Flower Marquetry Jewelry Boxes

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Project by mauibob posted 11-06-2019 03:07 PM 2222 views 3 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s getting time for those Christmas presents to be knocked out! Here are a set of marquetry jewelry boxes all made with the stack method, scroll saw and a wad of blue painter’s tape.

For this project, I cut out a set of three copies, each with 154 pieces. The veneer slices were first covered (one side only) with “hole-less” gum tape (Veneer Systems, Lee Valley), burnished into the veneers with a small brass brush (Harbor Freight). This prevents the small veneer pieces from breaking when cut. Remember to use one piece of veneer for each and every color and background, multiplied by the number of copies to be made (in this case 3). Also, use a sacrificial piece for both top and bottom of the stack. The stack is securely taped together at the sides—pin nails could also be used. The stack is topped with the design to be cut out (see 3rd photo), a small hole drilled into the design to start the process, and the pieces cut out. To keep everything straight, as most of the pieces in this project look the same, I used a set of four 40-compartment ice cube trays.

Once all the pieces, including backgrounds, are cut out, I placed blue painter’s tape face up on a mat, secured the backgrounds in place on the tape, and proceeded to fill in the pieces—all 154 of them—for each copy. The results are shown in Figure 5. Note that you are looking at the GLUE side of the project, as the other side has the gum tape adhered. At this point, the surfaces are covered in blue tape, the designs flipped, the backing blue tape removed (be careful!) and the surface recovered in gum tape to hold all the pieces together, reflipped to remove the blue tape and then glued to the desired substrate—in this case, MDF. Don’t forget to use a counterbalancing piece of veneer on the opposite side of the substrate! if not, the design will warp over time.

The final designs were augmented with strips of burl walnut (Figure 6) before the final glue up.

The finished jewelry boxes used a beautiful piece of highly quilted “chocolate” maple that my wife had bought me for Christmas a few years ago. Since the piece is so very quilted (both marquetry and box itself), it was a bit difficult to photograph to show the extreme chatoyance.

Boxes were finished with 8 coats of genuine tung oil (first coats diluted with mineral spirits), followed by an application of Renaissance Wax.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

26 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8780 posts in 4128 days

#1 posted 11-06-2019 03:12 PM

Very nice Bob. Your boxes are always well made and beautifully decorated.

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

View pottz's profile


22245 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 11-06-2019 03:16 PM

those boxes are just stunning id never have the patience or eye sight to do something like are a true artist.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View PaulDoug's profile


2659 posts in 3034 days

#3 posted 11-06-2019 03:46 PM

Struggling to find the words, beautiful, gorgeous, pretty, awestruck…..

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View MrWolfe's profile (online now)


1680 posts in 1454 days

#4 posted 11-06-2019 03:57 PM

Fantastic boxes Bob!!!
Beautiful and masterful work. The results are gorgeous.
Thanks for sharing your process in your post. Very informative.
Adding to my favorites.
Thanks for sharing.

View recycle1943's profile


6167 posts in 2953 days

#5 posted 11-06-2019 04:08 PM

Just HOW BEAUTIFUL are these boxes ? rhetorical of course

someone is going to be extremely pleased this Christmas

-- 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 wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2872 posts in 878 days

#6 posted 11-06-2019 04:16 PM

Awestruck covers it for me. Patience is indeed a virtue.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View therealSteveN's profile


9380 posts in 1905 days

#7 posted 11-06-2019 06:49 PM

Amazing boxes. All of those pieces falling into perfect harmony, great job.

Yes the patience part is oft overlooked in woodworking, this requires miles of it. A 3 P’s kind of job, Planning, Patience, and Precision.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Peteybadboy's profile


4320 posts in 3280 days

#8 posted 11-06-2019 09:30 PM

Very Impressive. That is an amazing process. Thanks for sharing

-- Petey

View jeffswildwood's profile


4985 posts in 3308 days

#9 posted 11-06-2019 09:32 PM

Pure artistry. Just wonderful boxes. From the wood to the tops, just awesome.

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

View tinnman65's profile


1426 posts in 4745 days

#10 posted 11-06-2019 09:46 PM

Very beautiful work, I love that quilted maple!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View ShopCat's profile


121 posts in 4910 days

#11 posted 11-06-2019 10:33 PM

Nicely done. Really appreciate the description. Like the simplicity.

I’m not much good at Marquetry, and have never done stack, but I understand everything up until Renaissance wax. I have some, tried it, haven’t been sure it is worth the extra price when used on wood. Why did you go with it?

-- ShopCat

View mauibob's profile


257 posts in 4398 days

#12 posted 11-07-2019 12:08 AM

Thanks everyone for the nice comments. I hope that my description of the construction process was helpful.

ShopCat—I’ve used Renaissance Wax for several years now on all my jewelry boxes. Its microcrystalline structure remains non-acidic over time (unlike other waxes using beeswax or carnauba). In addition, it has a nearly unlimited shelf life. But the main reason that I use it is that it provides a nice protective coating which is very resistant to fingerprints and which yields a beautiful sheen when fully buffed out. It really makes the marquetry sparkle.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View rustynails's profile


958 posts in 3859 days

#13 posted 11-07-2019 12:45 AM

Bob nice work on the box’s they look beautifully. Keep them coming …

View Dreggy's profile


98 posts in 2935 days

#14 posted 11-07-2019 01:56 AM

Those are beautiful, excellent craftsmanship!

-- No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you're still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3666 posts in 5043 days

#15 posted 11-07-2019 02:37 AM

Dearest Uncle Bob,

Just what does it take to get on your Christmas list? Wow! Those are gorgeous! The quilted maple and walnut burl are out of this world! It really takes your boxes to the top!


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

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