Memory Box

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Project by bfd posted 07-10-2010 12:14 AM 2489 views 8 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this small, simple memory box for a very special person in my life, someone I have yet to meet. My wife and I are adopting from South Korea and I built this box as a gift for our son’s foster mom who has been taking care of our little boy for the last 13+ months. We will be traveling to S. Korea very soon to pick up our son and meet his foster mom. It is custom to give the foster mom a gift when you meet and is typically something small from where you live. My wife and I thought about several options. I mean what do you give someone that has been caring for your child? Everything we thought of seemed so insignificant compared to what she has been doing for us and our child. I decided to build her a memory box. I call it a memory box because we will present it to her with pictures of us ( just a few) and our son (a lot) in hopes that she will continue to remember the incredible gift she has given us.

The box is made out of one piece of solid Macassar Ebony that I resawed on my bandsaw down to ½” thickness. I had been holding on to this piece of ebony for a number of years waiting for the perfect project. The bottom is a piece of ¼” Baltic ply with flat cut maple veneer while the top is the same ply but with some Maple burl veneer. The inside is finished with red felt for an unexpected punch of color. The box is unadorned so that the beauty of the wood takes center stage. The corners are mitered and I built the box gluing up the entire box at once then cut away the top. The hardest part of this project was the finishing. I tried using my standard finish schedule which consists of tung oil, wiping poly and wax. Well the first attempt failed when, after the first coat of poly I notice a huge scratch on one side. I sanded the entire thing back down to take out the scratch and attempted this time to use BLO and wiping poly. That turned out tacky. The BLO went on great but the wiping poly didn’t want to cure. Third time is a charm right …wrong. This time I tried something different. I tried to build up several coats of thinned shellac and again didn’t care for the results so I started over again for a fourth time. This time I went back to the original Tung Oil which was fine then I waited a week and decided to go strait to wax skipping the poly and that worked!

Species: Macassar Ebony & Maple Burl
Finish: Tung Oil and Wax finish
Dimensions: 5 ¾”d x 11 ¾”w x 3 ¾”h

11 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 07-10-2010 12:24 AM

Very nice and thoughtful project. I know foster mom will cherish it and the memories it contains. Congratulations…That is a long way to go to adopt a child. My wife and I adopted a foster child many years ago but we got him locally.

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 4033 days

#2 posted 07-10-2010 12:28 AM

Small and simple….................. but ever so ELEGANT !
The red felt is a very nice surprise and goes perfectly with the box and the purpose.

Just beautiful Brian, and for such a wonderful event in your life. Congratulations to both you and your wife.
Make sure you post some pics of your brand new son when you return from S. Korea…... He’s going to be a jr. LJ, right !!!!!

When you glued up this box, what kind of glue did you use for the miters? I am doing one now with Cocabolo and Ebony and am concerned about the right glue…............ tks, Gene

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View newTim's profile


615 posts in 4143 days

#3 posted 07-10-2010 12:41 AM

kam-sa-ham-ni-da… tae-dan-hi kam-sa-ham-ni-da.

-- tim hill

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4343 days

#4 posted 07-10-2010 12:42 AM

Thanks Greg and Gene.

Gene, nothing special on the glue just tbII. I have never worked with cocabolo but I know rosewoods are oily and some people have had issues with it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4755 days

#5 posted 07-10-2010 01:45 AM

Great box, great story. Best wishes for your growing family.

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

View freidasdad's profile


144 posts in 3524 days

#6 posted 07-10-2010 01:45 AM

That is a beautiful box, and a very special gift.

majeagle1—-wipe the wood with acetone right before gluing—-that will get rid of the surface oils that would interfere with the glue bonding—-

-- My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am---author unknown

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 4033 days

#7 posted 07-10-2010 02:09 AM

Freidasdad – tks for the tip…............... I’ll try it !

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 4270 days

#8 posted 07-10-2010 04:59 PM

Great box! Bet you can’t wait to get your son – it must be an exciting time for you. I’m sure your son’s foster mom will be very pleased with her memory box!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3546 days

#9 posted 07-11-2010 10:08 PM

Very nice memory box Brian, I am sure she will love it.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View a1Jim's profile


117745 posts in 4114 days

#10 posted 07-12-2010 12:26 AM

Nice work well done

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4614 days

#11 posted 07-19-2010 04:06 PM

incredible…i think this is a beautiful gift for such an important person. congratulations on the new child…good luck with everything…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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