Mahogany Box

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Project by james3one posted 10-15-2016 11:25 AM 1281 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Small solid mahogany box. The construction was simple. I had a left over piece of 4/4 mahogany that I used to repair an old chair. I resawed it into three pieces. I used the outer pieces for the sides, top and bottom and the inner for the mouldings. Cut the sides to size then mitered them on the shooting board. Used hide glue and secured the corners with packing tape. The key slots were cut by hand and keys made from solid beech. Slightly lighter than the mahogany it was a nice subtle contrast. Used my cutting gauge to layout the mouldings then ripped that board into four pieces. I filed a round in one of my card scrapers to shape the top mouldings.

Finish was bit more complex. I used tried and true Danish oil and applied it with 220 wet/dry sandpaper. That helped fill the grain and even out the surface. After that cured I used a simple french polish, adding multiple layers, til I had the depth that I was looking for. Gave that a day to fully cure then sanded the entire box with a 400 grit wet sand using water to reduce the shine. finally a couple coats of dark paste wax and a nice buff. Picked out a nice bit of green felt to line the bottom with, just the right color. Found out later that it’s Kelly Green.

The most challenging part was the size 5” x 6” x 3-1/2”, roughly. All hand tool work. The smaller dimensions meant much more attention to detail. Made use of my smallest chisels and tools. That miniature shoulder plane from Veritas was helpful in a number of areas. I have one of their 1/4” detail planes but kept going back to that little shoulder plane.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

4 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27265 posts in 4447 days

#1 posted 10-15-2016 10:45 PM

Sweet box!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3609 days

#2 posted 10-16-2016 05:50 AM

James, I admire your committment to hand tools. It would be difficult to do the corner slots with the accuracy you have shown. This box has an especially nice finish. Great work.

-- Big Al in IN

View AJ1104's profile


1457 posts in 3001 days

#3 posted 10-16-2016 11:39 AM

Your box has a beautiful finish. I am also amazed you cut those slots by hand. Great job!

-- AJ

View james3one's profile


59 posts in 4114 days

#4 posted 10-16-2016 03:21 PM

The slots/keys aren’t perfect but they are solid. Don’t use a table saw and i’m not going to use the router table so hand cut is what’s left. I’ve seen them cut to the width of a heavy saw kerf, like a large rip saw, but those come out too thin for me. I just think keys need to have a little substance. Next version is to try dovetail keys. Will need to make a few jigs for that. I appreciate the comments.

-- James, Tulsa OK,

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