Two Walnut Boxes

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Project by RogerBean posted 03-15-2012 03:11 PM 5167 views 12 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Two Simple Walnut Boxes

Two more boxes from Autumn’s figured black walnut. Since they’re similar, I’ll post them together. I’ve long been seeking the “simple, beautiful box”. Something I always think about, never seeming to really get there. But it doesn’t hurt to keep working on it, so these two are my latest shot.

I like period boxes, and typically design mine to look as though they could have been made around 1800, but these two are sort of “period neutral”. They began as two simple solid walnut boxes from the same plank re-sawn and finished to a 5/16” thickness. Each has a raised panel lid, while slightly different in size (to compensate for a couple hidden worm holes).

This wood is probably not technically “burl” as it’s not from a separate growth on the tree. It’s more like a cluster of pin knots in a gnarly tree. I still have a couple of 4” thick planks of this wood, so you’ll probably see more of it someday.

The larger box is 9 3/4” x 6” x 2 1/4” and the smaller is 8 1/4” x 4 7/8” x 2”. The finish is Sutherland-Welles tung oil over a coat of Herter’s French red. Hinges are Brusso 1 1/4” stop hinges, hand polished with slotted screws.

The smaller of the two received a lift which began as a disc turned from a betel nut. The nut piece, by itself, didn’t seem quite right, so I added a turned ring of African blackwood. The only other adornment is the pig suede lining. The underside of the lid shows the burly figure of the lid.

The larger one has a circular blackwood lift with a recessed ivory inlay. This little domed inlay was contributed by my wife from an orphaned ear ring stud, so she claims this box.
The second box is a bit larger and has a 3/8 coved wenge base, where the smaller is left plain.

The different base structures called for different ways of presenting the maker’s mark.

Thanks for looking in.


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

37 comments so far

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3917 days

#1 posted 03-15-2012 03:14 PM

Very nice boxes Roger. The wood is beautiful and I really like how you present your maker’s mark.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4595 days

#2 posted 03-15-2012 03:25 PM

very beautiful looking boxes roger, they certainly do look period and with all of the wonderful touches, these are perfect examples of a wonderful elegant box…right on the money…

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4626 days

#3 posted 03-15-2012 03:35 PM

Both are beautiful and meet your design criteria. I love the Betal nut lift. Excellent work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3559 days

#4 posted 03-15-2012 03:43 PM


Well done, well written. I especially like the lifts and the beautiful wood in the top. It is always a joy to see fine wood put to a good use.

-- Big Al in IN

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3604 days

#5 posted 03-15-2012 03:52 PM

Beautiful boxes! I can see several “faces” on the inside lid of the smaller box.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5510 days

#6 posted 03-15-2012 03:56 PM

There is something about a simple design, executed to perfection as these are, that just can’t be beat in my opinion, Roger.

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4158 days

#7 posted 03-15-2012 03:58 PM

Roger, these boxes are elegant and very nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4328 days

#8 posted 03-15-2012 04:10 PM

Lovely piece of wood, definitely done justice to, here. Simple is good, Roger. Well like this it is.

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

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5377 days

#9 posted 03-15-2012 04:19 PM

That is some mighty fine walnut, Roger (and your work too, of course.) I, too, have benefited from Autumn’s generosity in her wood stash, and her black walnut is one of my favorite woods. Nothing as colorful and swirly as yours, but walnut is nice no matter what it looks like! Very nice boxes.


View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4332 days

#10 posted 03-15-2012 04:47 PM

Nice Boxes !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4788 days

#11 posted 03-15-2012 04:49 PM

You have truly succeeded with “simple and beautiful” Roger!
Not only is your wood choice superb, but your “fine touch” with the added
unique lifts and the beautiful but simple edging on the lids and the base
set both of these boxes off to be superbly but simply, “beautiful”.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4578 days

#12 posted 03-15-2012 05:21 PM

View shipwright's profile


8761 posts in 4089 days

#13 posted 03-15-2012 05:28 PM

Sweet Roger.
I look forward to your “simplicity” period with high anticipation.
You do such nice work !

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

View Triumph1's profile


938 posts in 4371 days

#14 posted 03-15-2012 05:54 PM

Very nice looking boxes Roger. I I think the simpler designs really let the craftsmanship stand out…and with these it does. Their beautiful.

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

View CiscoKid's profile


362 posts in 4165 days

#15 posted 03-15-2012 05:57 PM

Beautiful work as always, Roger. Elegant boxes from premium timber.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

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