A Walnut Box

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Project by RogerBean posted 03-10-2012 03:20 PM 5529 views 19 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This box started out to be basic, with the sides and lid cut from the same figured black walnut board. After making a series of more complex shaped front veneered boxes I was up to do a few that were less demanding. As it turned out, this box offered a chance to do some experimenting with framing the lid, and adding a base and lift. Overall dimensions are 11 1/2” x 6 3/4” x 2 3/4”.

I am fortunate to have acquired some exceptionally nice figured walnut from Autumn (who used to post some extraordinary projects here on LJ). I wanted to make the best use of this lovely wood, letting it speak for itself. At the same time, great wood alone seldom makes for a wonderful box. (but it does help)

The normal lock and escutcheon is replacedl with a shaped lift of African blackwood. The inlaid blackwood medallion stands slightly proud on the lid, and could serve for an inlay or initials, but at the moment is left blank.

The surprise under the lid is a lovely rosebud marquetry piece, compliments of the very talented Paul Miller (Shipwright). The marquetry is set into a background of elm burl, which has been inlayed directly into the solid walnut lid with a border added to more clearly define the piece. The shallow interior is lined in dark green leather and forgoes a separate tray.

I’m still a bit concerned about the highly figured lid piece. While it’s only about 5/16” thick, It may still crack and warp after a while. (as it did every few days in the shop) Or, it could force the moulding joints apart. Perhaps I’ll be lucky, and things will stay put.

The hinges are 1 1/4” Brusso stop hinges that I polished and added slotted polished screws. The sides are just too thin for my favorite smartHinges. I had originally envisioned this box to have ebony wood hinges, but to look right they would have to be both small and delicate. I haven’t yet been able to create any that are really satisfactory, but I do now have some fine quality scrap hinges. (I haven’t given up on the idea, I just haven’t made any I’m happy with.) The finish is Sutherland-Welles tung oil over a coat of Herter’s French Red.

The bottom is finished off with the same leather. In any event, what began as a really simple box, fell victim to “mission-creep” but what the heck, this is all just for fun anyway, isn’t it?


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

44 comments so far

View Ian Hawthorne's profile

Ian Hawthorne

297 posts in 3937 days

#1 posted 03-10-2012 03:26 PM

Love it Roger!!

Very clean work with crisp edges.

Well done.


-- Worlds Best Box Hardware!

View scott_vt's profile


2 posts in 3558 days

#2 posted 03-10-2012 03:28 PM

Beautifull figure and very nicely done !

-- scotty east wells,vt

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4591 days

#3 posted 03-10-2012 03:40 PM

well, while the student wanted to find some small error , some tiny little speck…lol…....i failed at that, its perfect….i love it, its very elegant and makes me want to run my hand over the top to feel the smooth rich looking walnut..its a beauty…..grizz

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

View jeepturner's profile


947 posts in 4080 days

#4 posted 03-10-2012 03:51 PM

Lovely box Roger, as all are all of yours.
I like that you have incorporated other LJ’s work into it. I think that the black walnut is my favorite wood to look at.
I must resist the urge to covet the tree that sits across the street from me, for it’s a black walnut.

-- Mel,

View mauibob's profile


246 posts in 4355 days

#5 posted 03-10-2012 03:52 PM

A very beautiful box, Roger. (Nice marquetry panel, Paul.) Hinges for thin walled boxes are always difficult, and I think that the Brusso’s look great, providing a nice color contrast and simple elegance to the nicely figured walnut. Your “mission-creep” ended up in another superb contribution!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4576 days

#6 posted 03-10-2012 03:56 PM

very nice box i think u and the other box makers here should do a box and either auction them off for charity or something like that but u gotta have a contest first to see whos is the best. ;)

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4574 days

#7 posted 03-10-2012 04:12 PM

Roger, I aways get excited when I get an email that you have posted a new project.
I am never disappointed, and this is no exception. Your work always inspires me.


View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4784 days

#8 posted 03-10-2012 04:18 PM

Simple, classic, beautiful and elegant all wrapped up in a superb piece of art! Well done Roger, I am always
impressed with the fine boxes that you always display….. an inspiration for sure!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4324 days

#9 posted 03-10-2012 04:23 PM

A beautiful box, Roger, which more than does justice to the materials used. Our styles may be different but quality always stands out.

Its well worth persisting with your pursuit of a good Ebony, wooden, hinge. I’d suggest them built into the walls of the box with a thin lipping extended over the rest of the sides of the box. I’ll do some drawings if you like.

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

View rustynails's profile


957 posts in 3817 days

#10 posted 03-10-2012 04:23 PM

Simple, elegant, and a touch of class you got-t-a love it!

View jbschutz's profile


615 posts in 3979 days

#11 posted 03-10-2012 04:47 PM

She’s a beaut, Roger. You continue to set the bar higher for the rest of us. The box is elegant, and the little touches, set it apart….the lift, the marquetry, medallion….great harmony.

-- jbschutz

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5506 days

#12 posted 03-10-2012 04:48 PM

Like Kent, when I get that notification email that you’ve posted a project, I feel like a kid getting ready to open a Christmas present!

Only a true master craftsman would have the confidence to hide the best of his work on the inside of the box. Congratulations on another wonderful work of art.

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

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4393 days

#13 posted 03-10-2012 04:51 PM

When I see your boxes,and a few others on here, I think this is what i can aspire to do when I retire and I am not rushing to make simple boxes for sale. My favorites list grows again! Thanks for the post.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3600 days

#14 posted 03-10-2012 04:52 PM

Wow! Truly amazing use of timber and the marquetry make a perfect project. Perhaps the hinges will become less prominent as they take on a patina with age.

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4596 days

#15 posted 03-10-2012 05:41 PM

What can I say that has not already been said…absolutely excellent craftsmanship and a beautiful build. Paul did a fantastic job on the marquetry he provided.

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