined on the bottom with a piece of 1/8" plywood and screws, so the tension on the rings could be adjusted somewhat. The box's finish is hand-mixed shellac and wax.
    I was undecided on an appropriate lid handle for the box, but my wife and I both agree that lifting the lid by grasping and lifting the front edge is very comfortable, so the handle issue remains unresolved. I had considered letting-in a small, rounded strip of padouk in the center of the leading edge of the lid, but as of yet it has not been done, and may never be. The box's width makes opening the lid with two hands, one on each front corner of the lid, a natural approach.

...Dan Dearstyne

RJ:  Very attractive colours, cleanly and neatly made and pleasing proportions.
DM:  I liked Dan’s box, the frame and panel lid with the contrasting frame of birdeye’s maple and padauk panel. The finger joints worked well at the corners and he had several nice trays in there for jewelry.
EW:  I think I judged this piece at the NWA show last year, and it looks every bit as good here. The birdseye maple and padauk combination is always very dramatic, and the proportions of the box lend a very solid feeling to it. I have a question about the idea of smooth wood vs. fabric on the bottom of the box, though. According to LOML, necklaces get tangled when they are free to slide around. I suspect it is a matter of taste.

Pass Christian, MS

    This piece is entitled "Of Wind and Fire." It is made of aromatic cedar from the deep South, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
    I began carving in July 2004, when I saw the tree cutters about to down a cedar tree. I like to include scripture with my work, so when I saw a dove, I remembered Matthew 3:16, "...And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:..."

    I tried to think outside the box. All I had for tools was a bandsaw, a portable battery-operated Dremel tool, four small Buck Bros. carving knives and a sander.
    I ripped the cedar log with a chainsaw and drew the bottom and sides of the dove onto the tree. Then I spent the next two hours just looking at the wood and thinking, "I'm not sure at all if I can do this." Then the dove appeared. I am still amazed.

...Renae Bolden

RJ:  Very new to woodworking expressing herself through carving using limited resources. I’d like to encourage you to keep practicing, develop your skill, enjoy the results and watch your results get better. I gave you high credit for the ‘road travelled.’
LG:  Keep carving! You claim you just began a few months ago. Your carving will get easier and more fluid as you do more and I urge you to keep at it. I hope the discovery of your dove urges you on.
EW:  This piece really intrigued me, and when I read about Renae's inspiration, I was touched, and very impressed with her train of thought and the way she approached the design of the carving. Her skills seem to have come a long way in a very short time.

Dawson Creek, BC

    This is my first try at creating my own design. The box is quarter sawn air-dried Aspen. The first 1/4" was removed off the back, and after cutting out the cavity for the drawers and sanding the inside of the box, the box was placed upside down on a new laminated blank of equal dimension that would accommodate the measurement of two drawers. Then, the drawers were traced onto the new laminated block and the drawers were cut from this new block. The reason for not using the original drawers that were cut out at the first step is because I wanted a tight fit and the kerf cut combined with the sanding would leave loose-fitting drawers. On most bandsaw boxes this is not a issue but with this box, with the nose of the drawers protruding through the box body, I thought they should look tight on all opposing surfaces.
    Then I took 1/4" off the back of the drawers and 1/2" off the front. I cut out the compartments, sanded the front and back and glued them back on. Then I sanded the drawers until they fit into the cavity of the box. This is the hard part, as all you can do is sand and attempt to fit the drawer into the body; and you can bet your first attempt will not be your last.

    Once the drawers fit the box, I glued the back onto the box body. Sanding and shaping took a lot of time, since I could not use the spindle sander in the grooves in the front of the box body. I was afraid the spindle sander would grab, so instead I used self-adhesive sandpaper wrapped around a series of different-size dowels. I hand sanded the front before applying the fir handles. The finish is eight coats of wipe-on poly. One consideration I never saw coming had to do with the back of the box. With most boxes, the back does not come into play; but, with this one, the back is visible when you view the box from the front at different angles, at the points where the wood supports the drawers. It took some extra sanding on the two concave shapes at the front of the drawer supports to make it look like the drawers were meant for this box.

