Death Valley

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Project by Andy posted 09-13-2007 08:31 PM 9179 views 67 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a box design I developed after much trial and error. I wanted to design a box that invited people to touch it and to pick it up. With no sharp corners, it must be smooth and it needed to have an organic flow about it. And it had to be simple in design to showcase the wood itself and especially the medallion. This design lets you utilize those special pieces that we all squirrel away. Thats why I call these Art Boxes. After the box is completely assembled, I shape the top free hand using a 4” angle grinder, this gives it the pillowed look. The sides have a very slight upward taper which is cut on the bandsaw, and at times also get shaped freehand, depending on the wood.The lift-lid has an inset medallion of contrasting wood and swings up on 2 brass pins and then drops down inside at the back,and into the box cavity. This acts as the lid stay. The interior is lined in velvet and has Maple dividers. The body is made from one continous piece of wood, so that the grain chases around and then stops in a back corner. This is most appreciated on woods that have linear movement, grain that runs horizontal, such as plain sawn Maple. The edges are mitered and then slip feathers are added in a contrasting wood. The main part of the lid is from the same board as the sides, and sets into a recess in the body and projects above it about 3/8” to allow for shaping. The medallion sets into a recess in the lid and also projects above it about 3/8” for shaping. The handle is T-shaped, with a tenon cut into its back edge, that fits into the mortise in the lids edge. Several jigs and templates for routing are required for construction, but are pretty straight forward to make. The body and lid are Peruvian Walnut and the medallion and handle are figured Myrtlewood.

The finish is Deft spray lacquer, satin gloss.

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

36 comments so far

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1819 posts in 5161 days

#1 posted 09-13-2007 08:38 PM


Don is going to want more pictures.

-- Bob

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5236 days

#2 posted 09-13-2007 08:44 PM

this is totally 100% amazing… oh my goodness…. astounding

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 5066 days

#3 posted 09-13-2007 08:49 PM


-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5172 days

#4 posted 09-13-2007 09:00 PM

Wonderful box. Have any photos of the inside?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5293 days

#5 posted 09-13-2007 09:17 PM

These are really fantastic! As original as they are beautiful.

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

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5111 days

#6 posted 09-13-2007 09:23 PM

Holy Moly! Don better sit down before he sees these. He’ll be weak in the knees.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 5065 days

#7 posted 09-13-2007 10:21 PM

“Organic Flow” here is an understatement as these boxes are truely alive. Absolutely beautiful.

What did you use for a finish?

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4983 days

#8 posted 09-13-2007 10:56 PM

Thank you all !. @ Dadoo-the finish is Deft lacquer.

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

View TonyWard's profile


748 posts in 5403 days

#9 posted 09-13-2007 10:58 PM


Very nice work, congratulations!

Like Don I also enjoy making boxes!

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4984 days

#10 posted 09-13-2007 11:11 PM

This is not wood working it is Living Wood ART! Stunning work. Thanks for sharing it with us.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 5058 days

#11 posted 09-13-2007 11:16 PM

killer boxes !!!

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View wwnovice's profile


104 posts in 5261 days

#12 posted 09-14-2007 12:10 AM

Those are incredible boxes. Very impressive.

-- John

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5252 days

#13 posted 09-14-2007 12:43 AM

Today just has to be a great day!

Wow, Andy, these are amongst the nicest boxes I’ve seen. You’ve probably figured out that I just love small wooden box, so to view these first thing in the morning when I visit LJ’s makes this a very special day.

Your boxes are very sensuous, an exciting prospect for a box-junkie like me.

Yes, I would like more pictures, particularly some showing the shaping process, i.e. before and after. And the finish looks terrific – tell us more, please.

Oh, my palpitating heart!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 5107 days

#14 posted 09-14-2007 01:22 AM

I think that for a woodworker we see many fine examples of craftsmanship that broach a fine line between craftsmanship and art. These definably blow that line away, they are art!

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5163 days

#15 posted 09-14-2007 02:19 AM

I really like these… I would like to see the hinge mechanism more closely…


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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