Here is a box I made for my niece’s 18th birthday. It’s different from the usual antiquated stuff I like to make, but it’s not my design. I was inspired by an article in the Woodcraft magazine Vol.12/No.68 Dec/Jan 2016 by Jim Downing. The title is “Asian Inspired Jewelry Box.” I have made several changes but minor ones to the dimensions and the layout of the internal trays. I also decided not to put the handle as I felt it was harder to do by hand it being so small and finicky.
The timber of choice was Canadian Poplar, and white oak heated to extreme temperatures in an oven. The timber mill did this I bought the wood from and I feel it is a mistake as it’s too brittle and dry. There are far better and more effective ways of darkening timber. Have a look at ebonizing oak on Matt’s blog or you could go directly to Richard Maguire’s page and buy his video on the subject. I bought the video just to see exactly how it’s done because this is something that I have missed in the history books and yes, this potion of his is exactly how it used to get done.
The build is pretty much straightforward. The author used floating tenons while I cut mine out. I also ploughed a groove for the mitred lid and slipped in a tenon so it’s not a key you see.
The feet are tapered on the side about 2° and are wider than the author’s version.
The bottom panel is notched, which I still struggle with getting an exact gapless fit. One of these days though, I feel I will get it right. The internal trays are just a friction fit and can be taken out if she so desires, which is why I made it like that.
The hinges are a solid brass; the glue used was hide glue, and the finish was a natural oil finish that is food safe. I’m not one for promoting brands but I’m sure you will be curious what I used so as not to torture you, it’s called Kunos Livos Natural. It’s a German brand. Here are the same photos but in Black & white.