Hexagonal Plywood Box

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Project by MrWolfe posted 08-09-2020 09:30 PM 912 views 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Box number 30 in my recent box series. This is number 13 in my Adventures into Shape.

This box is an experiment built solely from plywood that I began in late June but set aside while making some commissioned pieces. Some of it was very successful and parts of it were a learning process. It is hexagonal, rather started as such but I put very narrow staves into it between the panels so it really has 12 sides. It has dowels that secure each stave to the top and bottom rims. I wanted to use the layers in the laminations of the plywood to emphasize the carved surface of the panels.

I used machines to mill the wood and to cut the angles and dimensions and used chisels and gouges to carve the basic form of the legs and finial along with hand saws, rasps and angle grinder with a 60 grit flap wheel for the body. There was a lot of hand sanding on this piece.

I wasn’t entirely sure about some features on this box but there was a lot of experimentation in techniques for me. The biggest positive surprise for me was the last minute jewelry tray. It is made from plywood glued up edge to edge and I’m very happy with the results.

The lid was another positive surprise that came from experimentation for this piece.

The jewelry box has one tray that rests on posts that create a lower space. The interior of the box and tray are felt lined and the tray is also pinned with dowels to re-enforce the miters.

Dimensions are as follows…
Outside dimensions of the “Hexagonal Box” are 11” at the widest, 6” deep and 15 ” tall.
The jewelry tray is around 2 1/2” deep.

I rounded the dowel inclusions I’ve used in the past and have them protruding about 3/8th’s of an inch as a feature on the compound curved part of the panels.

There is a compartment at the bottom of the box. It has a twist cap that fit into the large diameter holes and there are also magnets to assist with aligning them in the locked position.

Finish is an oil based ebony stain and a wipe on mixture of oil based poly and mineral spirits. The tray took the stain in a very even manner and I was very happy with the results. The different layers of the plywood exposed on the exterior led to a darker and less even stain. One thing I am coming to realize is that I enjoy and appreciate the simplistic process of just using oils to darken and enhance the natural grain of wood. I used Trewax brand paste wax for the matte sheen that it can be buffed out to reveal.

Thanks for looking.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

18 comments so far

View LeeRoyMan's profile


1943 posts in 883 days

#1 posted 08-09-2020 09:48 PM

Quite the box Mr. Wolfe.
Could possibly be my favorite to date.
Looks like giant alien eyes …..or a different part of the body??
The compartment at the bottom is a bonus to the design.
Great work.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2835 posts in 703 days

#2 posted 08-09-2020 10:28 PM

Quite an interesting one, Jon. Particularly like the lid and legs. Funny, because I also just finished up a laminated plywood box.

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

View Eeyore's profile


118 posts in 372 days

#3 posted 08-09-2020 11:38 PM

This is an amazing piece. You are pushing the boundaries of technique and really being creative with both material and form. Wow.

-- Elliott C. "Eeyore" Evans

View splintergroup's profile


5437 posts in 2379 days

#4 posted 08-09-2020 11:46 PM

Now that is a box with personality!
Kind of looks like it will follow you around the house, always at your feet (and begging for scraps) 8^)

I like the look of your gazillion laminations, very tastefully done and shaped!

Score another win 8^)

View pottz's profile


18684 posts in 2141 days

#5 posted 08-09-2020 11:47 PM

wow this one is taking me to indonesia,i just get that feeling from it.i also agree with leeroy about the eyes.or other “body” part ! your boxes just keep getting better jon,beautiful work.

-- 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 leafherder's profile


1983 posts in 3108 days

#6 posted 08-09-2020 11:53 PM

I see you have entered a whole New World artistically speaking. You have left the European Baroque, Asian Bombe and Ancient Mediterranean cultural influences for an expedition into the styles of Pre-Columbian Art. Well done, Sir. I see the stylized animal motifs of South American and Central American cultures mixed with the geometric patterns of North American tribes such as Hopi and Zuni. An elegant and balanced fusion. Keep them coming. Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1342 posts in 2448 days

#7 posted 08-10-2020 12:06 AM

That one exotic looking work.
I can’t imagine all the work and craftsmanship that went into it.

The outdoor setting in the photography is appropriate for this style of art.
I’ll bet if it fell off the table it would land like a SpaceX buster.

Great job!

-- James E McIntyre

View swirt's profile


6337 posts in 4128 days

#8 posted 08-10-2020 12:57 AM

That is a very cool box with patterns and shape. I like it, but the eyes, they follow me… I don’t like that ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7943 posts in 1738 days

#9 posted 08-10-2020 01:23 AM

Another interesting box. I find myself wondering… six sides, but four legs; why not three?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Eric's profile


1670 posts in 1029 days

#10 posted 08-10-2020 01:40 AM

Beautiful craftsmanship, and yes it follows you, which is a very interesting aspect of it. Like very much.

