Birdseye Maple And Walnut Box - 2018 Spring Box Swap

  • Advertise with us
Project by Timmy2Hands posted 05-05-2018 07:05 PM 1930 views 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my entry for the 2018 Spring Box Swap where members who signed up would build a box and exchange it with some other participant who’s name was drawn at random.

This box is made with 1/2” Walnut sides, a veneered quilted Birdseye Maple lid insert, and African Padauk corner posts. It also has a padded suede leather interior. The hinges are from Horton Brasses.

6 1/2” wide, 4 3/8” deep, and 3 3/16” tall.

The projects did not have to be built with hand tools only, that’s just how I choose to work.
If you would like to see a more in depth step by step tutorial on making a box with just hand tools check out my Raised Panel Box - Hand Tool Only Build in the Guild section over on

Like most of my projects this one started out as 3D model in SketchUp.

Here is a link to the model if you want it.

I gathered the material I would need.

The veneered Birdseye panels were test pieces I had done for another project and were the driving force for the size of this box. The Padauk is a cut-off from that other project as well.

I don’t have a saw bench, so I use the overhand ripping technique from Christopher Schwarz to cut out the pieces of Walnut that I need.

The Walnut started out as a 5/4 board and I used my frame saw to re-saw it to get two 1/2” boards and enough material to make two boxes at the same time, one to send off and one to keep for myself. I also cut out the strips needed for the frame of the lid.

Everything was then planed to size and the edges were squared.

Next step is to get out my Record #050 small plow plane.

I cut the 1/4” grooves for the plywood bottom of the box and the 5/16” grooves for the lid panel.

Once the grooves were cut I could saw the pieces to their final lengths and clean them up at the shooting board to make sure they are all the same size so that the box will glue-up square.

I marked all of the pieces for their reference face and edges and also put marks to keep them in the correct orientation and to distinguish each of the two boxes.

Next step is to cut the curves in each of the box sides.

I used a cardboard template to make sure they are all consistent and then I cut them out; first with a coping saw, then a spoke shave, and finally I used a 3/4” dowel and sand paper to refine the curved edge.

Now I can cut the miters for the lid frame parts.

First I use a combo square and marking knife to mark the 45 degree angel and carry it all the way around the part.

Then I clamp the piece down and saw close to the line.

I then attach a speed square to the fence of my shooting board with a clamp and clean up the miter right to the line.

I move on the shooting the long miters on the side panels by attaching my “donkey’s ear” to the fence of the shooting board. It holds the panel at 45 degrees to the sole of the plane and I can work my way right down to the corner.

When cutting this much end grain be sure to have a really sharp blade. You should be getting nice solid end grain shavings, not dust. Re-sharpen often.

With the long miters cut, I cut the plywood bottom to fit and glued up the body of the box.

While the glue was drying I moved on to fitting the lid panel.

I want the panel to sit flush with the frame pieces. It took some very careful measurments and a lot more time than I expected. I had to go back and forth quite a few times to get the panel and the miters to line up perfectly.

Once I was happy with the fit I glued up the lid.

Because I used plywood there is no danger of wood movement so the frame pieces are glued directly to the lid panel and the miters do not need to be reinforced.

Now that the glue has dried I move on to shaping the front of the lid, the curve here gives a place for your fingers to lift the lid and also mimic the curves around the bottom of the box.

This is also the time to cut the mortices for the hinges. We will be adding the corner posts next and they will interfere with holding the box in the vice while flushing up the lid to the box

Here is a link to my technique for adding hinge mortices to a box. Just skip over the part where I cut the lid off the box.

I cut and planed the Padauk to a 3/4” x 3/4” square strip and the cut a 1/2” x 1/2” rebate so I ended up with an “L” shaped piece.

I cut off pieces to fit on the corners of the box.

I then used a block plane to cut a taper on the narrow edges.

I turned the piece in the vice to cut a taper on the wide edge too.

The corner posts are applied and the glue is allowed to dry.

These post will also act to reinforce the mitered corners of the box.

Now is a good time to finish sand the box for finishing.

I start with 150 grit and move up to 220 and then 320. I’m very careful to sand each species with it’s own paper. the Walnut can contaminate the Maple, and the Padauk will turn everything it touches orange.

The finish will be Watco Danish Oil in natural. I flood the surface every 20 minutes for one hour and then wipe off the excess and let it dry for a couple of days.

While the finish is drying I move on to the padded suede liner.

Here is a link to how I make and apply the suede leather liner.

