Boxguy Ups His Game

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Project by Boxguy posted 02-27-2016 12:09 PM 2322 views 9 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As always, thanks for clicking or tapping in and taking a detailed look at this box. I will happily reply to those who “have their say” about this project. All comments and questions are appreciated as that is what makes posting things on this site fun for me. To view more of my work, click here. At the end of this posting is a topical index of box building tips.

Pictured is a quarter sawn White Oak and Figured Brazilian Cherry box (8”W x 10”L x 2”H) with Eucilyptus corner splines. It is lined with suede and has 40 indents for marbles. Details about how to play the game, how the indents are made, jigs, and tools used can be seen using this link to a previous post.

This box has brass plated steel piano hinge that I cut down to fit this box. The finger lift is deeper than normal to make opening the box easier. After the photos, I added magnetic catches to hold the marbles inside the box. Finishing techniques used are detailed here.

Emphasis: One of the nice things about making boxes is that your work can evolve. Since I sell my work, I will often make two or three versions of a project and try to improve the design each time. Though it is difficult to tell from the photos, the oak version is a bit smaller than my first walnut version (shown below).

The oak version has an inset top, a cloth liner, and a different hinge miter technique. It is fun to tinker with designs and see what works best. Since boxes don’t take as long to make, you can experiment. Slavishly making the same box again and again has little appeal to me. So, I will make two or three marble boxes, a couple of dominoes boxes, a jewelry box, a tea box, a display box, a valet box, a bedside box, a desk box, a card deck box, a kleenex box…well you get the idea. There are always new ideas and designs to develop. I usually find that if it is a box that I can use, then other people can use it too and will buy one. Making hundreds of boxes is fun; making the same box a hundred times is not.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

Tutorials: For methods used to make boxes like the one pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic.

Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Jig for 45ing corners:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Finishing tips:
$5 band clamps:
Combining Wood Colors:
Sizing Tea Boxes and Dividers From Venetian Blinds
Making Kleenex boxes:
Making music boxes
Routers and Rounding edges
Why round box corners?
Organizing a glue-up table:
Adding splines to a box:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Cutting off the box top and sizing piano hinges
Adding finger indents:
More about finger indents.
Mortising and installing hinges:
Tips on making sliding trays: for inside boxes:
Swapping Wood By Mail:
Making a serving tray with angled sides.
Roy Underhill's tool tote.
Teaching Boxmaking

-- Big Al in IN

19 comments so far

View captferd's profile


173 posts in 2809 days

#1 posted 02-27-2016 12:19 PM

beautiful. Im not much of an oak fan other than on cabinets, but you sure make it look good.

-- CaptFerd

View jeffswildwood's profile


3947 posts in 2392 days

#2 posted 02-27-2016 01:33 PM

Very nice Al! I really like the way the wood is inset for the top. I love that brazilian cherry!

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

View BB1's profile


1384 posts in 1263 days

#3 posted 02-27-2016 02:41 PM

Love this project! Thank you for sharing all the links and the “how to” behind your work. VERY helpful and MUCH appreciated.

View Timmy2Hands's profile


193 posts in 1380 days

#4 posted 02-27-2016 03:26 PM

I like this project, but I lost my marbles long ago.

-- Tim

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2215 days

#5 posted 02-27-2016 03:49 PM

Another classic Box guy creation! It really looks nice. I know it’s hard to hold a thin box perfectly to cut splines. Good job. Someone will love it, as they do all of your creations!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Boxguy's profile


2825 posts in 2683 days

#6 posted 02-27-2016 04:53 PM


Captain, thanks, remember this is quarter-sawn White Oak. It is not as porous as plain-sawn wood, so it is easy for that wood to look good.

Jeff, I agree. The White Oak and the Cherry do compliment each other. The cherry is from a local veneer company. The veneer is mounted on a Masonite core so it is very stable. It had a poplar back so I covered with with the suede. That last box you posted showed a lot of creativity.

BB1, welcome to Lumber Jocks. I really like the boxes and furniture you have made. Your husband made a good investment when he bought those saws. If you have questions about boxes, feel free to ask. I like your sense of style.

Tim, I think we both do woodworking to keep from loosing our marbles. That is a little different. I enjoyed exchanging ideas with you this past week.

Jerry, it really is tough to hold a small box straight in my spline jig, so I cheated. I clamped a set of “V” shaped boards into the trough of my spline slot jig. and held the box against the V boards as a guide. I cut one side and then just flipped the box around and cut the other side. Since the top and bottom are symmetrical, that technique worked out well, and it was quick. I didn’t do that on the walnut version, and I got one slot a little angled. Live and learn. Yes, it is for sale. Hope Trivia Night went well.

-- Big Al in IN

View Jerry's profile


3203 posts in 2063 days

#7 posted 02-27-2016 05:39 PM

At least now you won’t lose your masbles anymore! Really nice, beautiful work.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View DocSavage45's profile


8820 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 02-27-2016 05:48 PM


I really like the walnut box with the contoured top.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

467 posts in 1357 days

#9 posted 02-27-2016 07:18 PM

A very Nice box for a marble collection. A while back i was in an antique store and saw a container of old marbles like the very ones i would buy as a kid for about 25 cents at the local neighborhood grocery store. They were no longer 25 cents but the antique store was asking $20.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View DonSol's profile


249 posts in 1657 days

#10 posted 02-27-2016 09:15 PM

Another beautiful box and great craftsmanship, Al.

-- Don Solomon, New Castle, IN; Quality is not an act, it is a habit. Aristotle

View BoxBuilder's profile


129 posts in 3545 days

#11 posted 02-27-2016 10:56 PM

Really great boxes. Also your tutorial info is very useful. Keep up the great work and keep sharing. Thanks.

-- Richard, Pennsylvania

View Mean_Dean's profile


6970 posts in 3562 days

#12 posted 02-28-2016 02:14 AM

I can always tell your boxes just from the photos. And this one’s got Boxguy written all over it!

I like the refined look of this one—and love that lid panel!

This box makes a nice place to store your marbles so you don’t lose them!

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

View Boxguy's profile


2825 posts in 2683 days

#13 posted 02-28-2016 02:18 AM


Jerry, be warned, my wife says I lost my marbles when I started making boxes. That last humidor you made is a super job.

Doc, I agree the walnut version has some real style to it. However, I had this great piece of Brazilian Cherry scrap that I wanted to use…

Southerner, while it is a marble collection of sorts and would be a good way to show off a collection, it is mostly a game that I have been enjoying
playing with my grandson. You certainly have an impressive bunch of sculpted boxes. They are really nice work. They seem familiar.

Don, thanks. I do take pride in making boxes that are a joy to see, a pleasure to touch, and pleasing to use. Your last marquetry box is a real knockout with the white flowers and the butterflies.

Boxbuilder, thanks. Glad to be of assistance in your box building adventures. You have posted a really impressive array of boxes on this site. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View doubleDD's profile


8446 posts in 2458 days

#14 posted 02-28-2016 05:17 AM

I agree with Jerry some. You can loose your marbles but still can create some beautiful boxes. Nice work Al. Even the marbles help to show off the box.

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

View Tichomir Toth's profile

Tichomir Toth

87 posts in 1457 days

#15 posted 02-28-2016 06:06 AM

Another nice box, awesome colors, immaculate finishing. Also thanks for the building tips. Keep boxing! :)

-- Tichomir Toth, Slovakia,

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