Earth Treasures

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Project by madburg posted 12-07-2020 09:53 AM 1182 views 5 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This box, or is at a chest of drawers, is another Japanese style box inspired by the work of Suda Kenji. Though I think the flip-up end may be unique! Again it’s a piece of Kogei, a uniquely Japanese term that brings together a whole range of western concepts that embrace traditional woodwork, creativity, art, craft, and artistic expression. The word is used to categories items which though they have a function, are intrinsically ‘beautiful things’, which extends well beyond their utility value.

Earth Treasures is presented in a typical Japanese Tsutsumi - gift wrapped fashion. It is stored in a cedar wood outer box, called a Tomobako.

The engraved wooden panel on the top, written in Japanese Kanji characters, has the title of the contents, my name, together with where and when it was made.

As well as its outer Tamobako, it is also gift wrapped in a traditional Furoshiki fabric square, of silk brocade, to add more ‘suspense’ and mystery to what lies inside.

The Tamobako is tied with traditional Japanese Sanada Himo cotton tapes, which are also used for the lift out tray.

Earth Treasure is made from marine plywood veneered with book-matched birch and cherry. It is further enhanced with a decorative band of pau shell, Jarrah edging, and opal dots.

Its base is made from cherry and jarrah. The lockable flip-up end reveals three small trays, which can be fitted into the flipped-up end.

With these trays removed a lockable kendo-buto – drop fit door is revealed. Behind this are five more trays/drawers which slide out.

All the trays are made of banksia, with fiddle-back jarrah toppings and pau shell inlays.

In typical fine Japanese woodworking fashion, there are no visible joints in this box or its trays and drawers. Visible joints and dovetails are often used in western woodwork to demonstrate our skill as a craftsman, a practice generally frowned on with Japanese woodwork. Joints are only seen in more basic pieces of Japanese woodwork like the outer Tamobako.

The title ‘Earth Treasure’ derives from the range of treasures from the Earth used in its construction – exotic timbers and veneers, and the inlays of shell and opal.

It made it to the shortlist of 10 in the box category, of this years Maker of the Year competition in the ‘Australian Wood Review’ magazines – alas it got no further!

That’s it for now with my projects, there’s nothing else finished though a couple are work in progress.

As ever thanks for taking the time to look, and for getting this far! Please ask if you have any questions.

-- Madburg WA

29 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1124 posts in 3317 days

#1 posted 12-07-2020 10:37 AM

Another great piece! Beautifully executed. So many different elements to be explored.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Brodan's profile


231 posts in 2307 days

#2 posted 12-07-2020 10:53 AM

Intriguing and beautiful.

-- Dan, TN

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6801 posts in 1587 days

#3 posted 12-07-2020 11:41 AM

Congratulations on reaching the top 10! It’s a lovely work, and you must’ve had quite some competition.

Does the small black bag in the first few photos contain the key for the lock?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View EarlS's profile


4289 posts in 3353 days

#4 posted 12-07-2020 12:08 PM

Wow!! Another gorgeous box. The details and quality are exceptional.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View mikeacg's profile


1836 posts in 2062 days

#5 posted 12-07-2020 12:33 PM

I am beyond speechless at all your projects…
Thank you for sharing!

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View Oldtool's profile


3163 posts in 3195 days

#6 posted 12-07-2020 12:45 PM

Fantastic, beatiful creation. Looks like an exercise in perfection with all the tight tolerances and need for perfect fits. Great work.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View madburg's profile


319 posts in 1848 days

#7 posted 12-07-2020 12:55 PM

Thanks all.

Dave, Yes the small pouch holds the key for the two locks. I get them off check them out ‘small velvet bag pouch’.

They are so cheap and often free postage. Its a nice finishing touch to a project, and easier than my wife making them!

-- Madburg WA

View Peteybadboy's profile


3055 posts in 2954 days

#8 posted 12-07-2020 01:13 PM

That is a beautiful work of art.

-- Petey

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3998 posts in 3256 days

#9 posted 12-07-2020 01:49 PM

Gorgeous! Can you provide some sense of the scale of the piece?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View swirt's profile


5996 posts in 3977 days

#10 posted 12-07-2020 02:11 PM

Intricate and delicate and seamless. Amazing work.

-- Galootish log blog,

View stripit's profile


128 posts in 3048 days

#11 posted 12-07-2020 02:46 PM

Great box, I can only dream about making such a box. How long did it take you to make it????

-- Joel, People ask what I make. I tell them I make sawdust, and now and then a nice box or frame,or clock, or lamp pops out.

View MrWolfe's profile


1449 posts in 1128 days

#12 posted 12-07-2020 03:50 PM

Gorgeous work and such intricacies. The locked middle section with the five trays is fantastic. The whole set of trays within boxes within boxes within a box is Fantastic.
Excellent craftsmanship.
Outstanding piece(s).

View John's profile


36 posts in 4396 days

#13 posted 12-07-2020 04:26 PM

What a work of art. I am beyond humbled by both your craftsmanship and your design skills. Unbelievable.

View sras's profile


5863 posts in 4134 days

#14 posted 12-07-2020 06:12 PM

Again – wow.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View WhattheChuck's profile


451 posts in 4565 days

#15 posted 12-07-2020 06:14 PM

I have a question—what tolerances do you work to? Obviously these things look piston-fit-ish!

Any special measuring tool you recommend?

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

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