"Storm" a sculpted cocobolo box

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Project by Andy posted 12-18-2009 05:46 PM 9565 views 64 times favorited 56 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The medallion is simply 3 thin slices of Cocobolo Rosewood seperated with thin bands of Maple and Wenge. How I did this:
After building the box body I routed the recess for the lid and rough cut the lid to size, just a little oversized, and set it aside. Then I sliced off the back and front edges of the lid blank on the table saw. That gave me two strips about 3/4’‘T x 1.5’‘W x 11’‘L, and the center piece. I then took the center and sliced about 1/4’‘off the top. Then I cross cut about 2.25’’ off each end of the center section, which left the lid in 6 pieces. The top of the center section was set aside for another project.

What I am doing: I am making a well ( or recess ) for the Cocobolo panels to fit down into. I don’t want them going full depth, and I want the bottom of the lid to look like solid Bloodwood with a simple inlay. This is actually about as easy as routing out for the medallion like I typically do.

Why didn’t I just route out the center like my Art Boxes and insert the triptych panel?
Two reasons:
First, I wanted maple strips to add a more formal look. I could have just cut kerfs and slipped in a maple inlay, but I wasn’t sure how much shaping I was going to do along both edges and wanted to be sure the ends of the inlay didn’t just stop abruptly. (Look at the third picture and notice how the maple strip continues on the edge smoothly down into the box). And its less exacting to sandwich a narrow strip between two boards than it is to fit an inlay.
Second, I didn’t want rounded corners on the panel that a routed recess would have given me. It wouldn’t have allowed the border inlays to reach the maple inlay at the top and bottom.

I made the center panel by first selecting a figured board that varied in color and pattern, but also making sure that the pattern shifted from top to bottom. If the pattern did not shift then I would have got three identical slices side x side. I was wanting more variation than even these, but its what I had on hand. After cutting the slices, I made some thin strips of Maple and Wenge ( about 1/8’’ thick and 1’’ wide x 18’’ long, which I glued up face to face, and then clamped them between 2 boards. After it dried, I sliced strips off of it on the bandsaw and sanded the faces smooth and repeated until I had 3 strips which gave me a little extra. Then I cut these to the same length as the panels and placed these in between each panel and on the ends and glued these edge to edge. TIP: Make an assembly jig.
I took a scrap of 3/4’’ plywood about 6’’ wide and 12’’ long and added a lip to the back edge which was about 1/4’’ taller and then did the same on the left end.This gave me a backboard and end board to keep everything lined up as I glued all these pieces together. I put a strip of masking tape on the face of each of the stops to prevent glueing my panel to them too.

To aid glueing up, I cut three narrow strips of double stick tape and placed one at the top,center,bottom of the deck of the assembly jig. Its easier to peel the panel off if you use narrow strips, its pretty fragile.
After glueing all the edges together, I clamped them down onto the sticky tape with spring clamps and blocks of wood. I have also used stop blocks at the front and right end and tapped wedges in to draw the pieces all together.Whatever method you decide to try, test it out before you get glue on everything :-)
After the glue dried, I cleaned up the bottom and then cut the panel to just slightly longer and wider than the thinner center section of the lid, then I shaved it to fit exactly.
Note: Be sure and mark center of both the panel and the lid center it will be glued to, so when its all together the middle panel is in the center of your lid.
After that was glued up and dry, I then edged it with thin strips of Maple,and then reassembled the lid parts, and glued it all back together.

The dividers:
This design resulted from the fact that I was running out of time to have this completed for yesterdays going away party, and I have been wanting to come up with a new spin on dividers, but mostly from the simple fact that I really don’t like making dividers at all. They take a lot of time and they are seldom what everyone wants and limits the boxes use for some people. These are not “jewelry boxes” exactly, I don’t like to direct their usage. So, I usually make the dividers removable.
This design came to when I was messing about with some thin slats. Its pretty obvious in the photo, but just to clarify, the center slat is about 1/8’‘x 3/4’’ and then the two bent ones are about 1/16’’ x 5/8’’. This allows the two thinner slats to tuck into the corners and bend into the next one. I really like the look. Just be sure to use a strong straight grained wood and try it several times before finishing it. I eased the edges an each end to prevent scratching the inside of the box.

