Reclaimed keepsake box.

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Project by ToddJB posted 03-19-2019 09:56 PM 1136 views 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a maddening project, but man, worth it.

My pastor of the last 11 years retired. I owe this man so much. I wanted to do something for him that served as a reminder of the work he’s done in so many people’s lives. So we had folks, from literally all over the world that he has impacted, write letters of how he had played a role in their life. We used the box as a vessel to deliver the letters.

It’s one thing to make something like this out of fresh stock, but I’m a glutton for nostalgia, symbolism, and punishment. So I thought it would be great to make the box out of wood that came out of our church. We had a large renovation project about 7 years ago which required us to remove quite a few large wooden panels and trim pieces. Later, a custodian got sick of moving these panels about and did away with many – this is all that was left and some random trim pieces that I found.


Lots of paint stripper, nail pulling, scraping and planning.

But in the end, I had some pretty great figured Mahogany.

So here are some build shots.

By far the two biggest challenges of this build were getting so many different shades of previously stained wood to color match. My Transfast color mixing skills were stretched. I learned quite a bit here.

The other was using all original profiles. Trying to come up with a cohesive looking box with a limited supply of materials that were not designed to go together was a big design hurdle. There are 5 different profiles of trim on this box: here is a cutaway example of what the lid was.

Okay. Done. Every time I do a project like this I swear it’s my last…. until I do another.
Thanks for looking!

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

19 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5202 posts in 1322 days

#1 posted 03-19-2019 10:16 PM

It’s a miracle! ;-) Seriously good work piecing everything together into a coherent whole. It’s a great looking box!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View 489tad's profile


3814 posts in 3751 days

#2 posted 03-19-2019 11:23 PM

Todd you poured everything into that box. A testiment of the respect you have for your pastor. Very well done.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View ralbuck's profile


6526 posts in 3006 days

#3 posted 03-20-2019 12:22 AM


Great wood rescue also! That is just a bonus on such a beautiful piece of work though.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 2752 days

#4 posted 03-20-2019 12:47 AM

Nice puzzle work, Todd. That mahogany looks beautiful.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View CL810's profile


4026 posts in 3728 days

#5 posted 03-20-2019 01:26 AM

Wow Todd – beautiful box! I’m sure it meant a lot to your minister.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View WoodSpanker's profile


560 posts in 4132 days

#6 posted 03-20-2019 01:38 AM

The symbolism is what takes this from a great project, into a truly remarkable one. Well done, well thought out, and I’m certain, well received.

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

View ToddJB's profile


8656 posts in 2870 days

#7 posted 03-20-2019 02:38 AM

Thanks guys! Appreciate it.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View therealSteveN's profile


5598 posts in 1314 days

#8 posted 03-20-2019 07:29 AM

Not sure who to respect more? Your Preacher for so motivating you, or you who has gone far to show a Man your thanks for what he has done.

Either way I’d like to shake both of your hands. Seem to be my kind of people.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HokieKen's profile


13632 posts in 1878 days

#9 posted 03-20-2019 11:44 AM

Excellent work brother. I know this was a hair-puller but in the end, you pulled it together in high style. A gorgeous box for an awesome purpose. Congrats to both of ya!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View doubleG469's profile


930 posts in 1184 days

#10 posted 03-20-2019 12:08 PM

Excellent job and at a perfect time, my daughter has just asked me to build her a jewelry box and this serves as inspiration.

-- I refuse to edit the photo orientation for this website any longer. It’s an issue they should address and correct. Gary, Texas

View PhillipRCW's profile


517 posts in 2004 days

#11 posted 03-20-2019 12:58 PM

That is so awesome man. I love projects like this.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9523 posts in 3068 days

#12 posted 03-20-2019 01:34 PM

A very nice way to honor your pastor. I’m sure he was blown away buy the effort and words of appreciation.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View ToddJB's profile


8656 posts in 2870 days

#13 posted 03-20-2019 02:18 PM

Thanks guys – yes, it was received well.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View jeffswildwood's profile


4429 posts in 2717 days

#14 posted 03-20-2019 04:02 PM

The work you did on this is off the charts. But you nailed it. Beautiful job on a worth while project!

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

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4074 days

#15 posted 03-20-2019 06:47 PM

Beautiful result. You. got lucky with those mahogany panels. A very nice parting gift that is sure to be handed down.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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