Simple box gets complicated

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Project by ravensrock posted 05-15-2016 10:58 PM 2271 views 11 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I had this nice piece of walnut with straight grain that I thought would make a nice simple box. Then I decided to try veneering for the first time. I picked up a sample pack of veneers at the Baltimore Woodworking Show and used it for the top outside and inside. I’m not even sure what type of wood the veneer is but thought it matched well. I thought I’d add some maple splines for strength. Then I saw a picture online where someone had made a spline within a spline. This simple box was becoming more complex with every step. I turned to the fabulous lumberjocks forum for advice on how to make them.

Here is the link to the thread:

I ended up making a jig as KnickKnack suggested. I was pleased with the results. Not perfect but I think the wenge addition to the maple splines works well on this box. The wenge lid lift pulls it all together. I still wasn’t sure what type of box this would be but it seemed too big so I decided to make some maple inserts. I guess it turned into a jewelry box of sorts. I finished it with about 5 coats of spray lacquer and a coat of paste wax.

Comments, compliments and critiques are welcome. Always open to learning more. Thanks for looking.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

18 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3196 days

#1 posted 05-15-2016 11:52 PM

Very nice! I really like the double splines of contrasting woods.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Andy's profile


240 posts in 1334 days

#2 posted 05-16-2016 12:18 AM

Really nice box, Dave. Nice work with the double splines. Ive only seen that once before. The one I seen was made with a walnut spline with maple veneer wrapped around it before it was ever inserted it the miter.

-- Andy Smith

View cdnstudentwoodworker's profile


54 posts in 2067 days

#3 posted 05-16-2016 01:10 AM

very nice! how did you cut the splines without breaking out the corners ?

View ravensrock's profile


507 posts in 2149 days

#4 posted 05-16-2016 01:26 AM

I used my old spline jig for the table saw to cut the maple splines. Then I made a new jig for the router table to cut the wenge splines inside the maple ones. Just had to line it up carefully to keep it centered.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View jumbojack's profile


1689 posts in 3130 days

#5 posted 05-16-2016 03:24 AM

I used the double spline method on a few boxes also. I too had difficulty getting the darn thing centered EXACTLY. A clue thou shows up. I resorted to glueing up the splines first and just cutting one left with a dado blade. The dark center is centered perfectly.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View drewpy's profile


966 posts in 1863 days

#6 posted 05-16-2016 05:42 AM

Turned out great. I really like the look and your craftsmanship is top notch. The double splines Rock!!

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View Mikesawdust's profile


329 posts in 3545 days

#7 posted 05-16-2016 12:19 PM

Very impressive veneer job as well, sanding the splines in with veneer would drive me up a wall.

-- You never cut a piece to short, you are just prepping that piece for a future project

View kiefer's profile


5682 posts in 3173 days

#8 posted 05-16-2016 01:46 PM

Beautiful box !
For making splines like that I cut a strip long enough for all the splines and dado out the centre cutting both ways which will leave the groove perfectly in the centre and then fill it with the second material strip. Then cut all the splines required and glue into the spline grooves of the box .
Another thing that I found useful is taping up the area around the splines before cutting which helps prevent tear out and also keeps the glue squeeze out from getting on the surrounding area .

-- Kiefer

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2850 days

#9 posted 05-16-2016 01:54 PM

looks great

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4083 days

#10 posted 05-16-2016 02:06 PM

Looks super Dave

View ravensrock's profile


507 posts in 2149 days

#11 posted 05-16-2016 02:45 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Kiefer- Wouldn’t the middle section of the spline go to the end of the slot doing it that way and not leave a bit of maple showing? That’s why I didn’t glue up the spline first.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3373 days

#12 posted 05-16-2016 04:15 PM

This box turned out so nicely. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jonmakesthings's profile


73 posts in 1324 days

#13 posted 05-16-2016 05:21 PM

Beautiful job. I like that you cut the splines on the router, I usually do it on the TS and then have to file down the bottoms because of the skew on the blade. I’ll have to try the router next time

-- How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

View ravensrock's profile


507 posts in 2149 days

#14 posted 05-16-2016 11:34 PM

jonmakesthings- I cut the maple splines on the table saw with a flat kerf blade which leaves nice flat bottoms. I used the router table for the wenge splines.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View ruddy's profile


550 posts in 3445 days

#15 posted 05-17-2016 06:36 AM

That is a very nice box. Much to be admired not the least those great corner splines.
Beautiful and thanks for posting.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

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