Mathildes Japanese inspired jewel box #2: Wood springs and nailing it...

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Blog entry by mafe posted 06-02-2014 07:59 PM 4806 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Drawing, inspiration and making the box. Part 2 of Mathildes Japanese inspired jewel box series Part 3: The grand finale and a blast of a confirmation. »

Mathildes Japanese inspired jewel box
Wood springs and nailing it…

Part two:
In the making of a Jewel box for my precious daughter Mathildes confirmation.

So time to continue the tour, last time we ended with the main part of the box made and even drawers close to being a reality, so guess there are no reason not to just jump right in and get started.

So back to the drawers.
The rabbets cut and drawer front taped in place.
I don’t care to make the rabbets stopped, since the underside, back and front of these drawers will not be visible.

In the front, the drawer front will hide it.

So the jewel box with the drawer bottoms and fronts taped in place.
Hmmmmmmm, not to bad!

Time for tobacco and playing with a pen on paper.
I want the drawers to stop before they fall out, when you open them, but also the possibility to get them out when wanted.
This will also make it possible to make a secret room in the box and that was one of my ideas.
So I am thinking of a spring, of course made of wood!
Think I got a functioning idea.

I cut a groove in the sides of the top drawer.

Clean it up with the funny little Veritas shoulder plane.
Thought it was a kind of toy when I bought it, but it have actually been handy often.

Now I just need some runners for the top drawer.
But not even Rome was build in one day…

So time to fire up my hate tool no 1.
I hate the noise of a router, so I use them as seldom as possible.
But to make this round recess by hand would eat too much time and the router can do a perfect cut on the round edge, so I walk with the cross and let my ears be punished.

Using my router circle jig and it works just fine, so it gives me a little smile.

A crisp edge and a flat surface, five minutes later.

Now with mirror!
Ohhh yes and I wear my wonderful Norwegian sweater…

So back to the wood springs.
I go for ash, since I know this is used for bows.
Draw the design idea.

Cut a few of them, different thickness, to test the flex.


In the back of the side drawer I make a extra compartment.
Hidden, secret or now I guess not so secret…
Sorry Mathilde!

Time to glue the tray, no more dry fit!

Bottom also.

Nailing it in place with conical bamboo nails.
The angle also locks the nails, so I feel sure this will never fall out.

I think this is a sweet detail.

Now I can fit it in the box, once the box are held firmly together.
I don’t want a piston, I want it to fall easy down and come easy up, so I plane of as much as needed for that.

So back to the wood spring, I want o make a proto type.
Wood with cut out, spring and bamboo nail.


Then nail with the conical nail, this should hold it in place.
Now eave to dry.

So we spoke of runners.
I Make the runners of ash, just for the detail and put glue on the one side, thick paper in the groove to push it out and then clamp in place and leave to dry. In this way I am sure they end up exactly where I want them.
No measures needed.

Here you see the inside of the box, with the two levels and the runner.

So to fix the runners I frill holes.

Using a stop block to e sure I don’t go through the side.

Then bamboo nails.
Also shaping the front so the drawer comes in and out easy and looks elegant.

Get it?

Sawing of the rest of the nail.


Ok glue is dry on the spring.
Ready to test.

Now pushed up.

And click – it stops.

I love it!
All wood drawer stops.
This will be a sweet detail.

Time to fight a cow!
Or at least play with hide.

For the simple design I have decided to make drawer handles of plain leather.
So I cut some strips.

Mark the center and where I want it, using same measures as for the finger joints.
The idea is to cut a slit and nail them in place.

Drilling a hole in each end of the slit after marking the thickness with a cutting gauge.

Chisels, files and a gravure chisel comes in handy, this reminds me of knife making.

Here it’s nice to have a selection of small files.

Then drilling and sticking in the bamboo nails.

Me like!


No doubt.

Back to the wood springs again!
Now I will ad one for the big drawer.

Marking with a pencil.

Cutting away wood for the spring.

So now it’s just to glue it in place, I have already tested that it works.

Elegant I thing, so I have a smile on my dusty lips.



Since I wanted no hardware, I had some thoughts on how to hold the drawers in place…
Decided to add rare earth magnets in the back of the drawers and on the back behind, in this way the drawer will stay in place and it will be a little sexy when the magnets sucks the drawer in.
So time to drill a hole that have the diameter and deepness of the magnets.

Like this.

Here my little test piece, a kind of live story stick, where I test the ideas bfore putting them into the project.

The magnets.


Spring for the side drawer.

Cutting away some wood.

Using the new bench top bench with great joy.

Like this.

In place.
Now you know the rest of the story.

Glue in place the handles.

Gluing the drawers.
Pre fitting the bottoms to keep it square.

Shooting the end gran to make it fit in the drawer.
Dam I love that 62.

The big drawer bottom are glued in place.

After bamboo nails are cut of.

Rare earth magnets glued in.

Also for the big drawer.

And the drawers.

Here you see the secret compartment and that I made a small cut so the spring could pass the back, otherwise it would lock the drawer once the spring has passed the first click.
Glad I made some testing before glue up.

Here you see the spring.

Ohhhh yes and there are time to bake bread also.

Side drawer glued.

Shooting the double back to get a perfect fit.

Now in place.

Superglue the small the brass pin in place, we are now ready to start the gluing of the box.


