Curly Maple Jewelry Box

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Project by Mean_Dean posted 01-20-2015 12:43 AM 8412 views 29 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a jewelry box I made for a friend for Christmas.

It is made out of curly maple for the body, and walnut for the lid and legs. I got the basic plan out of a box-making book, but modified it a little. I make the legs tapered, and cut Greene & Greene cloud lifts into the bottoms of all the sides, giving the box a bit of an Asian look.

The interior has dividers, and has a faux suede covering on the bottom.

The dimensions are: 11”W x 6”D x 3”H.

The finish is clear, dewaxed shellac. I’ve learned over the years that Danish oil, and/or oil-based polyurethane leave odors inside the box for years – thus the shellac. I did however hit the walnut with two coats of home-brewed Danish oil to get the rich brown color. The shellac topcoat then sealed up the aroma of the oil.

Now for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: I used Marc Spagnuolo’s formula for popping the figure of curly maple, and it seemed to work pretty well. Also, the popping process gave the maple a light brown color which works well with the walnut.

The Bad: I brushed on two coats of the shellac. The second coat dried a little rough to the touch, so I was able to smooth it out with a brown paper bag (thank you Bob Flexner!), without changing the sheen.

The Ugly: The inside dividers had a little glue squeeze-out that I didn’t notice until I put the shellac on. It doesn’t seem to be noticable to her, but I noticed it – and it is a finishing error……..

Thanks for looking, and any comments are appreciated!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

33 comments so far

View Alongiron's profile


654 posts in 3368 days

#1 posted 01-20-2015 12:50 AM

I think it looks awesome! I really really like it!! You must tell me about the brown paper bag trick
Again great looking jewelry box I am sure she loves it!!


-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View Duckster's profile


431 posts in 2025 days

#2 posted 01-20-2015 01:31 AM

Very nice box. Thanks for showing it.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View bcramer's profile


32 posts in 2237 days

#3 posted 01-20-2015 02:54 AM

Nice looking box.

View kiefer's profile


5713 posts in 3342 days

#4 posted 01-20-2015 03:03 AM

Nice style ,very attractive and very well crafted and the finish brings out the grain nicely .


-- Kiefer

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2967 days

#5 posted 01-20-2015 03:37 AM

Great looking box, nicely crafted!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View doubleDD's profile


9188 posts in 2718 days

#6 posted 01-20-2015 04:05 AM

Nice designed box. Great contrast with the maple and walnut.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2304 days

#7 posted 01-20-2015 04:31 AM

Fabulous box !!!

And now for my ugly (maybe guilty) story. I’m burning the wood that you used every night in my wood-burning stove. The guy who supplies my firewood is an arborist in central Ohio, and the only thing he seems to have is air-dried cherry, curly maple, walnut, and osage orange. Breaks my heart, but it keeps me warm. :(

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View CFrye's profile


10889 posts in 2515 days

#8 posted 01-20-2015 05:32 AM

Dean, this is a beautiful box! Is this the one you were talking about building in the furniture forum? How are the sides secured to the legs? I really like the cloud lift detail and the tapered legs. Thanks for the tip on the trapped-oil odor. Hadn’t run into that, yet. Hopefully, I won’t now! Thanks for sharing.
John, that breaks my heart! I am glad you are warm, but don’t get carried away.

-- God bless, Candy

View Mean_Dean's profile


7029 posts in 3822 days

#9 posted 01-20-2015 05:50 AM

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments—I really appreciate them!

Alongiron: I read in one of Bob Flexner’s books (the Guru of finishing, by the way) about using a brown paper bag to smooth a finish, after it’s cured, without changing the sheen. Just take a bag, and basically polish the finish. It’s just rough enough to remove the dust nibs, and make the finish glass-smooth. Try it—you’ll like it!

John: Maybe heat your house with fir, and save the good stuff for your projects…......?!

Candy: Yes, this is the box I was talking about in the furniture forum. Shellac is an excellent sealer, and keeps the interior of the box from smelling like a varnish factory! The original plans called for using bisquits to attach the legs, but since I don’t have a bisquit joiner, I mortised out the legs, and milled offset tenons in the side pieces to fit. Probably more work, but saves me $200 for a bisquit joiner!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2304 days

#10 posted 01-20-2015 08:39 AM

Candy: Carried away or taken away?

Dean: Burning fir is way too dangerous in a wood-burning stove—the resin is almost explosive. Lots of ash abound here due to the emerald ash borer, but what he sends my way is all split-and-seasoned
hardwood in the species I mentioned. And every once in a while, he throws in a burl for good measure.

You can get a Ryobi mini biscuit joiner on Ebay for around $50. I have one, and I love it for my small projects.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View CFrye's profile


10889 posts in 2515 days

#11 posted 01-20-2015 01:17 PM

Dean, thanks for the explanation on the brown paper bag finishing. I had heard of it before, but didn’t really understand it. Does it work on lacquer and poly?
John, yes. Mini biscuit joiner you say. Hmmm

-- God bless, Candy

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1922 posts in 2644 days

#12 posted 01-20-2015 01:27 PM

Wow. Beautiful work Dean. That really is a show stopper.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Ivan's profile


15726 posts in 3542 days

#13 posted 01-20-2015 01:55 PM

Beautiful combination of woods. I like this simple design.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3777 days

#14 posted 01-20-2015 02:12 PM

Great hinges and as the others have said, she has nice legs…........................

-- mike...............

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7343 posts in 4028 days

#15 posted 01-20-2015 02:20 PM

A really nice looking box indeed! Love the contrasting wood’s and I like this design. Beautiful work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

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