Outside the Box

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Blog entry by Edward83 posted 07-31-2010 07:38 AM 1527 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first blog. Ever, anywhere. But as a pretty new member of Lumberjocks, I must say, I am addicted. So starting a blog on here I felt was my next logical step in enjoying this website. I decided to entitle it. The Box Rox.

First I would like to state that for some unknown reason (and I am sure some of you may also feel this way) I love making a box. Everything, from designing all the way to the finishing and sanding. Jewelry boxes, keepsake boxes, lock boxes, all of it. While I do love woodworking in general I guess you could say boxes are my passion. I think about them quite a bit, more than any man should I think, lol. I constantly am working on new ideas for boxes, differant types, styles, woods, how to execute, what new could be done, what could be improved next time. Seriously, I may have a problem.

The first Box I had ever made was a tool box in highschool woodshop. Four sides, a bottom, a handle, rabbet joints, painted blue. It was nothing special, just like everyone else in the classes tool box. After highschool I took a ten year break from wood working to persue the exciting action filled lifestyle of a carpenter. While mostly what I did was framing roofing siding doors and windows, I was unsatisfied. Sure it paid the bills, I could leap off of roofs and land on my feet without dropping a nail from my pouch, I got to work outside and the scenery was always changing.

I realize now that I was always a box builder. Now they are just smaller and more asthetic and people don’t live in them. I was slightly irritated when I realized this. You see about a year ago an older gentleman and I had a conversation while sitting at a coffee shop in pittsburgh. He was a little upset at the very laid back atmosphere. I was questioning his sanity but he proceeded to tell me that when a man is young, function superceeds form, but when you get older form becomes more important and more attention to detail becomes the focus. At the time I thought he was a little off of his rocker, and that function will always be more important because if it doesn’t work who cares what it looks like.

Well here I am today, doing what I have always done. Building. Though the form has changed, and the function less important. I’d raise my coffee cup to that old man if I saw him today. He taught me a valuable lesson even if I was unwilling to learn at the time. Form is important.

Now on to my current box project. I am building a box made from maple and zebrawood. Two drawers and a hinged lift top. The body of the box is maple the drawer faces and lid are zebrawood. Honestly I do like the result of zebra when it is finished, but I do not think it is worth the price when working with it. It is a very fiberous wood. When chiseling or routing you must be careful of tearout in strands so tweezers glue and patience are handy to have nearby. I am interested to see the two woods finished together. This will be my second box with drawers and the first with both the lid and drawers. I did find that in doing this I needed more careful planning in joinery and as always I am very picky about the placement of the grain pattern, and curls if there are any. I also just picked up a chocolate colored velvet to line the drawers with. I am still undecided about how to do a ring cache, let me know whats up if you have done one of these before.

If there are any of you box makers that could give me tips on selling boxes, venues, how to price, recommend good brass hardware, design, anything. Just shoot me a line and we’ll discuss anything and everything outside the box.

-- Praise God in all things, especially the bad things because they make the best learning experiences.

5 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4533 days

#1 posted 07-31-2010 01:30 PM

Edward, now I understand why I am so picky these days as I’m getting older. Thanks for that.

Regarding sales, thats the one area of box making that I have trouble with too. Hope someone comes up with a bullet proof plan in these comments. They could help both of us out.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4792 days

#2 posted 07-31-2010 03:33 PM

A great piece of wisdom.
That is why I love talking to older folks,
they have such a grounded theory of life based on experience.
Love the story, and looking forward to pics of the box.
Welcome to LJ’s !!


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4993 days

#3 posted 07-31-2010 06:05 PM

Great story and so true !
I love working with Curly Maple and Zebrawood, it is a beautiful comgination. Can’t wait to see your next wonderful creation !

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4437 days

#4 posted 07-31-2010 08:59 PM

Nice story and i have to agree with your statement on Zebrawood, when you work it, it doesn’t feel worthy of its price.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View mgb_2x's profile


181 posts in 4566 days

#5 posted 07-31-2010 09:32 PM

Thanks for sharing from your life’s experience. I too love making boxes, there have been many conversation/dicussions on what is behind this obsession. Someone said that every box invites you too interact and look inside. To my way of thinking they are relatively easy to make, inexpensive to build and almost everyone can find a place for one and find a use for it.

As to Zebrawood, I posted a box that uses it along with Maple and Wenge and it turned out to be a favorite. One thing I noticed is that when finished there is a depth to Zebrawood, you can almost look into it, if you know what I mean.

As for selling boxes I see that many of those that sell online are often sold out or the box they show is not avaialble. In my experience I have had some luck selling through contacts made in the woodowrking world. I show my products at the local woodworking retailer and get leads there. I am thinking about doing a few art or craft shows to see how that works. For the most parts my boxes are given to friends and family.

-- "aim small miss small" m g breedlove

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