So now time for the box glue up.
I put double bamboo nails in the fingers, this for strength and beauty.

Also fix the little mistakes now.

Out of focus glue up.

Drawers also get nails.

Like this it will never fall apart.

Here you see the front hiding the groove.

Same on the big drawer and here the front are wider than the drawer.

I think it’s elegant.

More glue op, now other end.

Clamps, clamps and clamps!
Remember to check the diagonal.

Marking for bamboo nails.
Sending Jim a thought.

Gluing the bottom.

Plenty of glue and then just add the bottom.

Finger joints.


All of them.


Cutting flush.

Now cut.

That’s it.

I think we have nailed it, so time to split up the blog again, see you soon, on third and last part.
Then I’ll post the project also. ;-)

Thank you for reading my ramblings, hope it can inspire.

best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

15 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

25757 posts in 4081 days

#1 posted 06-02-2014 08:07 PM

WOW…...Great set of progress photos. I love those drawer stops. so simple and effective. That is one well build and designed box!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bricofleur's profile


1480 posts in 4168 days

#2 posted 06-02-2014 08:11 PM

Hi Mads. Once again, this is an interesting and inspiring read. I admire your patience and skills.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Dutchy's profile


3960 posts in 3144 days

#3 posted 06-02-2014 08:12 PM

What a lot of work Mads. Nice to see how you are doing it. Hope to see soon the final results. BTW your spectacles are cheaper than your tools ;)


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4310 days

#4 posted 06-02-2014 09:02 PM

Lots of great details Mads and the kind of blog I really like. I am having a little trouble keeping track of all the parts in this complicated box.I especially like the stops, the leather handles and the magnets, oh yea, and your Norwegian sweater too. A good excuse to drink a few Carlsens to keep the trade balance even between Denmark and Norway.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Brit's profile


8236 posts in 3818 days

#5 posted 06-02-2014 09:19 PM

Very inspring read Mads. I can’t wait to see the finished article.

You also win the prize for the longest blog post ever. LOL.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3460 days

#6 posted 06-02-2014 09:54 PM

I can’t believe you have the patience to stop and take pictures during all this. I’m usually having too much fun to slow down.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3832 days

#7 posted 06-02-2014 10:02 PM

Great Blog Mads
Plenty detail :)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sodabowski's profile


2393 posts in 3808 days

#8 posted 06-02-2014 10:12 PM

Yeah, you really documented this one in a big way!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3756 days

#9 posted 06-02-2014 11:01 PM

Mongo blog my friend, and great work.
Where does one find bamboo nails ? I’ve used bamboo BBQ skewers for more than one small job, but nails ?

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View lew's profile


13274 posts in 4731 days

#10 posted 06-03-2014 12:07 AM

Your detail is amazing, Mads!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View sras's profile


5765 posts in 4105 days

#11 posted 06-03-2014 12:55 AM

It is a pleasure to follow along with you. Great progress!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View littlecope's profile


3115 posts in 4477 days

#12 posted 06-03-2014 01:14 AM

A True Love Box my Friend…
Lovely Design
Lovingly Made
by a Loving Father
for his Lovely Daughter!
Congratulations to Mathilde on her Confirmation!
And to You also, for this Sweet Idea and Gift!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View mpmitche's profile


428 posts in 3952 days

#13 posted 06-03-2014 01:21 AM

Fantastic build and progress!!

-- Mike, Western New York

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3514 days

#14 posted 06-03-2014 07:34 PM

Mads, you do an amazing job documenting your projects. Thanks!

-- I never finish anyth

View mafe's profile


12870 posts in 4065 days

#15 posted 06-05-2014 08:38 PM

Hi my se dear LJ buddies,
Jim, smiles Jim think also they are my favorites I love that no one ever see them, like a little hidden treasure.
Serge, I always admire every one else for their patience, so I am proud of this compliment and guess you are right, I have been quite patient on this project, even time just vanished in joy.
Dutchy, lol, yes the plastic once are just dollar galasses, but the blac once came all the way from Japane and were fitted here in DK so they were in the hundred of dollars and I broke them…
Stefang, I full understand why it’s not easy to keep track, I made thi blog as a follow my work, not as a how to, so I jump like a kangaroo in the parts and ways, smiles. I bought the sweater at Rjukan power plant’s little shop years back. (My aunt used to live there so I came there several times as a kid and have waked the route of the freedom fighters there):
Brit, yes as I said one more photo and it would have become a video.
BTS, it has become a habit to take photos, the camera are just on the bench powered on, so I just need to push the trigger, but I do forget once in a while and have to go backwards to take a picture.
Jamie, thanks my dear Jamie you were often in my mind.
Soda, this is because it was for my sweet Mathilde.
racerglen, they come from Japan, but I got them from Germany for a crazy high prize… But now it seems I can only get them in beech wood.
lew, big smile.
sras, a pleasure to have you with me- ;-)
littlecope, love to you my friend. Thanks from both of us.
mpm, smiles thanks.
Philip, this one got a little extra. ;-)
Thank you for the comments, I have been quite a lot off the web so I was happy and amazed to see so many comments and views, guess I am not all forgotten as you are not also, sorry I am not always able to follow up on all the posts, but trust me I try as well as I can.
Best thoughts from a happy father and friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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