Bride's Jewelry Box - Not Just Any Box

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Project by Alin Dobra posted 01-27-2008 07:27 AM 4969 views 6 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After three weeks in the making (about 50 hours of work), here it is: my entry for the “Not Just Any Box” competition. I designed and build this box for this competition starting Jan 8 (a little late, I know). The box pushed my skills to the limit and I was forced to learn a couple of things. I can truly say it reflects my current skill level both in terms of design and execution.

My main considerations when I set upon designing this box were:

1. Include as many of my skills in a single box as possible. I wanted a box that requires significant bandsawing, hand-cut dovetails, carving and, if possible wood turning.

2. Coming up with a clean design was paramount. Since I wanted so many skills reflected in the work, the possibility to produce an “overly decorated” piece was great.

3. I wanted something useful: a jewelry box that can actually hold a lot of jewelry.

4. As few straight lines as possible. This is especially difficult if dovetails are to be included since they require straight parts to be executed. I had this idea of curved dovetails for a long time but never had the guts to attempt it. This project seemed like the ideal opportunity.

Main design challenges:
1. Decide on a shape that is interesting but not overwhelming. I used Sketchup to get an idea of what would work.
2. Fit in a natural way a natural edge bowl. The inspiration came when I realized that a bride is bound to have a nice wedding ring that needs a special place.
3. Design some feet that fit the rest of the box and give it just enough elevation to add interestingness but not detract.
4. Design some shape for the partitions for the inside trays that fit the design of the box (straight partitions do not really fit).

Main construction challenges:
1. Cut the dovetails on wide pieces at a 15 degree angle (approx). The dovetails had to be perfect throughout the joint since I was planning to round them up (thus the inside becomes outside).
2. Shape the exterior (correct order is crucial). I first cut the dovetails, than the inside shape then glued the dovetails, then the outside shape.
3. Make the inside trays. Since the partitions are not straight, to avoid going insane with lots of small parts bending, I opted for using the scrollsaw on a 2×16 x 10 block of pine. Tedious work to say the least.
4. Doing a delicate woodturning worthy enough to be the central piece and to hold the wedding ring.
5. Carving the rose (about 8 hours on the rose alone).
6. Sanding the box (all done by hand)

Details about the box:
1. The box is 16 1/8” x 10” x 6”
2. The sides and top of the box are cut from a 4”x5”x36” block of cherry
3. The sides are hand-dovetailed and rounded
4. The rose is basswood (hand-carved and inserted into a hole in the top. I did not use glue since it allows me to remove the rose should I need to fiddle with the top and the fit in the hole is go good I have to press it in)
5. Inside trays are pine with a plywood bottom. The top tray is removable. Both trays “treated” with Donjer flocking. This flocking is sprayed over a glue and forms a nice cover. Everything got covered to make sure there is no competition for the central piece.
6. The box is finished with Watco oil and buffed to a nice luster. The rose and woodturning are finished with shellac.

Here are some more pictures of the box (3 pictures is not enough to show this box properly). Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version.

Thanks for looking,

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

38 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4909 days

#1 posted 01-27-2008 07:32 AM

Excellent! That carving is great as is the entire box. The corners are fantastic.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4912 days

#2 posted 01-27-2008 07:44 AM

Outstanding Work Alin!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4795 days

#3 posted 01-27-2008 11:15 AM

That is ‘drop-dead’ gorgeous. Wonderful workmanship.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4742 days

#4 posted 01-27-2008 12:38 PM

Alin, what can I say about the box? It is absolutely wonderful. The detail and craftmanship are wonderful.


-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 4726 days

#5 posted 01-27-2008 12:52 PM

That’s a great box – as you say, it showcases a lot of different skills – well done.

View lw mitchell jr.'s profile

lw mitchell jr.

5 posts in 4808 days

#6 posted 01-27-2008 01:32 PM

very beautiful,and those

-- dubster-lowell,[email protected]

View Critterman's profile


601 posts in 4730 days

#7 posted 01-27-2008 02:05 PM

Wow, that is incredible. And the rose carving…simply amazing. I didn’t have time to enter this year…with this box glad I didn’t….Geez, absolutely stunning. Alin, just can’t say enough what an amazing box.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 4841 days

#8 posted 01-27-2008 02:10 PM

Excellent work Alin, a wonderful box from design to manufacture to finish, I especially like how narrow the pins are on the outside edge of your dovetails, I guess the thickness of the saw blade!

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4801 days

#9 posted 01-27-2008 02:32 PM

awsome work alin ! you are a very talented and skilled craftsman . great job

View Andy's profile


1713 posts in 4829 days

#10 posted 01-27-2008 03:14 PM

Very well done Alin.
I like the free form shape,nice flowing lines.And thanks for taking the time to walk us through the process.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 5013 days

#11 posted 01-27-2008 03:19 PM

That’s very nice!

That’s not just any box!

-- Paul, Kentucky

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 4826 days

#12 posted 01-27-2008 03:40 PM

Alin, that is an abosutley gorgeous box. The detail is outstanding.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1306 posts in 4694 days

#13 posted 01-27-2008 04:08 PM

Well done Alin,,,,,fantastic workmanship and design!!!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16289 posts in 5139 days

#14 posted 01-27-2008 04:34 PM

Wonderful box, Alin. This is sure to be one of the top vote-getters!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4926 days

#15 posted 01-27-2008 04:35 PM

This is a wonderful box Alin!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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