...Brian Knodel

RJ:  There were three entries using this basic pattern. His caught my eye with its looks redolent of early sixties TV shows, The Jetsons and the like.
EW:  Brian is quite an accomplished bandsaw box artisan. His adaptation of a sculptural piece on the cover of a Lee Valley catalog was a humorous tour de force, but since it was a copied design, he just "threw together" this lovely little box as his entry. Quite a fluid box it is, too. You have a distinct knack for this idiom, Brian. I hope we see more great stuff from you in the future.

Carrollton, TX

    This is a jewelry box, better known as a men's "valet," designed for the men in my life. I made two of them. One is for my dad and one is for my best friend's dad. The gentlemen will receive the valets on Christmas Day.
    I am a novice woodworker. I have worked on getting my tool inventory up to a respectable level over just the last three years, although I completed my first project some time ago. Every project has been a learning experience for me, complete with flaws, but still I persevere to develop better skills for the next project.
    I looked for a plan for my project but couldn't find anything to my liking. Then I turned to the Internet to search for what was available at retail stores. I ended up taking some aspects from different versions and designing what I felt the recipients would find most useful.
    I had enough mahogany left over from another project and selected it for this project since it seemed a more masculine choice. The stock was all resawn on the bandsaw to arrive at the thinner pieces required by the design.
    I milled the individual pieces with my power tools. The joinery was accomplished by hand. I finished the boxes with a coat of Danish oil followed by a coat of shellac. The final finish is my version of a French polish, as I am just learning this technique.

...Teresa Jones

RJ:  Another relative beginner that I would like to encourage development of skills, confidence and abilities. You should be proud of your efforts.

Rocky Mount, NC

    I designed this box to fit a specific area on my wife's dresser. I wanted it to have a large storage capacity but maintain a small footprint. I did not want the box to have the appearance of a "cube" or rectangular solid so I softened its appearance by rounding the top and drawer fronts. I added curved legs and feet to lift it into the air and give a floating appearance.
    I chose to use mahogany for the carcass and drawer fronts because of its color and grain. The walnut drawer handles, legs and feet provide contrast and an exterior interest that hints of what is inside. The two woods are complementary to our bedroom furniture.
    The drawer boxes are made of walnut that provides a rich warm interior and contrast to the bright lining of the drawers and any baubles stored therein. The drawer runners are attached in grooves and slide in dados machined into the box sides.

    The drawer fronts were pattern routed using a shop made template after being fitted to each individual drawer. The box top was shaped to the same profile using saws, planes and sanders.
    The box carcass and drawers were assembled with mini-biscuits. The feet and legs are tenoned into router cut grooves on the sides and bottom.
    The box is 10 1/2" tall including the feet, 10" wide including the legs, and 10" deep front to back including the handles. The drawers are 1 1/2" deep.
    I finished the box with multiple coats of an oil/varnish mixture followed by polishing on the Beall buffing system.

...Michael Stafford

DM:  Michael Stafford gets honorable mention from me for his design innovation. He certainly made an effort to come up with something more sculptural while still addressing the issues of many drawers for jewelry.
LG:  Your box was a lot of work and your efforts show. The lines of your box are rounded and smooth. This look would benefit from better matched drawer fronts. Next time try gluing up the entire front as a slab taking care to match grains for nearly invisible joints, then cutting your fronts from the slab. Better yet, cut them from a single board keeping track of the order.

Douglasville, PA

    This box design was inspired by an article Gary Rogowski wrote for Fine Woodworking #139. It was originally designed to hold a wine bottle. This box is one of a pair that I made. It is about 11½" x 4½" x 3¼", a size compromise which allowed for a 375 mL, half-sized bottle, but was still close to 5:2 in proportion, and was a convenient size for use as a jewelry or knick-knack box later.
    I made the boxes from cherry. I joined and shaped them using hand tools exclusively. The half-laps are pinned with 1/8" cherry dowels made with a shop-built dowel plate. The sides were faired by eye using an old Stanley #18, then sanded through 1000 grit. Each was finished with a few coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish and about a dozen coats of paste wax.
    After finishing, I flocked he interiors with DonJer SuedeTex to protect any jewelry which may eventually be kept there. The handle is a little piece of cherry ebonized with vinegar/steel wool, and mortised into the top.

