Small Maple and Padauk Box

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Project by Shawn Herrington posted 12-01-2014 07:07 AM 3180 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been ruminating over some ideas for small projects that would make good gifts. Additionally, I had never (until now) made small boxes (for jewelry, or displaying turned pens, etc.). This project and another box project are experiments in designs and techniques and also my first two small boxes.

The box is constructed with mitered and splined sides, a rabbeted bottom and a sliding lid. It is comprised of Maple sides (with continuous grain around the whole box), a Padauk bottom, Purple Heart splines and a Padauk lid with a Purple Heart handle.

The lid was made by marking a the sliding groove thickness on each side of the stock then planing the top down to that thickness much like making a raised panel. Once the whole lid was uniformly faceted, the facets were removed with a hand plane and softened with a card scraper and sandpaper until the whole thing was uniformly smooth and devoid of facets.

I realized too late that I had made no provisions for a “handle” (customarily made by glueing the missing piece of the mitered side onto the sliding lid) on the Padauk lid, so I cut it shorter than anticipated and glued on a Purple Heart handle into the end grain. I was worried the glue would fail, but it has held thus far.

Because I was not as precise as I wanted to be during the glue-up, the groove in the back of the box is set about 1/32” above the sides of the groove. The consequence of my screw-up is a box that has a positive click when fully closed and a satisfyingly tight fitting lid.

The box was finished with spray lacquer for a quick and easy gloss.

-- -Shawn

9 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


17138 posts in 4205 days

#1 posted 12-01-2014 07:09 AM

Nice boxes Shawn! This one is very special with those colours and shape.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Shuja's profile


287 posts in 2903 days

#2 posted 12-01-2014 02:49 PM

That is quote a build.
That positive click would be quite satisfactory.
Thanks for sharing!

-- shuja

View mafe's profile


13683 posts in 4426 days

#3 posted 12-01-2014 06:57 PM

Really fine, I love these mitered sliding lid boxes.
Best thoughts,

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

View Al's profile


27 posts in 2620 days

#4 posted 12-01-2014 08:18 PM

Great looking box Shawn. Thanks for posting it.

I’m relatively new to woodworking so I have a question about the splines you did. I haven’t noticed that they go through the entire thickness of the sides before. Is that the way they are normally done or did you choose to go that route. Thanks in advance for helping a newbie out.

-- -- I don't learn anything if you only give praise.... but that's nice too :)

View Shawn Herrington's profile

Shawn Herrington

28 posts in 2699 days

#5 posted 12-01-2014 10:41 PM

I chose to do them that way. The sides of the box were so thin, I was worried about not having enough glue area on the splines and I liked the look from outside the box (remember, this was all an experiment in technique and design). Chopping the waste, then paring the interior smooth was straightforward enough with a mallet and chisel.

With regard to what is normal, I have no idea. This was my first foray into box making and I tried both through and half-blind splines.

-- -Shawn

View Ken90712's profile


18099 posts in 4526 days

#6 posted 12-02-2014 12:35 AM

Nice work, Love Paduak.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View bygrace's profile


198 posts in 3306 days

#7 posted 12-02-2014 01:44 AM

Great wood choice, and I love the rounded lid. Wrap around grain is always a nice touch also. I think it was Boxguy who suggested I round off the corners to enhance the continuous grain effect. Might want to consider trying that on your next box, not sure how that would work with the handle on the sliding top though. I’m surely not experienced enough to instruct anyone, but you might want to try using an all-purpose blade to cut your splines. They usually have a flatter kerf and therefor leave a cleaner groove for your spline to fit into. And careful, box making can become very addictive!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View Matthew Eye's profile

Matthew Eye

95 posts in 2705 days

#8 posted 12-02-2014 01:55 AM

beautiful wood

-- "When it comes to working on stuff, buying more tools usually helps" - Matthew Eye

View Al's profile


27 posts in 2620 days

#9 posted 12-02-2014 03:41 AM

Thanks Shawn. I appreciate the response.

-- -- I don't learn anything if you only give praise.... but that's nice too :)

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