Stephen's Jewelry Box

A challenging project with many firsts.

SHOP OWNER: Stephen Stokes
LOCATION: Lewisville, TX

    Below is a series of pictures displaying the most complicated project I have ever completed. It was a long, joyful journey and I learned much! The inspiration for the jewelry box came from Krenov's book "With Wakened Hands", page 119.
    As for firsts, they were many. This was my first use of Pecan, the first time to use shellac and wax for a finish, and the first use of knife hinges. This was the first project consisting of primarily curved surfaces, the first real use of hand planes, and the first hand-cut dovetails - both through and half blind. Finally, there’s my first nervous-in-the-gut feeling that I could really screw up that last drawer and have to start all over again!
Stephen's Jewelry Box

    As for the wood I used, the top, bottom, drawer pulls, and verticals are walnut, the drawer fronts, back panel, and two side doors are pecan, and the drawer internals and dividers are Spanish cedar.
    The overall dimensions were determined from my wife's necklaces, and just perception. They wound up being approximately 12"H x 10"W x 7"D. The drawer graduations were a matter of maximizing usable space while obtaining a graduation that was visually noticeable, while making certain the top drawer was usable. Stephen's Jewelry Box

    If you notice the jewelry box in the Krenov book, you will notice fewer drawers. However, it was my feeling that, for a jewelry box, the jewelry should not be stacked into a drawer. In other words, I could have minimized my work by putting in fewer drawers, but the space would not have been as efficient. To calculate the final height of each drawer, I used a spreadsheet.

Stephen's Jewelry Box

    With most of the details thought out in advance, I modified some based on the moment, such as the drawer pulls. They were originally larger, but were scaled down. The thumbnail openings on the doors were also an afterthought. Stephen's Jewelry Box

Stephen's Jewelry Box

    I started with the oval/ellipse shape on a template, which was a piece of Masonite. I cut it freehand at the band saw. I then sanded to the drawn line. I did the same for the top and bottom pieces of walnut; however, I planed to the line using a block plane. The verticals where cut square on the table saw, and then shaped with a block plane to match the top and bottom. I cut the stopped dados for the drawer runners with a chisel.
Stephen's Jewelry Box

    I shaped the drawer fronts before cross cutting, and the case front, back, and doors out of solid stock. I started by tracing the template onto the end of the stock and then removed the bulk of the outside material on the band saw. Next, I planed to the drawn line, checking it frequently against the top and bottom. The bulk of the inside material was removed with the table saw. I then finished by sanding and scraping.
    I cut the dovetails using a hybrid form of the Klauz and Kirby techniques. Due to nervous fear, I procrastinated making the dovetails as long as possible! Stephen's Jewelry Box

    Roughing out the drawer pulls on the tablesaw, I finished them by using a combination of my band saw, sanding, and a pocketknife. I cut the hinge mortises with a chisel and the necklace hangers are simple dowel stock, inserted on 5-degree angles. The finish is shellac and wax.
    I am uncertain of the total amount of time invested, but I would estimate it to be between 80-100 hours. I hope it is as nice for you to see, as it was fun for me to build!

. . . Stephen Stokes



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