"It's About Time"

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Project by Ethan Sincox posted 12-28-2006 07:12 PM 3473 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was my entry for Woodcraft Magazine’s, “Think Small, Win Big” clock contest from March of 2006. It also happens to be the engagement ring box I made for my wife. I’d gone the safe route and included her when picking out her engagement ring. I knew she had very specific tastes when it came to jewelry, so I wanted to make sure she ended up with a wedding band and engagement ring she would want to wear forever.

Since I couldn’t surprise her with the ring, I decided to surprise her with the presentation of the ring. When I showed her my “clock” to get her final review before I sent the entry in to Woodcraft, it took her a minute to realize the clock opened. Once she got it opened, it took her another 15 seconds to realize the ring inside was her ring, and exactly what that meant. But I think she was pleased with both the box and the way I proposed.

As far as proposing goes, I wanted to make sure I didn’t come up with any excuses to not give it to her, so the night before I gave it to her, I woodburned the title of the piece, “It’s About Time”, and the date into the bottom of the box, pretty much insuring I gave it to her the next morning.

As far as the contest goes, I did make it as a Top 20 Finalist, but did not otherwise place. The box was photographed and included in the June 06 issue of Woodcraft Magazine.

I am absolutely my own worst critic, but the one thing I most enjoyed about the contest was to get a copy of all of the judges’ comments along with my returned entry. I like receiving proper feedback on my works, as it is a great way to learn and improve on my up-coming projects.

The box is Honduran Mahogany. It opens on simple barrel hinges and uses rare earth magnets for a closure method. I made the insert using foam and suede cloth.

Things I would change:
- I’m not a big fan of how orange the box looks. I did this box before I got into fuming; the next ring box I make with Mahogany will be fumed, as I prefer the nuttier color resulting from ammonia fuming. Anything I do now with white oak or mahogany usually gets fumed.
- The scribe lines were evidence of time running out. My original plan was to inlay a very thin line of binding along the edges; I came to a point where I could start doing that, but if I messed it up I might not have time to remake the box from scratch. So the scribe lines remained. One technique I want to start working on this next year is that type of inlay work, so that is something else I’ll incorporate into future boxes.

Stylistically, it is a fairly simple box. The novelty comes from it being a clock and an engagement ring box at the same time. I understand this, and I’m ok with it. I prefer Arts and Crafts, Eastlake, and Mission styles of furniture. I like simple foods and an uncluttered house. So naturally, my works tend to be simple and uncluttered in appearance. I’m generally more concerned with execution, technique, and wood selection. Are my joints tight? Did I sand properly and enough? Is the finish adequate for the intended use? Does the piece function as designed? Does the fabric compliment the wood selection?

My wife keeps her ring box on her desk at work so she can be reminded of that day whenever she checks to see what time it is.

(Incidently, the band in the picture was the jeweler’s first attempt at making a wedding band to go with the ring. It was whole heartedly rejected. Fortunately, Dana found a band she liked at an antique store. It was a thin band with small roses relief carved into it, and it looks great with the filigreed antique engagement ring.)

-- Ethan,

9 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5382 days

#1 posted 12-28-2006 08:05 PM

A beautiful piece, & I also like the color.
I think the way it converts to an easel is neat.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5394 days

#2 posted 12-28-2006 09:25 PM

It’s a winner in more ways than one. I take it that she said, “Yes!” and you placed in a very tough competition. I like how the wood grain shows with the orange tint. I’m not sure if it would have been so visible with a nuttier tint, but as they say…beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5320 days

#3 posted 12-28-2006 10:49 PM

Stunning ! And since you said “Wife” I take it she liked the clock?

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 5257 days

#4 posted 12-28-2006 11:24 PM

Well… she’d already picked out the ring. I suppose I shouldn’t have assumed she would say yes. As it turns out, she did. We’d dated for three years at that point, so the wedding was planned pretty quickly. I asked her on March 31st of this year and our wedding was on October 14th – just 6 1/2 months.

-- Ethan,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5260 days

#5 posted 12-29-2006 12:31 AM

Well, Ethan, this is much better than those endless engagements that are just really an excuse for “I don’t really want to get married – so let’s not set a date – ever.”

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

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5260 days

#6 posted 12-29-2006 12:32 AM

Sorry, I love the box and the originality it represents.

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

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5410 days

#7 posted 02-02-2007 01:32 AM

Great box. I like the color too. I think it’s a terriffic piece and a great keepsake. Moreso than the typical clamshell box.

My wife’s engagement ring wasn’t unexpected either, (though she didn’t go shopping for it, or know that I was for that matter), but I managed to make the proposal a surprise. It “burned a hole in my pocket” as well.

Pretty brave of you to get a wedding planned and all set in 6 1/2 mos. We took a 1 1/4 years, but pretty much had everything decided and set in the first couple weeks. So the only thing the year gave us was time to “hurry up and wait”... Oh yeah, and save enough money to pay for it!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 5257 days

#8 posted 02-02-2007 06:00 AM

I stopped by Dana’s work the other day (the day after my eye surgery) and got to see the box again. It’s hard to believe what 9 months of exposure to air does to a piece of mahogany! It is much darker already and that orange tone is pretty much gone. Of course, if I’d made it within the last month or two, I would have fumed it and darkened it right off the bat.

Dana’s end-of-year bonus was key to paying off the entire wedding by the day of the wedding. I love the fact that our two incomes allows us to do things like pay for our wedding without having to take out a loan and buy the new dining room table and chairs which are being delivered on Saturday!

I’m trying to like it while I can… we’re thinking about adding a third member to the family about a year or two down the road. After that, I know where most of that money will go…

-- Ethan,

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4771 days

#9 posted 07-12-2008 07:32 PM

Hello , this just came around in the roll the dice area and I am so happy that it did : ) The color really caught my eye first and then getting to see all of the simply delicate details made my day ! It really shows off the wood itself by not being overcomplicated .I enjoy making small clocks out of highly figured woods as well : ) Congratulations on your wedding and have you taken any pix now that the clock has darkened ? Maybe a before and after post would be nice >>>>have a great day

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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