Because I’m lining this box I did not bother to apply finish to the inside of the box.

After the finish has fully cured I apply a good quality furniture wax.

This product is called Alfie Shine. It’s a resin enriched hard wax polish.

It smells and feels so much nicer than the Johnson’s paste wax I used to use.

All done and ready to ship off to it’s new home with LJ – Ianthetinker.

Thanks for following along.

I hope you found it as enjoyable as I did making it.

If you have any questions or comments just leave them below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

15 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


3730 posts in 3118 days

#1 posted 05-05-2018 07:28 PM

Tim – Gorgeous box. You hand tool guys make some great stuff, and without all of the power tools. I’m always impressed by how precise hand tool guys can be with nothing but arm power. The birdseye maple is a great contrast with the walnut and padauk.

I know what you mean about padauk turning things orange. The first time I used it I thought it had been dyed.

I’ll have to check out the Alfie-shine. Looks like it might be good on the table saw cast iron too.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View duckmilk's profile


4178 posts in 2095 days

#2 posted 05-05-2018 07:57 PM

That is a great box, and WOW, what a write-up! Nice work Tim.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Boxguy's profile


2876 posts in 3038 days

#3 posted 05-05-2018 08:33 PM

Tim, nice work. I like the choice of woods…great contrasts. the arched bottom boards, tapered legs, bow front lid, and careful joinery make this a beauty. It is difficult to work out the top geometry with legs on a box, but I may have made the lid a bit wider to fit over the leg tops. The hinges look great and the finish is superb. This is a hand-made gem.

I like the write-up you did on this project. It helps me appreciate the work you have put into this box. Nice photos and a fine job of writing in this posting. Thanks for taking the extra time to do that and for adding the links and additional pictures. I especially like the photo of all the hand cut pieces laid out neatly on the bench ready for assembly. There is something very Old World about that shot.

Interesting that you and I work in such contrasting manners. I draw my plans by hand and work with machines. You draw your plans with machines and work by hand. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3803 days

#4 posted 05-05-2018 08:43 PM

Very Nice & Well Done Tim!

Regards: Rick (Ontario,Canada)

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View MrLaughingbrook's profile


214 posts in 2737 days

#5 posted 05-05-2018 09:11 PM

Fantastic. Thanks for the great write up. I’m 90% machines but looking forward to more hand tool skill building and will save your post as reference.

I also like the Horton Brass. I’ve not used my purchase yet, but have two pair in inventory and they look and feel to be the best value for my money on brass hinges.


-- MrLaughingbrook

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7544 posts in 1483 days

#6 posted 05-05-2018 09:24 PM

wow Tim an excellent job on this box…you hand tool guys really amaze me … glad you had joined in this swap …. thanks for your hard work … GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View hairy's profile


3070 posts in 4302 days

#7 posted 05-05-2018 11:00 PM

Very nice!!

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5373 posts in 1352 days

#8 posted 05-05-2018 11:16 PM

Nice box and wonderful write-up, Tim! Thanks for the ideas of things I can add to my repertoire.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Kelster58's profile


759 posts in 1310 days

#9 posted 05-05-2018 11:49 PM

Tim, you did a great job on this box. Your craftsmanship is amazing.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View poospleasures's profile


857 posts in 3254 days

#10 posted 05-05-2018 11:52 PM

Another great box and a great tutorial. Makes me respect you hand tool guys some more. I do not know if I will ever give up my noisy machines but I do respect your ability s and the wonderful work you do. I guess I,m just jealous. Thanks for the very informative post.i

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View jeffswildwood's profile


4449 posts in 2747 days

#11 posted 05-06-2018 12:48 AM

Absolutely amazing Tim! I love seeing hand made work.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Timmy2Hands's profile


200 posts in 1735 days

#12 posted 05-06-2018 01:43 AM

I thank you all very much for the kind words.
The respect is mutual.

It’s nice to be part of such a great group of people.

-- Tim McCoy - @Timmy2Hands on Instagram

View mel52's profile


1443 posts in 1035 days

#13 posted 05-06-2018 03:35 AM

Great looking. Excellent job.

-- MEL, Kansas

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3637 days

#14 posted 05-06-2018 11:56 AM

This is a beautiful box and so nicely done.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View IantheTinker's profile


285 posts in 897 days

#15 posted 05-11-2018 09:38 PM

Thank you for this beautiful box, Tim. I will look to it as something to measure my own boxes by!


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics