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Project by Triumph1 posted 05-10-2011 09:53 PM 4157 views 27 times favorited 58 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The design for “Aspire” was spawned from the strong feelings I had following a public art exhibit I participated in. It was such an amazing night of art and community I knew I wanted to capture some of that energy in a new piece…the design work for “Aspire” shortly followed. It is meant to pull your view up and up as would aspirations in your own life. Starting from a central starting point of awareness our aspirations will grow and make us who we are today and who we want to be in the future.

The main body was constructed of quartersawn curly black walnut using a rabbet joint. The joint is further enforced using (20) 3/16” diameter handmade gaboon ebony dowels. Once together I cut the 10” radius top and bottom. 1/8” pieces of crotch walnut where put into the box to support the tray. Using more QSBW I made a frame that inserted into the bottom of the box. That created a flat on the bottom. I made a fixture and used a 60 degree sign making bit to route the shallow “rays” into the box sides. The center of the “rays” is actually the center of the 10” radius on the lid. There is a large rabbet for the lid to fit.

The base is constructed of black walnut. It was roughly cut to size and then veneered in a manmade black/white ebony veneer. The veneer just added a vertical movement that really complemented the shape of the box. It was also designed to leave a 1/8” shadow line when the body of the box was sitting in it.

The tray is made from curly maple using the same rabbet joint design. The 10” radius cut was put in and then I started forming the handle. The handle actually has the same 10” radius. I soaked a piece of curly maple in water and then placed it into a clamp to let it try with a curve. After that I cut off a piece, sandwiched it between two pieces of rosewood veneer and then clamped it into a fixture to dry. All radii where formed from rasps and files. Those small Japanese rasps with milled teeth are awesome! The handle portion has two 1/8” diameter hand-made maple dowels to hold it in. All joints on the tray where reinforced with 1/8” diameter hand-made black walnut dowels.

The lid started life as a 2” thick piece of curly maple. It was cut into four pieces and a thin piece of black maple veneer was glued in place. The veneer matches up perfectly with the “rays” in the box body. After getting the rough lid to fit into the box I made a hardboard guide to cut the 10” radius into the lid and body. Once that was cut I marked where the 10” radius was on the body and where the 1.5” circle of the spire would be…then started the shaping of the top using a Foredom and cabinet rasps. the base of the spire was turned out of black and white ebony. The spire started life as two equal pieces of QSBW with a thin piece of black maple veneer between them. I turned just the bases of them on the lathe and the rest was formed using some compound cuts on the bandsaw, guide hole on the drill press and then LOTS of shaping with the Foredom and rasps.

Woods used were Quartersawn Curly Black Walnut, Crotch Black Walnut, Curly Maple, Black and White Ebony, Gaboon Ebony, Rosewood, Man-made Black and White Ebony Veneer and Black dyed Maple Veneer. Finish is four soakings of Danish oil followed by two buffings of Briwax.

I actually made two of the boxes at once and lined each one with a different Asian inspired fabric.

Overall dimensions: 8.8” x 5.5” x 13.4”

I know…a bit wordy. I do have pictures throughout the build but finding time to post will be hard. maybe sometime in the future. Well, back to the basement. Keep making that sawdust.

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

58 comments so far

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2836 posts in 4506 days

#1 posted 05-10-2011 09:56 PM

Wow! Beautiful! What a great design and Craftsmanship!

-- Dennis Zongker

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 05-10-2011 09:56 PM

Absolutley STUNNING! WOW! WOW! and WOW AGAIN!!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View TJCROSS's profile


165 posts in 3912 days

#3 posted 05-10-2011 09:57 PM

Jeff, Another amazing box!


View rkoorman's profile


381 posts in 3738 days

#4 posted 05-10-2011 09:58 PM

Amazing…...just amazing. I really like that’s not just a box. Everytime you make a different form.Thanks for the inspiration


View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4653 days

#5 posted 05-10-2011 10:03 PM

Very nice. Fine work.

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View degoose's profile


7279 posts in 4268 days

#6 posted 05-10-2011 10:05 PM

Well blow me down… and shiver me timbers… if that ain’t a wonderful work of art to “Inspire” us.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Brit's profile


8204 posts in 3756 days

#7 posted 05-10-2011 10:07 PM

Not wordy at all Jeff. It is nice to hear what went into making such a wonderful piece. I love your choice of lining material too. Thank you for sharing it.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View shipwright's profile


8618 posts in 3711 days

#8 posted 05-10-2011 10:11 PM

Lovely material done proud by excellent design and execution. Nice Jeff.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4653 days

#9 posted 05-10-2011 10:13 PM

What do you mean by a manmade black white ebony veneer? Where do you get the product?

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4999 days

#10 posted 05-10-2011 10:23 PM

Absolutely beautiful, Jeff. Thanks so much for showing us and telling us the story. Really really a fine piece.


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4222 days

#11 posted 05-10-2011 10:37 PM

Exceptionally beautiful piece of artwork Jeff…First class all the way…..

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4217 days

#12 posted 05-10-2011 10:46 PM

hoppin gee hos a fats…....yo hoe hoe and a dang perty piece …..jeff this is one beautiful piece…it must have been one heck of a night…this is just grand….i love the whole thing…congrats…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3950 days

#13 posted 05-10-2011 10:46 PM

Jeff, what can I say. They don’t come along often but when one of your creations appears it has always been worth waiting for. This is one of the most beautiful of your boxes that I have seen, I’d go so far as to say achingly beautiful. The wood choice is spot on, the design works exceptionally well and the craftsmanship is flawless.

I turn tricks with patterns. You sir are a true master box maker.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Roger's profile


21031 posts in 3718 days

#14 posted 05-10-2011 10:48 PM

that’s just awesome!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 4038 days

#15 posted 05-10-2011 11:04 PM

Man this stuff must keep you awake at night just inventing it!!!! I think all of your creations are simply amazing!


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