Firewood practice pencil box

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Project by Ryan Sandler posted 12-16-2018 02:12 AM 1276 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After a run of cold days, the Saturday before Thanksgiving we had a random day of warm weather and I knocked out the frame and bottom of this box in a couple hours, starting with a couple of squarish sticks of red oak from my firewood pile. Goal was to practice cutting dovetails, and I played around with a couple other skills along the way. My dovetail skills are still pretty rough, but this was halfway decent and came together quickly.

Made the lid after getting back from visiting family for Thanksgiving, and played around with a semblance of double-bevel marquetry (or is that single bevel since I’ve just got one piece?). My original concept for the inlay piece was to make it bear shaped, since I’d decided to give it to my bear-loving younger daughter. But my attempt to cut a bear shape on the bandsaw failed miserably. I ended up making the inlay bigger (so I could cut out the lumpy first hole), and rounder (so I had some hope of success). Ended up tracing a bear from a bit of clipart I found online and carving it with a V-gouge.

There’s a pair of neodymium magnets for a catch, but they aren’t really strong enough; I may have to add a metal clasp at some point.

As noted, the box and lid are mostly red oak from my firewood pile, resawn so as to be more-or-less quartersawn. The inlay piece is from a cherry offcut from another project. The tiny accents at the bottom, needed because I wasn’t paying attention when rabbeting for the bottom, are walnut from a piece that was originally firewood. Finished with Danish oil and several coats of lacquer.

5 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


2898 posts in 3431 days

#1 posted 12-16-2018 05:45 AM

Ryan, nice job. I like the rounded inset top lift. The carved bear is a nice touch. I am sure your daughter will long remember and use this gift. I should think it will be re-purposed throughout her childhood.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ivan's profile


16904 posts in 4031 days

#2 posted 12-16-2018 08:00 AM

Nice box…I like that bear.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View recycle1943's profile


5622 posts in 2785 days

#3 posted 12-16-2018 02:13 PM

looks like your dovetails were a success and I really like the inset round lid lift. ( gonna hafta try that )

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Rwolinski's profile


171 posts in 1489 days

#4 posted 12-17-2018 11:16 PM

I like this project. Really like the lid handle

-- What I make is for others....How I make it is for me.

View UdyRegan's profile


22 posts in 2502 days

#5 posted 12-28-2018 04:45 AM

That is the cutest little design on the round circle lip! If you think you could figure out a way to get a whole bunch of different designs on the box, or make it interchangeable somehow, I think you would have a really great idea going for you there and plenty of people who would be keen to purchase the boxes you’re making!

-- Udy Reagan, director at

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