Walnut Keepsake Box with Inlayed Hard Maple Initials

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Project by HughReeves posted 05-24-2011 07:36 AM 2347 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a box I built for my brand new baby nephew (born May 1, 2011). He is the first child of my only brother and I wanted to do something special. I discovered woodworking about 6 months ago and this is my first real project.

The box was made from some short walnut scraps sold on sale at my lumberyard. I think if I had had a little more experience, I would have chosen different (likely straighter) grain for the sides of the box. The dovetails are handcut with a super cheap saw and my homemade 1:8 dovetail marking gauge. I took full advantage of the sawdust/glue combo to hide gaps. Actually, after doing the inlay and seeing how wood-like the gaps were after adding a drop of CA glue, I did this for all the sawdust-filled gaps around my dovetails. It made for a LOT of CA glue sanding, but I thought it looked better afterwards. The top is two pieces glued together then run through my planer. I tried to slide my boards around to find color and grain pattern that looked relatively matched. The bottom is attached by brad nails and features wedged through-tenon feet that are pretty much a straight rip-off of Rob Bois’ Bible-box project (which this project was obviously heavily influenced by). The hinges were bought at my local woodcraft. The inlay was cut out of hard maple using a cheap Ryobi scroll saw. Finish is BLO followed by a few coats of pastewax buffed to shine.

This box was incredibly fun to build and a MAJOR learning opportunity for me. I made several mistakes most of which I think I was able to conceal, but you can be the judge. Thank you to all the LJ out there for this amazing community. I draw a great deal of inspiration from the projects I see on this site.

12 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17919 posts in 4162 days

#1 posted 05-24-2011 11:38 AM

Great job, love the color and the inlay looks great. One to be proud of no doubt!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4038 days

#2 posted 05-24-2011 12:50 PM

Beautiful box.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 4418 days

#3 posted 05-24-2011 04:59 PM

You started woodworking 6 months ago? Wow, I am impressed. Great job. Looking forward to your next project. Don’t forget to sign and date it on the bottom for future generations.

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4470 days

#4 posted 05-24-2011 05:41 PM

This is a very, very nice box Hugh. Job well done….
The wood combination is really nice, design clean and classic and the inlay is beautiful!

If this is one of your first boxes…... WOW !

Welcome to LJ’s….......

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 5174 days

#5 posted 05-24-2011 08:08 PM

Great first project, you did a really slick job on the inlay.hand cut dovetails on your first box, very impressive.

-- Billp

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4544 posts in 3535 days

#6 posted 05-24-2011 08:24 PM

Very nice box!
Job will done

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View dwlckn's profile


47 posts in 3538 days

#7 posted 05-24-2011 11:54 PM

Great box I’m very impressed, the inlay looks very nice and the dovetails are amazing. I wish mine looked that good. Love the grain pattern on the front. Thank you for sharing.

-- “Enjoy what you do, or do something else!”

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5220 days

#8 posted 05-25-2011 01:08 AM

Fantastic first box, wish mine had looked that good. Terrific job, as a turner, believe me, I know the value of CA glue and sawdust. It’s saved more than one of my projects.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4262 days

#9 posted 05-25-2011 02:07 AM

nice work

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 4694 days

#10 posted 05-25-2011 02:16 PM

Beautiful! Joints look perfect!

-- christopheralan

View Kenns's profile


155 posts in 3565 days

#11 posted 05-25-2011 02:34 PM

After only six months in woodworking I was still building pine board shelves. You’ve done a great job here.

-- Then, Than, Their, There, They're, To, Too, Two.....Pine, Maple, Walnut....We need to know the difference.....

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 4092 days

#12 posted 05-28-2011 06:06 PM

That is just BEAUTIFUL, for a first, well, for a second, third….... fine construction, beautiful wood, and excellent work on the inlay, Welcome to lj’s, it’s great to have You here sharing Your talents and thoughts

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

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