Walnut Veneer Curved Box

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Project by RogerBean posted 09-18-2010 04:09 AM 6226 views 31 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been a while since I posted my last project, but this walnut burl veneered box is my most elaborate so far. It turned out to be a fair challenge and took a while. (As in, open a Samuel Adams and think “well now, how am I going to do that?”)

The edging is boxwood, highlighted with a simple black-black/white/black line all around. The lid is a four-way book-match, and the sides are two-piece bookmatch, all taken from four consecutive sheets so that the front/back, and the two sides are identical. There are forty individual pieces of veneer.

The box is 11” L x 6 1/4” W x 5 1/4” H. I like to use side-rail quadrant hinges ( , and inlayed a small white/black/white line along the lip of the lid and base to accent the inner edge. The edge veneer (between lid and base) is bookmatched to tie in with the faces. The 2 1/2” brass bail handles are from

The full mortise lock was chosen because it had the most attractive key of any I have found. Most of the available locks have ugly keys. I used a small brass lock escutcheon (and locks, both from rather than my usual pearl inlay to leave the burl front unobstructed. There are no inlays in the lid for the same reason; looking for overall balance in proportions and decoration. I really like inlays but it’s easy to go too far and let things get too busy. This box seemed to want to stop here.

The interior is lined with black-green velvet. I sometimes veneer the interior with figured wood but I almost always line the base because I personally like the “finished” and softer feel of the suede or velvet. There are three individual trays of cocobolo with brass pins, also lined with green velvet.

I believe this particular shape was pioneered by Andrew Crawford ( ), and the graceful curves add a sophistication to the profile. However, the curves do offer some challenges, particularly with the three-way miters on the edging. There are not many 45 degree cuts, which makes fitting them tedious. The finish is French polish with super-blond shellac. ...and a bit of elbow grease.

By the way, I’m just an amateur boxmaker. I make these things for fun and would certainly starve to death if I tried this for a living. :-)

Thanks for looking in. You can’t have too many boxes!


PS: Oh, I drank the cabernet.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

45 comments so far

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 4415 days

#1 posted 09-18-2010 04:15 AM

You guys and these boxes make me sick – with envy, that is! My eye was drawn to this right away. It’s so royal looking! Fabulous job.


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4594 days

#2 posted 09-18-2010 04:37 AM

this is a fabulous box…i really hate to call them that…its such a mundane word to me…and it no where describes the beauty of one of these…i hope i can someday do something of this caliber…your box inspires me….grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4817 days

#3 posted 09-18-2010 05:04 AM

This is a museum piece for sure or filled with many precious jewels!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 4656 days

#4 posted 09-18-2010 05:05 AM

That is an extremely beautiful “box”! I like your Sam Adams approach to box making. It seems to work well for you.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View Edward83's profile


161 posts in 4187 days

#5 posted 09-18-2010 05:08 AM

Yowzer! that is one hell of a beautiful box, I love the quadruple bookmatching on the lid, brilliant!

-- Praise God in all things, especially the bad things because they make the best learning experiences.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5509 days

#6 posted 09-18-2010 05:09 AM

Well, this just makes me want to throw my best box in the fireplace and cry. :-)

Excellent work, Roger! I’m curious as to how the curves are actually formed.

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

View Randy63's profile


252 posts in 4182 days

#7 posted 09-18-2010 05:32 AM

I’ve been axiously waiting to see the end result on this box and the result is gorgeous. I like all facets of this box, the choice and bookmatching of veneers, the high quality hinges, lock, and handles, the cocobolo trays, the keen attention to fine details, and not to overlook a superb French polishing job. My compliments on the photography as well. I particularly liked that you also included a photo of the boxes back.

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4309 days

#8 posted 09-18-2010 05:48 AM

Wow, the burl pattern is simply awesome, you did great! This is a very beautiful box!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 4152 days

#9 posted 09-18-2010 05:59 AM


I gained so much from looking at your work. For instance, I had no idea that keys could be ugly. :D

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5165 days

#10 posted 09-18-2010 06:08 AM


I know what you mean. I have sold a few things but I think I probably make about $0.50 per hour.

-- Happy woodworking!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4599 days

#11 posted 09-18-2010 06:32 AM

That is one classy looking box and it shows that you have alot of time into building it. Very nice !

View TungOilTim's profile


83 posts in 4507 days

#12 posted 09-18-2010 06:37 AM

Perfect 10

-- Tim, Plant City FL

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 5061 days

#13 posted 09-18-2010 06:37 AM

WOW, WOW, Roger that is a hum dinger of a box just beautiful. You excuted it superbly. Congratulations of a real work of art.

-- Tom D

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4475 days

#14 posted 09-18-2010 06:49 AM

Incredible box. Really makes me want to try my hand at veneering. The effort you spent on every single detail is amazing, and that curve looks like a major challenge.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 4234 days

#15 posted 09-18-2010 07:01 AM

Roger, gorgeous piece.

Looks like a really challenging journey.

Very inspiring

-- Back home. Fernando

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