...Scott Perry

Plano, TX

    I have always liked the look of the bandsawn box and wanted to make one for my mother-in-law for her birthday. I bought the book, “Building Beautiful Boxes”, by Lois Ventura. I decided to use the pattern in the back of the book that she calls “The Tides”, for the first box that I would build.
    The next step was to find some nice wood. I went to Curly Woods to look around and saw some Zebrawood and thought that would look good until I saw the Canarywood. I cut and glued it in a bookmark fashion like the book instructed.

    I applied two coats of Seal Coat, sanding between applications, and finished with Waterlox. After the finish dried, I sanded with 0000 steel wool and applied Johnson's Paste Wax.
    For the inside of the drawers, I used an Emerald Green flocking kit from Woodcraft. Made by DonJer, it comes with the adhesive, suede flakes and applicator.

...Steve King

S. Charleston, WV

    I make a lot of bandsaw boxes and was getting bored of making the same patterns over and over, so I thought I would try something original and different.
    While visiting the house of a big time cat fanatic, I realized that cat people would buy anything with a cat on it. Not only does this friend have three cats, she also has cat curtains, cat doormats, numerous cat statues, a cat toilet brush holder, several cat lamps and a cat-shaped cake pan. So, I decided to make a box in the silhouette of a cat.
    I decided on a pattern and selected walnut for the box. After a couple of plywood practice pieces, I refined the pattern and made the box. It is approx. 8 1/2" long by 4 1/2" wide by 4" tall. Since it is so small, I completed it rather quickly. I cut out the wood inside the tail area completely through the entire box to give the effect of a curled tail.
    I finished the box with two coats of Minwax Antique Oil Finish, sanding with 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper between coats, and then added a final coat of Johnson's Paste Wax. I finished the drawer with water-based polyurethane for two reasons: first, to help eliminate any smell inside the box; and second, to provide a durable finish for the drawer bottom. The drawer is lined with royal blue felt and has a 1/2" brass pull.

...Andy Scheetz

EW:  A whimsical twist on the bandsaw-box technique, and a great story to boot!

Tolland, CT

    This is a Shaker-style box constructed of black cherry. All of the cherry came from a single cherry board for good grain and color match. For the drawers I used maple as a secondary wood.
    When designing it I wanted it to have a Thomas Moser-type Shaker feel. I adjusted the dimensions to accommodate the two Brusso necklace hangers and a small gallery of drawers inside while maintaining a pleasing shape.

    I constructed the carcase using hand-cut through dovetails. I wanted them to show on the top to give the case that Thomas Moser feel. I used mortise-and-tenon joints and a solid panel for the door. To allow for seasonal movement of the wood, I attached the cove moldings to the sides with dovetailed keys, and I only glued them at the front. The drawers are joined with machine-cut dovetails and lined with Brown Suede-Tex flocking.

...Darren Brown

LG:  Shaker patterns rely on the rich beauty of the woods used. Symmetry and balance are important for the simple elegance Shaker represents. You have the skills to build a nice box and structurally you have done a nice job. Centering the grain pattern in your door panel would have helped as well as straighter grain in the frame members. While the scored lines of dovetails are frequently left on drawer boxes they are rarely left on exposed joints in carcase construction, your top would look more elegant with these marks removed.
EW:  This little chest is very nicely made. The wood and the finish appear impeccable. If I were to suggest an improvement, it would be to add some kind of variety to the shape of the cutout in the bracket foot.

Gooding, ID

    I call this box "Hibiscus & Leaves." It is 12 1/2" wide by 7 3/4" deep by 5 1/2" high. I used quilted maple for the frame, lid and insert, and walnut for the corner splines. The top is intarsia, consisting of a scroll-saw-cut Hibiscus flower and leaves, with hand-beveled edges, inlaid into the top frame. I mitered the corners of the box, and added walnut splines for durability as well as appeal. The three-section, removable top insert is lined in black felt and the bottom is lined in black felt. There is a mirror installed on the underside of the lid. The hinges are solid brass, 90° stop hinges. The finish is hand-rubbed lacquer.
...Frank Kiska

LG:  Your intarsia lid is the eye candy in your box. You chose an organic subject, the hibiscus leaves, and these should have more rounded edges. Smoother, more rounded pieces would add grace to the pattern and also make the colors blend better from surface to edge. I hope you pursue intarsia, it's a lovely form.
EW:  Really nice composition, Frank. I think I might have preferred natural wood colors over dyes, but the workmanship is first-rate.

