Tramp Art Box

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Blog entry by DustyNewt posted 06-11-2008 02:08 PM 3028 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This box was made by an unknown craftsman untold years ago, my guess is the 1930’s. It is constructed of oak, pine and Spanish cedar cigar boxes (faded cigar box stamps still barely visible inside).

Tramp Art Box - 2

It surfaced recently from a closet at my grandmother’s house. She is a spry 89 years old and still the powerhouse of the family. She said I always loved this box and should have it.

Tramp Art Box

When she first brought it out, it looked vaguely familiar. I held it and glimpses of my childhood came forward in my brain. I took out the top drawer and instinctively raised it to my nose. The olfactory senses rushed me back to the three year old, armed with crayons, toy cars and plastic army men, playing with this box. A remembrance of youthful euphoria re-entered my soul.

I think I chipped the little top drawer and maybe I used up a silver crayola “decorating” it.

The sense of smell is the most remarkable memory stimulant.

This box now sits on my dresser and acts as my valet and a reminder where I came from. All I need to do is open a drawer and take a sniff.

-- Peace in Wood ~

7 comments so far

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 4812 days

#1 posted 06-11-2008 02:42 PM

Beauty! It’s amazing how our olfactory sense is engaged and so closely linked to memory. We should all bear that aspect in mind when creating our future heirlooms. Who knows who will engage our projects years after we’re gone [hopefully family] and will respond with pleasant memories conjured by the scent of our work?

I can close my eyes and walk through my maternal grandparent’s homestead [long gone] and remember the sight, sound and scent of the place. I miss it so.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Phil Clark's profile

Phil Clark

358 posts in 4808 days

#2 posted 06-11-2008 03:30 PM

I really enjoyed the sentiment expressed in your description of this interesting piece. What is the knob on the top right?

-- Legacy Woodcraft

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4952 days

#3 posted 06-11-2008 03:55 PM

That’s a beautiful box, and the story that goes with it only makes it that much richer. I’d be willing to bet that when it was made nobody expected it to be an heirloom and yet now it is full of memories just waiting to be lived again. Very cool.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5077 days

#4 posted 06-11-2008 04:35 PM

Thanks for the great post. I believe we have weighted in on Spanish cedar together in “conversation” here. I try and line every box I make with it anymore. What a great memory to share.

Totally off-topic, I wish I could have held onto my Grandma’s button jar. She was a seamstress and it was a source of childhood memories for both my sister and I. Good for you that you have this iconic piece from your childhood.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4875 days

#5 posted 06-11-2008 04:47 PM

Phil – The knob is a wooden thread spool, with a chip (I didn’t do that one). I don’t know what its intended use is.

-- Peace in Wood ~

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 5118 days

#6 posted 06-16-2008 08:49 PM

Wow, that is some excellent carving on that.

You should consider making it a matching set!

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4864 days

#7 posted 06-17-2008 12:51 AM

Nice look into the past Dusty.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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