Pen boxes a.k.a. Andy Palm boxes

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Project by Div posted 12-09-2010 10:15 PM 4035 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pen boxes a.k.a. Andy Palm boxes
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Andy calls them Palm boxes, I call them Pen boxes. They both assemble and hinge the same way. His are works of art; mine are a production item…

After his recent posting and excellent tutorial, I thought it well to post these for added inspiration. They are easy to make and there is still enough time before Christmas…

I have been making my pen boxes for some time as one of my bread and butter side lines. Every year this time, I get a fat order from a company that uses them as corporate gifts. Through the rest of the year I supply a few craft shops. They wholesale for the equivalent of one hour’s labor. That means I have to do one in less time than that. I make 10 boxes in an 8 hour day, including finishing. If I can just get myself to make better jigs, I will reduce the time! Material costs are non existent; the off cuts I use have already been paid for by other jobs.

The photo is an old one and the only one I have. I dropped my camera and it died but hopefully Santa will bring me a new one ….

I hope it can inspire some Christmas gifts, any one can use a little box….!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

16 comments so far

View Andy's profile


1723 posts in 5148 days

#1 posted 12-09-2010 10:34 PM

These are great! I love the simplicity and can see why they sell well for you.
So, a person can see that they can choose how much or how little they want to put into the details.
Its all good, just different, thats what makes each box unigue. If in doubt simple is always better in my opinion.
The main thing is enjoy yourself and dont compare yourself to others.
If you tag these palm box they will show up with mine which will be good for encouraging others, these are very nice! I am going to add the tag, pen box so yours show up if they click on that tag too.
Thanks for posting these, andy

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View YoungestSon's profile


93 posts in 4296 days

#2 posted 12-09-2010 10:36 PM

Looks good Div. Is that some Hard Pear in the box in front?

-- Don - Rochester, NY

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4096 days

#3 posted 12-09-2010 10:39 PM

Div, Those a great wee boxes.
Gives folk more ideas.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 4049 days

#4 posted 12-09-2010 11:01 PM

Div they look real good an the ideer about making something so small the cut off can be used is wery good.

Those boxes can be used for everything :)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4180 days

#5 posted 12-09-2010 11:05 PM

Andy, glad you like them although they really are at the opposite end of the scale. Which, I suppose is why I posted them, to show a basic simple version. I will tag them palm box as well, good idea. Maybe I should treat myself and make an art box too! Like your beautiful ones!

YoungestSon, how does someone in Rochester, NY know about Hard Pear? You are absolutely right, but I am totally baffled!

Alba, thanks, that is why we post, to share ideas!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View YoungestSon's profile


93 posts in 4296 days

#6 posted 12-10-2010 03:47 AM


You used Hard Pear in the tribute to Nakasima. That posting was recent enough that I haven’t had time to forget the distinctive grain of the wood.

Best regards,

-- Don - Rochester, NY

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4038 days

#7 posted 12-10-2010 04:42 AM

Nice Div, and with a good mix of art and business attitude. Gotta love it. Now when are you starting that boat?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5332 days

#8 posted 12-10-2010 04:51 AM

Great pieces Div. Each box seems to have it’s own personality. Excellent work.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4063 days

#9 posted 12-10-2010 06:33 AM

Nice practical gift Div, great colour mix as well

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View nebulous's profile


53 posts in 4368 days

#10 posted 12-10-2010 11:55 AM

Very nice. I’m working on one as well. (Still have to resaw a piece of padauk for the lid, by hand, with mediocre saws). Then I can worry about how to attach the lid.

Your boxes look like they have an added piece of wood or plywood on the bottom, for added strength? Andy’s boxes so far have end-grain joints to the sides, I think. I’m using a poplar ply bottom, so that should help the side glue-up strength.

View Schwieb's profile


1920 posts in 4701 days

#11 posted 12-10-2010 02:30 PM

Div, Thanks for the gift tip. As always this is nice work and I fully appreciate that you must consider the practical aspects of time investment to make them profitable. I’ve always noticed that it is often the set-up and preparation time that takes as much time as actually making the item. Doing it in practical batches helps mitigate that time investment. Sorry to hear about the camera. I have the same problem and I lost my personal computer too. Hope Santa will be good to me too.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4574 days

#12 posted 12-10-2010 08:20 PM

Great little boxes Div and a nice little sideline business too. I haven’t given much thought to small boxes, but I do make my boxes relatively small. There is always room for a small box. Big boxes can be impressive, but it isn’t always easy to find a place put them. I’ve often wondered what women do with those humongous jewelry boxes their husbands make for them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4180 days

#13 posted 12-10-2010 08:46 PM

Youngestson, you are very observant and good memory, I am impressed!
Shipwright, thanks. I will get to another boat again, still tired from the previous one! :^)
Chip, thanks for your words.
Peteg, yes they are practical little boxes.
Nebulous, good luck with yours. Refer to Andy’s “Palm box tutorial” for construction info.
Schwieb, hey Ken! Yes, if I spend too much time on them they become too expensive and won’t sell :^) Hope Santa brings you a nice camera!
Stefang, small boxes are fun and they need little material. These are long enough to fit pens and pencils in them.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View mafe's profile


13333 posts in 4329 days

#14 posted 12-10-2010 11:56 PM

Hi div.
Nice little boxes, and a wonderful way to use the off cuts.
I especially like the dark one. This red wood, I get amazed each time I see it, it sure is fantastic what nature can do.
Yes sorry about the camera acident, hope you have been a good boy so santa will treat you nice, but I feel sure you have.
I think I have to make these little boxes a go soon, perhaps a christmas gift, or just for me.
Had a little workshop time today, it was nice after a two weeks out the country.
Hope life treats you well my brother,
December thoughts from my heart,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4180 days

#15 posted 12-12-2010 09:48 PM

Hey Mads, yes that Purpleheart is amazing. You still have time before Christmas, so make a box! They are easy and fun.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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