Leopardwood and Canarywood Boxes

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Project by Schnur posted 12-13-2015 06:03 PM 1958 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Boxes are great for learning new techniques so that they can be applied to larger and more complicated projects. They are also a great way to showcase your skills as a woodworker and an artist, because they can easily serve as a blank slate for your imagination. It can be fun to add certain elements that are structurally not necessary in the slightest, which is in my opinion one of the great joys of box making.

These are two sister boxes I recently made. One is made of leopardwood with quilted maple, birdseye maple, and walnut burl veneers used for the top. The other is made of canarywood with walnut burl, birdseye maple, and quilted maple veneers used for the top. Brusso stop hinges were installed on both boxes and I think I might have an addiction for Brusso hinges. Their build quality, great looks, and smooth action probably contribute to that. Satin polyurethane was used to finish the veneers and danish oil was used for the rest of the boxes.

The sides were curved with a table saw using varying blade angles, which was time consuming but rewarding. Splines were probably not needed from a strength standpoint, but I think they are cool and fun to install. Along with other woodworkers, it pains me to waste wood, which is why I use the veneers that are cut from the sides of the box for the ceiling and floor of the interior.

Canarywood was a dream to work with and I would like to incorporate it in future projects. I found that I was allergic to leopardwood, which made for a very itchy week of woodworking!


9 comments so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2290 days

#1 posted 12-13-2015 06:57 PM

I like your boxes.

I also seem to have an allergic reaction to leopardwood, but it does look nice.

It looks like you used both splines in the miter joint and also crosswise of the miter joint on the outside. Do you consider either of these decorative instead of structural? The reason I ask is usually I see one or the other. I use the cross joint splines for both structure and decoration.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Schnur's profile


14 posts in 2009 days

#2 posted 12-13-2015 07:26 PM

Thanks, WoodNSawdust.
I could argue that with modern adhesives like Titebond III, additional jointery techniques aren’t necessary for structural integrity in applications like jewelry boxes, but that’s just my opinion. I use them because they are visually interesting and I take pride in my work.


View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3381 days

#3 posted 12-14-2015 06:27 AM

Schnur, welcome to Lumberland. You have used really lovely and exotic wood combinations to create a great pair of boxes. I like the experimental aspects of trying different techniques with different tools. We can do that with a box, but might be reluctant to try it on a large article of furniture or a house. Boxes are not such a big investment that you can’t be a bit daring in their construction.

I completely agree with you that making boxes is a great exercise in creativity. I also think you can use the techniques from box construction to build furniture, cabinetry, and shop accessories. The design phase of building boxes is often the best part of the process and the most fun. Isn’t it a joy to think your way through a tool into an imagined effect?

I use horizontal corner spline in almost all of my boxes for the visual effect; but also, for the strength. Gluing end grain to end grain can’t be nearly as strong as gluing side grain to side grain, no matter what glue you use.

There is a lot to like in this box: curved sides, horizontal and vertical corner splines, inlaid top veneers, fine hinges, inset bottom and top, internal trays, jointed tops, great finish. I don’t think you missed many tricks. This box is a masterpiece of acquired skills and applied techniques. Good work.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4129 days

#4 posted 12-14-2015 09:59 AM

Boxguy said it well and I concur.

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 5021 days

#5 posted 12-14-2015 06:18 PM

Great looking design and wood combo…and I agree with Boxguy

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3980 days

#6 posted 12-14-2015 09:19 PM

I love these boxes. They are beautiful and the design is wonderful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4260 days

#7 posted 12-15-2015 12:51 AM

Beautiful boxes! I really like the Leopardwood box!

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

View Schnur's profile


14 posts in 2009 days

#8 posted 12-15-2015 03:04 AM

Boxguy, I can tell you are passionate about box making/woodworking too. Thank you for sharing your views on this great hobby.
And thank you everyone else for your comments. I’m glad to be a part of the woodworking community.


View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3381 days

#9 posted 12-15-2015 05:17 AM

Schnur, thanks. I am looking forward to seeing your next post. You might want to work on your home page when you have time.

-- Big Al in IN

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