Shadow Box/Display Table - Walnut, Resin, Glass

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Project by MulliganWoodworking posted 01-27-2020 05:35 PM 404 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dad LOVES collecting butterflies, and he has dozens of shadow boxes around the house to display them (I’ve made several of them for him). I wanted to make him and my mom something new and unique, to allow him to display his favorite specimens in style (and also display pictures of their grandkids, their drawings, etc).

I started with two pieces of walnut that we personally harvested and took to a local miller. One of the pieces was too twisted and warped to use as a table top, but I figured with some resin it would make a great shelf, so I started work on that. Then I used a router sled with appropriately placed stops to hollow out the 8/4 piece and routed a lip around the top. Then I used a table saw to cut off the “lid”, and got a a piece of tempered glass custom made to fit. I attached the glass with epoxy (and later had to make spot-reinforcements with super glue), and some quick work with a shark chisel made neat mortises for the hinges.

I made the frame and legs out of cherry (cherry/walnut is probably my favorite pairing for furniture). And to cap it all off, I finished it with a shop-made mixture of tung oil and beeswax hand-dipped from my dad’s “bee barn” (he’s a beekeeper). I know it won’t be the most durable of finishes, but it’s not like this table is going to see constant serious use, and I like the personal connection with both the wood and finish.

This was my first time making a “shadow box” table, my first time incorporating a glass table top, and my first time tapering the legs, and it all worked out a lot better than I was worried it might. I’m really happy with this table, and so are my parents!

-- Mackenzie Mulligan, trying to get better every day at

6 comments so far

View James Frederick's profile

James Frederick

209 posts in 4351 days

#1 posted 01-28-2020 12:17 AM

Looks great I am sure your parents must love it.

-- Change begins somewhere may as well be with me.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1439 posts in 3294 days

#2 posted 01-28-2020 02:07 AM

Cool twist on the normal shadow box. The glass adds a nice touch.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View swirt's profile


4709 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 01-28-2020 01:50 PM

This is such a cool piece, I wish there were more photos of it. Nice work trying a new twist on a live edge table.

-- Galootish log blog,

View MrWolfe's profile


674 posts in 754 days

#4 posted 01-28-2020 05:21 PM


View Ivan's profile


15589 posts in 3498 days

#5 posted 01-28-2020 05:49 PM

So lovely idea!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View BurlyBob's profile


7038 posts in 2896 days

#6 posted 01-29-2020 12:56 AM

What a great idea and a fantastic presentation.

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