walnut burl Shoe valet

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Project by Eyal posted 03-27-2015 02:29 PM 3864 views 18 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So for my next box i very much wanted to make a shoe valet, a box that will hold shoe polishing equipment.
With prior experience in making a curved lid, there wasn’t anything particularly challenging. What i was able to concentrate on, was the quality of the details, the black and white banding, ensuring that everything matched up as close to perfect as possible, and of course, getting the french polishing to a flat mirror finish.

i used baltic birch plywood as the substrate for the veneer and relied on rabbet joints to glue up the box. once the frame was complete, i focused on shaping the sides of the box to contour to the shape of the lid. the rest of that process, including the entire process to make this box is available using the most comprehensive material out there on the subject: Roger Bean’s box making e-books available at

As you will notice, the edges of the box are also veneered and in my opinion, significantly more elegant done this way.
the shoe polishing equipment is from saphir, made in france and contains equipment for polishing smooth leather and suede. The shoe horn is made out of genuine horn. there are 2 trays and the bottom has about 3.5 inches of space for additional items the owner may wish to add in addition the comprehensive kit included.
The lining is a genuine silk velvet that is luxurious and very easy to work with at the same time.
the lock is from ian hawthorne and is quite simply, in a different league to any other box lock on the market today.
A bit of history on this project:

I am a relatively new woodworker, and had no exposure to working wood as recent as 2 years ago and was actually quite clumsy whenever i had to do any kind of repair work around the house.
i got into collecting smoking pipes about two and a half years ago and happened to see a beautiful pipe cabinet for sale. i wished i could make one. it took a while, but eventually, the thought of learning how to build one took hold in my mind. from that moment on i was determined to learn how. research took my to lumberjocks, and perusing through the project gallery i was overwhelmed with a respect for the talent hobbyists had for the things they were making. When i stumbled on Roger beans fine decorative boxes. my jaws dropped. i just could not believe that someone could make something so magnificent. i felt a twinge (perhaps more than that) of jealousy. it was simply out of the question. there was no way i could make that. i didn’t even own a chisel, not to mention never having the opportunity to hold one in my life. i signed up to lumberjocks, if only, to be able to favorite Rogers box so that if i wanted, i could find it and look at it again.

I always enjoy a morning coffee 15 minutes or so before school starts ( i am principal and director of a small private school in Brooklyn NY) and i took this opportunity to once again look at that lovely box on lumberjocks, and take a closer look at the description. were my eyes fooling me? i simply couldn’t believe it. The sheer luck! there was a 200 page e-book with color photos on how to make this very box! needless to say i purchased the e-book right then and there. Upon scrolling through the pages of the e-book, My joy and excitement slowly switched to horror then dejection, when i realized that i could barely follow any of the processes in the book. I did not even know how to make the simplest of joints, not to mention a veritable masterpiece of woodworking. but that dejection lasted for a minute or two. for my mind had already been made up. i was going to make that box whether i like it or not. whether i wanted to or not. i was going to do it. And i guess i did.
Many people who have seen my boxes say i am am a natural, have talent etc. but i know better. i have always been a bit clumsy when it comes to things like this, not to mention having challenges with dimensions, numbers, measurement, angles, many of the things required to make furniture. The fundamental processes in woodworking did not come naturally to me, but with a will and determination to succeed the learning curve is that much smaller and easier to accomplish.
I think the two underlying factors was the determination, and never to give up. And The second, the generous ability for woodworkers to give the time to share and teach their knowledge.
I think that is the aim of this rather lengthy writing i am sharing with you.
I owe a big thank you to the woodworkers at lumberjocks for introducing me to this wonderful craft and equally, to Roger for his generous ability to teach and share his knowledge.
thanks for looking!
Eyal Bension.

24 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3378 days

#1 posted 03-27-2015 03:00 PM

That is a beautiful piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4730 days

#2 posted 03-27-2015 04:31 PM

Fantastic box!

As soon as I saw it, I knew it must have been inspired by Roger’s work.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View horky's profile


276 posts in 3442 days

#3 posted 03-27-2015 04:32 PM

Eyal, what an exquisite box. The detail is phenomenal. The finish exquisite. I can only imagine what the shoes look like. Thanks for sharing and look forward to your next one.

View rustynails's profile


858 posts in 3041 days

#4 posted 03-27-2015 04:33 PM

Eyal, I think you nailed it, Great job keep em coming…


View Ivan's profile


15084 posts in 3379 days

#5 posted 03-27-2015 04:40 PM

Very demanding project with lot of incredible details. You’ve done it perfectly.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3465 days

#6 posted 03-27-2015 06:06 PM

Great to see this box. It’s a fine example of what taste combined with careful craftsmanship can accomplish. Your choice of veneers is really nice. The choice of lining works really well with the veneer and provides a period feel that’s “just right”. I particularly like the curly maple trays and how they contrast with the walnut burl exterior. The small
“box in a box” is a touch that I really like.” In all, the box serves up a “harmony” and “balance” that’s pretty hard to achieve. My compliments.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View snowgoer's profile


107 posts in 3179 days

#7 posted 03-27-2015 07:06 PM

Your story of determination and that beautiful box has inspired me to keep trying to make hand cut dovetails. Thank you.

View Grumpymike's profile


2425 posts in 2827 days

#8 posted 03-27-2015 07:10 PM

Beautiful is not enough to say about this wonderful box.
The hardware appointments elegantly enhance this true work of art.
Your craftsmanship shows in each of the many details, as shown in the banding and edging …
Just a real touch of class.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Brad's profile


1140 posts in 3252 days

#9 posted 03-27-2015 07:46 PM

Is is some stunning work you did there. A beautiful piece to be proud of.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View EarlS's profile


3097 posts in 2860 days

#10 posted 03-27-2015 08:33 PM

Eyal – very nice box. I know I would have a hard time making something like it.

I think that truth be told most woodworkers will tell you that woodworking doesn’t come easy. It comes with patience, practice, and lots and lots of hard work. Still, if it is something you enjoy, all of the hard work is worth it.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3140 days

#11 posted 03-27-2015 09:39 PM

Wow! This one has everything: fancy veneer, contrasting trays, mortised lock and hinges, and inlay. You should be proud.

-- Ben in Va

View Mean_Dean's profile


6994 posts in 3659 days

#12 posted 03-28-2015 12:06 AM

Man that is a beautiful box! I love that walnut and those maple trays!

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

View tomd's profile


2212 posts in 4282 days

#13 posted 03-28-2015 12:36 AM

Beautiful veneer and great attention to fine detail. Interior is a treat, excellent workmanship.

-- Tom D

View Woodbridge's profile


3691 posts in 2930 days

#14 posted 03-28-2015 01:08 AM

superbly crafted, exquisite detail and simply beautiful.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View larryw's profile


335 posts in 3174 days

#15 posted 03-28-2015 02:46 AM

Absolutely beautiful Eyal, and a nod to the master, Mr. Roger Bean.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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