Sherwood, OR

    This is my first attempt at creating a jewelry box. I have wanted to design and create one for a few years and the WoodCentral contest gave me the push to jump into the deep end with both feet.
    I designed a 12" wide by 7 5/8" tall by 7" deep box with four horizontal drawers and one vertical drawer. The bottom three drawers contain dividers unique to each drawer. The vertical fifth drawer contains five custom knobs for hanging bracelets, earrings or necklaces. All drawers can be completely removed.
    For wood, I chose a piece of quartersawn afrormosia that was kicking around my shop for quite some time. I purchased it for veneering but thought that with judicious resawing I could squeeze the entire box out of the 4' piece. The body of the box is 1/2" and the back and drawer fronts are 1/4". The drawer sides and backs are made form European beech, as are the dividers. The knobs are 1/2" sand-cast solid Bronze, as are the matching 3/8" knobs in the vertical fifth drawer.
    I chose to use 1/4" box joint construction on the body of the box. For drawer guides, I chose to trim the drawer sides leaving a narrow tenon running the full length, which in turn rides in a corresponding groove in the carcase. For the vertical fifth drawer, double tenons and dados were chosen.

    The drawers are fully lined with burgundy moleskin fabric, which is padded underneath. The top drawer has additional batting under the fabric for additional protection of more fragile items. The dividers are in the remaining three drawers and are pressure-fitted for future removal. The drawer sides and dividers are finished with Renaissance Wax only, to highlight the subtle grain of the European Beech. The main box is finished with boiled linseed oil followed by gloss polyurethane and then steel-wooled with paste wax and a final finish of Renaissance Wax.
    I am very pleased with the results of a first-time effort, though I would do many things differently on future jewelry boxes, including the choice of wood. I have never worked with such a difficult wood. The fact that I was even able to complete it in time for the contest is a miracle in itself. The European beech, however, is a real pleasure to work. It has visual grain characteristics like oak but the closed grain smoothness and sandability of maple. Love that wood!
...Dave Ramer

EW:  I'm glad our contest inspired you. I can feel your pain with afrormosia, as it is somewhat difficult to work with. The overall composition and execution of your piece is fine. The drawer-hanging method is extremely effective but the visible grooves are somewhat detrimental to the overall look. I would like to hear more about the way the necklace "drawer" performs. I love the concept.

Cleveland, MS

    When I decided to build my wife a jewelry box for Christmas, I wanted to have something that would be very special to her. I enjoy making scroll saw portraits and thought that scroll saw portraits of our kids as the side panels of the jewelry box would be something that she would like.
    The box is made from 1/2" mahogany with the exception of the top which is 3/8" mahogany. The drawers are made of 3/8" hard maple with 3/8" ambrosia maple fronts. The construction consists of dados to attach the face to the sides. The top and bottom are attached with glue blocks to the face and also glued only along the front third of the sides in order to allow for wood movement. The back panel is 1/8” plywood. The side panels are scroll saw portraits of my daughter (3 years old) and my son (9 months old). The panels are 1/8” Finnish birch plywood and the backing of the portrait is the mahogany case instead of the usual black felt. In order to make the pattern for the portrait, the pictures of the subjects are digitally manipulated to give a continuous white area. The dark parts of the pattern are cut out to reveal the portraits. Both of the portraits slide in dadoes in the top and are held in place by the face of the box. The panels are replaceable so that as the kids grow new ones can be used, it can be changed to another pattern or not used at all.
    The three drawers are designed to hold my wife's collection of pins along with bracelets and other jewelry. The bar in the bottom drawer is used to hang earrings. The lining of the drawers is purple crushed velvet.
    I chose the mahogany to match the existing bedroom set and the ambrosia maple for the drawer fronts because of the visual interest that the beetle marks give and as a mid-tone wood between the lighter birch and darker mahogany. The red tones of the ambrosia maple are accented by the mahogany and the gold tones of the mahogany are enhanced by the yellows of the ambrosia maple. Also, these three woods were used in a smaller, traveling jewelry box that I made for her last year.
    The finish on the box is a mixture of boiled linseed oil, turpentine, and polyurethane (2:1:1). I applied it with a rag then wiped it off periodically while drying. After it was dry, I buffed the whole piece lightly with 0000 steel wool, repeating this step until the desired finish was achieved. There are five coats of finish on the box. The portraits are not finished because I didn't want to emphasize the grain.
    This was a fun project for me, in that it was the first piece that I designed on my own. The process of designing the piece allowed me to customize the size and shape to fit my wife’s personal taste and style.
...Rob Bourgeois

