Inlaid, dovetailed walnut and curly maple urn for man's best friend.

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Project by dbhost posted 01-10-2012 08:01 PM 4038 views 5 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has got to be the absolute hardest project I have ever worked on. Not because of the technical details of building this urn, but because of who it is for.

As some of you may know, I lost my lab last May. He was with me through thick and thin, and was a great blessing through some of the hardest periods of my life. Losing him was like losing a child to me. If you’ve never had that special pet in your life, you probably think I’m nuts, but those that have been similarly blessed know what I am talking about.

The urn is 12” x 6” x 5” tall, made from Black Wallnut that was harvested in upstate New York during some farm land work (walnuts out, something else in…), and shipped to Texas by the fellow I bought it from. The curly maple doesn’t have that cool of a story…

Finish is BLO with 3 coats of brush on lacquer that has been sanded to 400 grit and buffed to a mirror shine between each coat. The photos don’t come close to doing it justice…

The dovetails were done with my MLCS pins and tails template jig, and once run flush, I rounded them over for a smooth appearance.

The dog bone inlay is my first successful inlay task and I am fairly pleased with the result. I haven’t mounted the tags yet, but the last license, and a memorial tag we had made will be mounted in the dog bone so it will have 2 dog bones inside the dog bone.

I spent an unusual for me amount of time finishing this project, including a probably excessive attention to detail in the application and buffing of the lacquer. The result is not only beautiful to look at, but has a tactile feel that is warm and silky smooth.

I hope I did Deacon justice with this… He is missed…

Once the remains are transferred from the vets pine box to here, I will finish working up a matching picture frame, and collar display box where this will all be kept on the mantle of the fireplace. When he wasn’t in the field hunting with me, he loved to hang out by the fireplace, especially in the winter…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

17 comments so far

View Tyler's profile


174 posts in 3199 days

#1 posted 01-10-2012 08:15 PM

Nice tribute to a great friend. Thanks for sharing.

Just lost my lab this Thanksgiving. 12 years of being by my side and keeping an eye on me at all times.

Here’s to hoping that your pup can now spend countless days hunting and nights by a warm fire. I know mine is in lake, hiking, or chewing bones.

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 01-10-2012 09:01 PM

I need to get him to be able to sit still first. But boy is the new pup a great frisbee dog!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 3117 days

#3 posted 01-10-2012 09:07 PM

100% sympathize with you dbhost. This is an excellent tribute to Deacon and you’ve done him proud. May you continue to enjoy your memories, and future, with Deacon right there by the fireplace with you where he belongs.

Stay strong brother.


-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 2898 days

#4 posted 01-11-2012 04:10 AM

What a wonderful tribute to your friend. The box is beautiful. Best wishes…

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4083 days

#5 posted 01-11-2012 04:17 AM

Unique urn,good job.

View DiamondWW's profile


85 posts in 3739 days

#6 posted 01-11-2012 04:36 AM

Beautiful job. We just lost one of our furry babies Friday evening. She was 13 years old. I understand your pain.

-- There is no such thing as scrap wood, only smaller projects.

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2836 days

#7 posted 01-11-2012 06:20 AM

What an outstanding tribute to a beloved friend. My condolences for your loss.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 3486 days

#8 posted 01-11-2012 10:11 AM

What abeautifull piece. Well done

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Eddie's profile


27 posts in 2837 days

#9 posted 01-11-2012 10:26 AM

very nice,i may borrow this when i lose my buddy,only had him a few years but if anything happen to him it would be a lost as much as any good friend.i,m with Tyler hes in a better place you know a preacher told me one time that dogs dont go to heaven i told him my bible says they do its says the lion and lamb will lie together i think they are animals too. in Isaiah r one of those books in there.He said he would look in his bible i told him he had not read it is why he didnt know. felt bad latter may should have not been so harsh but i know god love his creation and my and your dog are part of it.sorry i digress beautiful urn and ill be glad when i can get a finish as good as you did on this

-- Jesus is ok with me

View kaschimer's profile


89 posts in 2895 days

#10 posted 01-11-2012 02:51 PM

OK, made me incredibly sad, but this is a classy and respectful way to honor your buddy.

-- Steve, Michigan - "Every piece of work is a self portrait of the person who accomplished it - autograph your work with excellence!" - Author unknown

View Ken90712's profile


17741 posts in 3695 days

#11 posted 01-11-2012 03:26 PM

My sympathy is with you 100%...I understand what you mean. I have a Chlt Lab right now named Kaina, she is 8…. I love that dog than word can describe. Just the look on they’re face make you forget how bad of day you might be having.

This is a great tribute to Deacon, he was probaly looking over your shoulder helping you nail the inlay!!!!
great work and again sorry for your loss!

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3671 days

#12 posted 01-11-2012 04:59 PM

Very appropriate, and great execution. My special pet is still alive at 21 years, Kermit, my mitered conure. He generates a laugh every day and keeps me company.

I have been eye balling the MLCS templates myself. They as easy to work with as it appears in their literature?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3738 days

#13 posted 01-11-2012 05:26 PM

The hardest part about them is setting up the template mount block… But yes, once you have it set up, they are plenty easy to use…

I do want to add the T track to the block and add the stop block / clamp rig to it, make for fast / repeatable dovetails…

I must admit though, I have a serious case of jig envy when I see the work folks do with the Leigh and PC Omnijig setups… However, I am starting to watch the vids from the hand tool guys on hand cutting dovetails,and I am starting to get interested in that…

Oh, when cutting DTs with this rig, a sacrificial piece on the outside is a good idea. I thought it was just this jig, and used a borrowed Rockler jig, same problem… Sacrificial strip on the outside to act as a sort of zero clearance insert does wonders…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3671 days

#14 posted 01-11-2012 09:53 PM

Thanks for the advice. I picked up some saws as Christmas gifts, so I might try some hand done ones as well.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View James Lango's profile

James Lango

186 posts in 4040 days

#15 posted 01-12-2012 07:58 AM

sorry for your loss. Dogs are awesome pets and great freinds! :(

-- [email protected]

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