Storm I see dark storm clouds in the distance rolling over the desert, and onto the black mesa in the handle.
Others see a volcano or outer space. Let me know what you see :-)

The box is Bloodwood, panels and handle are Cocobolo, accents are Maple and Wenge.
Finish is Deft brand semi gloss spray lacquer.
Black velvet liner.

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

56 comments so far

View Diamondback's profile


88 posts in 4482 days

#1 posted 12-18-2009 05:49 PM

Wow, beautiful box, beautiful workmanship! And thanks for the details!

-- Oshkosh, Wisconsin

View Ken90712's profile


18106 posts in 4532 days

#2 posted 12-18-2009 05:52 PM

Beyond beautiful! This is a master peice. You should be proud of this one.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4901 days

#3 posted 12-18-2009 05:54 PM

A gorgeous box. I’ll bet she will treasure that box for years to come. You did a beautiful job.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View gbear's profile


544 posts in 5442 days

#4 posted 12-18-2009 06:05 PM

Absolutely gorgeous…I love your work and you have one lucky friend. I sure she will cherish this box forever.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5337 days

#5 posted 12-18-2009 06:09 PM

Outstanding craftsmanship, Andy! Just a beautiful creation and gift.

Merry Christmas to you too!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View sras's profile


6520 posts in 4472 days

#6 posted 12-18-2009 06:11 PM

Fantastic! I remember reading (I think it was a Tony Lygate book) that boxes are all about discovery. People always want to see what’s inside. With this piece the discovery starts before you ever get around to opening it! The divider idea just adds to that process. One of your best (that I have seen ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4775 days

#7 posted 12-18-2009 06:13 PM

Beautiful box. Everything about it is just incredible!
Love the top, the smooth curves of the side and especially the dividers!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 4974 days

#8 posted 12-18-2009 06:18 PM

I agree with everyone this is Beeaaauuutiful !!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 4651 days

#9 posted 12-18-2009 06:19 PM

I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy! YOU are the master Andy. Your work, attention to detail and craftsmanship never cease to amaze me. This is the finest box I have ever seen.
I love the fact that you include a “mini blog” with your projects. I suspect, because you know people like me, will be asking lots of questions on the construction. Absolutely GORGEOUS build. Thanks for posting!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5561 days

#10 posted 12-18-2009 06:29 PM

Andy, I only wish I had started woodworking about 30 years earlier. Then I might have a shot at living long enough to be able to one day produce anything even approaching this level of beauty and craftsmanship.

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

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4553 days

#11 posted 12-18-2009 06:30 PM

Andy. Why did you have to post a box right next to mine?
Well done Andy. Well done.
I’m now thinking I should have finished my box with poly of some kind to get my bloodwood to glisten like yours. I finished mine with danish oil and wax.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5428 days

#12 posted 12-18-2009 06:35 PM

This is very special Andy..I’ll bet she loved it.


View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4839 days

#13 posted 12-18-2009 06:51 PM

Wow Andy, first thought in my mind when I saw this was “Very Dramatic” and just drop dead gorgeous!
You did it again and also a big thanks for the tips on how you did it.
Superb design and craftsmanship !

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View a1Jim's profile


118310 posts in 4920 days

#14 posted 12-18-2009 06:53 PM

Wonderful marvelous , just as good as it gets a wonderful work of art. I’ll read the details two or three more time to see if I can get a clearer picture of how it was done.


View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5743 days

#15 posted 12-18-2009 06:55 PM

Andy: that is a seriuosly beautiful box. Nice flowing features and a present that anyone would love.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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