I have built both 6 and 8 sided boxes, they do take some work to get it all to fit together. You have mastered it, and nailed it.

-- Eric, building the dream

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2835 posts in 703 days

#11 posted 08-10-2020 09:23 AM

Why yes, I want to learn woodworking, and gain additional experience from the tired master! Sorry for the highjack, JON.

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

View MrWolfe's profile


1643 posts in 1280 days

#12 posted 08-10-2020 03:03 PM

Good morning everyone,
Thanks for all your comments.

Thanks for the kind words. I worked on this one off and on for about 6+ weeks. Thats a little too long and I kind of couldn’t see it anymore. Your compliment made me look at it with fresh eyes and I have a new perspective!
Yah… I can see what you are talking about. Did you see this previous “Adventure Into Shape” box?
Artemis Art Box
I guess I have an underlying theme working here.

Hey Brian,
Thanks for the comments about the legs and lid. I had hoped to get some of the same detailing on the main body and for the most part I’m pretty happy with the results. Plywood, yeah, I bought a lot in the Spring to make jigs and it was taking up valuable space in my wood bin. There are some really cool pieces that some LBs have made with plywood. Yah, I’ve noticed quite a few spammers joining LBs lately. I’m sure Cricket is on it.

Thank you! That is what I am trying to do and sometimes it works out well and sometimes not so well.
I’m happy with this piece, except for all the time it was sitting in my shop staring at me.

Thanks! I struggled with this one a little, wrestled with it a bit as it had its own will. It does seem to follow me around now. Little beast.

Thanks Pottz,
Indonesia, I can see it now. I don’t really plan out the design aside from number of sides and some joinery. They just seem to take on a life of their own. Thanks for the great compliment.

Thank you. Its always interesting to read your perspective and I sometimes connect dots that I don’t see until I google some of it.
Thank you very much.

Thank you. I thought the upside down pic looks like a Space-X Buster too. It rhymes a bit with the Artemis Art Box and that one had a Modern Primitive feel to it too.

Thanks and I know what you mean about the eyes following you. I swear this morning it was in a different place than I left it last night too!

Hi Dave,
I actually played around with the idea of 6 legs, 4 legs and also 3 legs. Six was too many and with 3 the placement of the legs was centered in panels. I almost did that but I wanted the placement to be on the part of the body where the panels meet. That allowed me to carve into the body a bit more. I like your idea tho and it might show up in another build.

Thank you Eric,
I’ve been playing with 3 sided, 4 sided, 5 sided, 6 sided and 16 sided boxes. I’ve learned to calm down on the glue up and just expect to have to tweak the miter angle on the last piece to get a good fit. On the even numbered boxes I suppose I could glue up halves and then get nice flats on those two halves and then glue them up but I haven’t tried that yet. On these lids I put a small angle on the miters to make them compound angles, that creates a kind of conical form, that is always interesting to glue up.

I haven’t nailed it yet but I am always tempted too. >=P

Today I will have a big reset in my shop, cleaning, organizing and building some jigs. I’ve gotten another commission that has an August deadline so I will post that soon-ish-ly.
Thanks everyone.

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3823 days

#13 posted 08-10-2020 04:16 PM

You have developed a very interesting style of your own .
I can not say that I have ever seen anything like it but jet in a way it reminds me of Mexican art .

-- Kiefer

View therealSteveN's profile


8198 posts in 1730 days

#14 posted 08-10-2020 04:21 PM

Outstanding Jon.

A cross, in my eyes, between LRM’s space alien eyes. The legs and standing of a Bulldog, and the face, mouth mostly, of Kermit our frog buddy.

I’m not gonna piss around, this is my Favorite by far. Awesome.

Do you have a pic or two of it prior to starting to work it down. I’d love to see the shape you started from.

Jon you can clearly see a progression in your work, smoother, better details, really coming along. I love your vision, to see these works. I don’t have that gift, wish I did.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrWolfe's profile


1643 posts in 1280 days

#15 posted 08-10-2020 05:40 PM

Thanks Kiefer!
Its been a strange journey and I hope to keep going down the road of experimentation.
I can see the Mexican/Indonesian/South American references that are being used for this and the Artemis Art Box.
Thanks for the comment.

Wow! I can see the progress too and again, you’ve encouraged me to put feet/legs on my boxes and carve the forms. This one does look like it has a life of its own and I can see all the characteristics you’ve written about. Sadly I don’t have a lot of pics of the build on this one. I’ve done that with some of the other boxes and its basically the same process. There are laminations and then blocks (for the legs) before the shaping. The body is panels cut with angles. Probably the process I haven’t shown that I seem to use often is pinning the mitered pieces with dowels. I do that in addition to using splines or I do it heavily when I don’t use splines. Then comes the shaping.
Thanks for the awesome praise and encouragement George!

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