A simple jewlery box from hell

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Project by mahdee posted 02-11-2016 03:24 PM 2446 views 2 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all,
A friend of a friend of a friend’s dad passed to the other side of life and I inherited a milk crate full of molding and boards. I decided to make a jewelry box out of some of the boards that I am thinking are mahogany. Long story short, the wood has thousands of round pores in it and every time I put poly on it, the wood would produce bubbles under and through the finish. After several attempts, I stripped it and used lacquer instead and to my demise, same thing happened. When I put more than 3 coats on it, certain area of the finish collapsed while other locations began to show the grain as though it was red oak. Finally, after stripping it and apply 4 coat of shellac, sanding in between and rubbing the last coat with 1-4 ratio with denatured alcohol, it stabilized and I was able to finish it with 2 coats of lacquer. I have never experienced anything like this before and am questioning whether the wood is mahogany. Anyways, the side storage can hold watches and the front part is for necklaces and such. I hollowed the side pieces to serve as a hidden compartment.
Thank for looking.


25 comments so far

View kenthemadcarpenter's profile


124 posts in 1550 days

#1 posted 02-11-2016 03:40 PM

I like that, came out really nice. Just a word of advice, always seal you finished project with Shellac before applying a poly or lacquer. The shellac does several things, 1. It seals the wood and any pores, 2 it levels the surface so when you apply a poly or lacquer, the poly/lacquer does’t seep into the wood/and the oils from the wood don’t seep out, Years
ago when I worked for a furniture company that is what they taught us. Unfortunately a lot guys will skip the shellac, or worse yet they use shellac and nothing else

View recycle1943's profile


3186 posts in 2105 days

#2 posted 02-11-2016 03:43 PM

it may not have been fun but the end result looks great

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2250 days

#3 posted 02-11-2016 03:45 PM

Thank Ken. I used to live in your neck of the woods MA, and my mentor also always used shellac but we mostly made musical instruments. I probably need to switch to dry shellac and mix my own so I have it handy when needed.


View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2250 days

#4 posted 02-11-2016 03:46 PM

Thank you Dick. Appreciate the feedback.


View Woodknack's profile


12893 posts in 2863 days

#5 posted 02-11-2016 07:01 PM

Box turned out great. The wood looks like walnut to me, nothing like mahogany.

-- Rick M,

View NJBirdman's profile


35 posts in 2554 days

#6 posted 02-11-2016 08:22 PM

Great work on the box. I can never seem to make jewelry boxes look like anything more than small awkward boxes. Yours looks very nice, beautiful curves. I agree, it looks like walnut. If it smelled somewhat clove like or ‘spicy’ its definitely mahogany. If it had more of a rich sweet smell walnut it is.

-- --Denver-- Any society that will give up a little liberty for a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2929 days

#7 posted 02-11-2016 08:28 PM

Good old shellac to the rescue,I love the result ,you must have put a lot of work into the build the box as well,the ring holders is a nice touch.
Well done.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2250 days

#8 posted 02-11-2016 08:31 PM

Rick and NJBirdman, Thanks. The inside components are walnut from my stash. The box and the lid are definitely not walnut. It did smell somewhat like clover.


View jeffswildwood's profile


4030 posts in 2460 days

#9 posted 02-12-2016 12:01 AM

What a beautiful box. I really like the style and the work is awesome!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Katz-Moses Woodworking's profile

Katz-Moses Woodworking

42 posts in 1333 days

#10 posted 02-12-2016 01:08 AM

What a nightmare! Looks great. I’m 100% sure that it is walnut.

-- If you want it to take longer and cost more, get into woodworking. It's worth every second and every penny because nothing, is more rewarding than creating something with your own two hands.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1369 posts in 3146 days

#11 posted 02-12-2016 01:27 AM

Great ending result, some days things take a lot longer, nice box.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2250 days

#12 posted 02-12-2016 03:28 AM

jeffswildwood, Katz-Moses, Bobsboxes,
Thank you so much. I contemplated on using it for a target practice object since I have had been working on it since mid- December.


View hoss12992's profile


4149 posts in 2375 days

#13 posted 02-12-2016 04:08 AM

Great looking box

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Boxguy's profile


2847 posts in 2750 days

#14 posted 02-12-2016 05:56 AM

Mahdee, sorry you had such a finish nightmare. There is some really nice work here. I especially like the routed tray in the front. What is that to the left holding up the lid? Is it a cord of some kind, or a prop to hold it open? It is difficult to tell from the picture, but it could be Louro Preto.

I use a lot of exotic wood scraps from our local veneer mills when I make boxes and have had good luck with a starting coat of Minwax Tung Oil. It seems to work even on porous wood and is unaffected by woods high in oils or resins. I also like the way it brings out the natural color of the woods. My next two coats are poly and a final rub with Johnson’s Paste Wax. I add an extra poly coat if the wood is especially porous. Keep boxing and keep posting. You make beautiful boxes.

-- Big Al in IN

View OldGuysRule's profile


130 posts in 1455 days

#15 posted 02-12-2016 06:02 AM

I have no idea what kind of wood it is other than beautiful !!! That really has some nice grain pattern to it. Great job on the box and finish!!!

-- Rod P.........OLD GUY......Learning new things!

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