Lichtenberg Pattern Jewelery Box

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Project by splintergroup posted 10-10-2016 04:45 PM 4675 views 22 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After playing with the wood burning technique introduced to me by Jim Jakosh I decided to put the results into a project.

The overall outside box dimensions are 11.5” x 7.5”. The top overhangs about an additional inch on each side. The top is 7/8” thick, but the steep taper makes it look a lot lighter (the rim is 3/8” wide).

The first thing most people see when viewing the results of 12,000 Volts is a tree, a sad, dead tree 8^)

Maybe the name of this box should be “Trees in Winter”, or “Ode to Smokey Bear”.

Back to reality,

I bought some Brusso hinges a few months back when they were on sale for 50% off. Of course even at a 50% discount, they are very expensive, so I needed a project with enough extra ‘fluff’ to justify their use.

This box is made with Walnut, Jatoba, and Apricot for the panels from the neighbors dead tree (how appropriate!). I used M&T construction with basic frame/panel design. You can see the exposed tenons on the box corners.

The panels are only glued in the top/bottom centers to allow for lateral expansion.

The finish is natural Danish oil (squeezed a bunch of sticky buns in a juicer 8^), topped by Formby’s Satin Tung Oil Finish for protection and to cover the smell of the Danish oil. I like this stuff, wipes on with a cloth and dries fairly fast. It also does a nice job of bringing out the wood colors without overly adding a yellow tint.

I usually give the dried finish a “de-glossing” with #0000 steel wool, followed by a buffing with a cloth. This leaves a smooth, matte finish. Everything is topped with paste wax afterwards.

For the interior, I created a lattice of unfinished Apricot, drum sanded to 1/4” thick. With the aid of my 1/4” finger joint blade set I got perfectly sized dados with smooth bottoms. The felt was glued to the box bottom and is contained as a panel trapped in a groove running the perimeter of the box.

A second full size tray was added, topped by two smaller trays, all made from unfinished Apricot. 27 compartments in total.

The center panels are from a small section of Jatoba I had found. I was looking for a nice accent wood and this piece displayed a touch of curly grain that I thought would look nice. The curl all but disappeared and the wood ended up looking darker than I had wanted, but not too bad. I had also used the Jatoba for the tops miter splines.

Initially they were going to only be 1/4” thick and be offset toward the top (centered on the top rim).

Being offset and a momentary lack of attention with my splining jig led to the jumbo oversized splines you see in the photo. I almost decided to scrap the top and rebuild, but learning recovery techniques can save a lot of grief!

Overall A fun project. Next time I have a few refinements I’ll do but otherwise I think the proportions on this box are about right.

31 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6718 posts in 3317 days

#1 posted 10-10-2016 05:05 PM


Lots of work and a beautiful resuult!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Kyle2112's profile


21 posts in 1891 days

#2 posted 10-10-2016 05:06 PM

I like it!

-- Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

View splintergroup's profile


4961 posts in 2273 days

#3 posted 10-10-2016 05:10 PM

Thanks guys!

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

744 posts in 4340 days

#4 posted 10-10-2016 05:16 PM

Very nice and unique project. interesting technique of burning on wood.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View Eugd's profile


65 posts in 2161 days

#5 posted 10-10-2016 05:36 PM

Simply beautiful work, Grate attention to detail, the top view of corners look great.

View splintergroup's profile


4961 posts in 2273 days

#6 posted 10-10-2016 05:52 PM

Thanks Eli and Eugd!

Simply beautiful work, Grate attention to detail, the top view of corners look great.

Next time I’ll make them a tad shorter, trimming mitered tenons is not fun!

View AandCstyle's profile


3296 posts in 3307 days

#7 posted 10-10-2016 06:24 PM

Splinter, the “Trees in Winter” motif is outstanding (remember, Spring is just around the corner) and the craftsmanship is superlative. You have done yourself proud. Was it difficult installing those hinges? I like their looks, but have been afraid to try them on a nearly completed project.

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile


4961 posts in 2273 days

#8 posted 10-10-2016 06:43 PM

Your opinion is always appreciated Art, thanks!

The Brusso hinges are easy to install. I cut two slots into a piece of plywood with a 3/4” bit on my router table (the outside diameter of my guide bushing). These slots were spaced the same as the hinges. I then used the plywood as a guide template on the lid and box bottom (1/2” bit). No drama. The slots were slightly too deep so I placed a piece of paper into the slots before screwing in the hinges.
The have a built in stop at 95 degrees and this stop requires a small relief cut (with a 1/4” chisel).

I also took advantage of the 1/2 price quadrant hinges, these have me worried on installation (I hate deep, skinny mortices!)

View leafherder's profile


1978 posts in 3002 days

#9 posted 10-10-2016 06:52 PM

Gorgeous! Arts & Crafts with an Asian flare. You see sad, dead trees, I see trees in winter waiting for rebirth. Beautiful proportions and finish. Thanks for sharing

-- Leafherder

View Bud_3's profile


907 posts in 2275 days

#10 posted 10-10-2016 07:20 PM

Nice,lot of details!

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,you must polish it to shine.....

View ravensrock's profile


513 posts in 2693 days

#11 posted 10-10-2016 08:11 PM

This is a beautiful piece! It’s attention to detail that really sets it apart.

-- Dave, York, PA, Wildside Woodworking

View bondogaposis's profile


5972 posts in 3402 days

#12 posted 10-10-2016 08:13 PM

Beautiful, love it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View splintergroup's profile


4961 posts in 2273 days

#13 posted 10-10-2016 08:24 PM

Leaf, Bud, Dave, Bondo, thank you for the kind words!

Me thinks I need to burn in the outline of a vulture or raven on one of the branches, create a “Goth Art” category.
If it is truly a waiting for spring motif, maybe one little green leaf growing out?

Anyway, I’ve got a few other ideas/uses for the Lichtenberg patterns. Too cool to not add as decoration and an easy way for a person with no freehand talent (me) to get some “art” into the woodworking.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3917 days

#14 posted 10-10-2016 08:35 PM

What a beautiful box. This is an outstanding piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View DonSol's profile


249 posts in 2292 days

#15 posted 10-10-2016 08:50 PM

A beautiful work of art with excellent craftsmanship Splinter.

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

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