Incense Chest

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Project by madburg posted 01-11-2022 01:12 PM 589 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having been fascinated with Kodo, the Japanese Incense ceremony, see my incense box here, I came across a range of other boxes and specialist paraphernalia related to incense while researching kodo. While incense is burnt as part of many religious ceremonies and to ‘purify’ shrines and temples, many Japanese use incense in their homes where different incense fragrances are used at different times of the day to relax mind and body. This can be in the form of josh sticks, incense coils, burning trails of powdered incense, heating incense over charcoal or other heat sources, all of which have their own equipment and utensils.

So, the idea of making a chest to house all this equipment and the different incense used took shape. Sourcing it all was a challenge but great fun. Most came via AliExpress, EBay and a range of specialist online incense and aromatherapy stores. It was a slow process as while things are cheap off Ali, and often with free postage, it can take anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks for things to arrive. Of course, I needed all the equipment first, before I could start to experiment with and plan the layout of the chest.

The chest is compact at around a 9 inch / 270mm cube. It has a lift off lid, tied with a traditional obijimi sash.

The chest is marine ply veneered with red maple burl on the outside and cherry on the inside. The expanses of maple on the outside is broken by strings and edging of black. Inside are two trays made of banksia. The full-size top tray holds charcoal tablets, T-lites and a range of equipment for producing incense trails.

The small tray below holds a range of different incense – agarwood, sandalwood, salwood, frankincense’s, josh powder etc.

The bottom of the chest holds various jars, containers, and incense burners.

The finished chest is not as complex as my first incense chest, but was just as rewarding to make and now use.

Please ask if you have any questions. Thank you for looking.

-- Madburg WA

15 comments so far

View tinnman65's profile


1444 posts in 4864 days

#1 posted 01-11-2022 01:23 PM

Beautiful work, you have done it again with a box that is unique. the warm colors of the wood fit the project very well.

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10237 posts in 2032 days

#2 posted 01-11-2022 01:37 PM

Another beautiful box, and we’ll-planned and executed as always. Nicely done!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View 987Ron's profile


3678 posts in 766 days

#3 posted 01-11-2022 01:54 PM

+1 on the beautiful box. Not a fan of incense of any kind but the box is great.

-- Ron

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1137 posts in 3762 days

#4 posted 01-11-2022 02:27 PM

Yet another great piece of work. Veneered plywood provides so many opportunities when the solid wood is not available.
Thanks for sharing.

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

View recycle1943's profile


7001 posts in 3072 days

#5 posted 01-11-2022 02:37 PM

a very well planned out storage box, not to mention very attractive

-- 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 therealSteveN's profile


9964 posts in 2024 days

#6 posted 01-11-2022 04:16 PM

Wonderful work and so complete. Nice job.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrWolfe's profile


1823 posts in 1573 days

#7 posted 01-11-2022 05:27 PM

Gorgeous build and wonderful storage for all the accoutrements!

View sras's profile


6697 posts in 4579 days

#8 posted 01-11-2022 05:48 PM

I always enjoy seeing your creations. Stunning as always.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1882 posts in 2742 days

#9 posted 01-11-2022 05:49 PM

Your a great box maker Mads.
You really did a lot of wonderful collecting.

What are the strings and black edging made of and how did you get them lined up so well?

-- James E McIntyre

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


3204 posts in 997 days

#10 posted 01-11-2022 06:30 PM

Amazing that you can fit all that gear in such a small space.

Red maple burl! Hmmm, ima going hunting for that. Very pretty.

Curious as to the thickness of the ply you start with? 3/8ths?

-- WWBBJ: the first to compare a woman´s cheek to a rose was a poet. The second, an idiot. Dali

View oldrivers's profile


3102 posts in 3016 days

#11 posted 01-11-2022 07:06 PM

You did a Dandy job, looks Great.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View madburg's profile


367 posts in 2293 days

#12 posted 01-12-2022 12:12 AM

Thanks everyone –
James the black is just dyed black, which I think is boxwood or sycamore. I buy the strings and edgeing from a UK supplier.
Brian – the marine ply substrat is sold as 9mm down here in Australia.

-- Madburg WA

View Peteybadboy's profile


4817 posts in 3399 days

#13 posted 01-12-2022 09:43 AM


Wow that is well thought out and executed! A family treasure for sure.

Congrats on your DT1

-- Petey

View CedarSavage's profile


16 posts in 204 days

#14 posted 01-17-2022 02:52 PM

Beautiful box and so well planned out. The design plan itself, making sure everything fit perfectly, must have been quite a challenge.

-- Mac - Mountain, WI

View Calmudgeon's profile


684 posts in 2877 days

#15 posted 01-22-2022 02:32 PM

That’s a thing of beauty. Great craftsmanship.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

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