EW:  Labors of love always thrill me; it's like being invited into a private world. The choice of woods might have been better, or perhaps handled differently. I would have preferred to see the ambrosia maple drawer fronts form an unbroken field on the face of the box, or perhaps the face frame could have been toned down a few shades to provide a stronger contrast.

Copiague, NY

    I made this box for my daughter. The design was inspired by several antique boxes I had seen. My daughter likes the yin-yang symbol, so I inlaid it in the top.
    The box is 11" wide by 7" deep by 4" high, with a removable tray inside. The tray is maple with a walnut divider/handle. The interior below the tray is 1 3/8" deep, and, like the tray, has a velvet insert on the bottom.

    The box is made with hand-cut dovetails. It has a 1/4" floating plywood bottom. I cut the curved handle on a bandsaw and shaped it with a circular plane. I used a #4 round plane to round over of the handle and dividers. All surfaces were hand planed and scraped for smoothness; no sandpaper was used.
    I assembled the entire box with animal hide glue, then stained it with a mixture of aniline water dyes. The final finish is a combination of buttonlac and blond shellac. The hardware consists of recessed surface-mounted butt hinges and a surface-mounted clasp.

    I have been commissioned by 14 friends to make one for each of them. There are requests for different designs on the top panel, some of which will have original oil paintings. I am using walnut, mahogany, maple and oak as the main box component depending on the commissoner's preference. I did make a modification to the feet -- the arc diameter is now 3/8" -- but everythig else will be the sameas you see here.

...Thomas Forster

EW:  Nice job, Tom, and I'll bet you will have plenty more customers for this design. It's a winner. I was curious about the orientation of the yin-yang symbol. I've usually seen it arranged vertically. A tiny point and not an issue here, but maybe worth checking out.


    My jewelry box is very minimalist. Sometimes I think simple and clean is harder than either organic or ornate. Mistakes do show!
    The box is veneered with Bolivian rosewood on the outside and walnut on the inside. The corner banding on the 12 edges is wenge, and the turned knob is Gaboon ebony. All of the internal dividers and boxes are solid walnut.
    An interesting feature is the substrate, which is Spanish Cedar for dimensional stability. And it sure makes the shop fragrant when machining! A walnut insert is glued up with cedar on either side. In this way when the box is cut open, the walnut is automatically the edge of top and bottom without the need or unsightliness of additional veneering at the edges.

    The finish is one coat of Watco Teak Oil followed by three to four coats of Bartley clear gel varnish. After the last coat, I buffed the surfaces with a Tripoli wheel. The rabbets -- or rebates to shamelessly curry favor with at least one judge -- were made with a Felder dado. This is, in effect, a shaper cutter that is totally without tear-out.
    I glued the wenge banding proud and then flush-trimmed it with a router bit in the router table. I lined the top and bottom with velvet that I had pre-glued to illustration board with 3M spray adhesive. If your hands get sticky during the velvet work, mineral spirits will remove any evidence of handling on the velvet without melting the velvet. Lacquer thinner WILL melt the velvet but don’t ask me how I know that.

...Art Liebeskind

EW:  Art, you never cease to amaze me. Your boxes are collectors' items. The ebony purfling is a great way to set off an exotic wood like this. It just exudes elegance. I dunno about that electric blue background, though. :-)

One-Year Subscription


Each entrant to this contest receives a complementary one-year subscription to Popular Woodworking magazine (a $19.95 value!).

Thanks to everyone who participated!
Watch for announcements of upcoming WoodCentral craftsmanship awards competitions.