Man-box in Walnut

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Project by RogerBean posted 03-19-2012 08:04 PM 5793 views 20 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This latest variation is a bit more complex than the two I posted last week. It is made from the same highly figured black walnut with a thumbnail moulding bordering the solid lid piece. The lid was a bit of a challenge, as the rabbeted tongue on the lid fits into an eighth inch groove in the moulding. As such, the fit has to be absolutely perfect, or the miters won’t pull up tight. The inside edge of the moulding also needs to line up with the box sides, or the resulting ledge will make lining difficult. A small rebate on the underside of the lid reduces the apparent thickness.

The delicate base moulding follows the pattern on an antique humidor I picked up many years ago. It is very finicky to make without aberrations in the very fine cuts, but I do like the period look.

The box is not large, measuring only 11” x 6 1/2” x 3 1/4” high.

The finish is Sutherland-Welles tung oil over Herter’s French Red. This has become my hands-down favorite finish for solid walnut. The lift is a shaped teardrop piece of African blackwood. The hinges are 1 1/4” Brusso, hand polished, and the factory supplied Phillips head screws were replaced with polished slotted screws.

Of the four boxes in this “series” this is my favorite interior, as this piece of walnut was just wide enough to permit a shallow tray, also of African blackwood. The interior and the tray are lined with dark green pig suede. I also covered the inside of the lid, allowing the blackwood tray to be the star of the interior, and not compete with the figured lid. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

With only a single offset divider, the tray and the open area beneath offer space for somewhat larger items than would normally be found in, say, a jewelry box. Hence my created title of “man-box”. This one might hold an iPod or cell phone and the related cables, or thumb-drives, a favorite fountain pen, or other stuff a guy might keep. (No sexism implied or intended; I just like the name “man-box”.)

The bottom is finished off in the same leather as the interior with a small pedestal of blackwood presenting the maker’s mark.

Thanks for taking a look.


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

37 comments so far

View Dez's profile


1176 posts in 5320 days

#1 posted 03-19-2012 08:15 PM

Nice! I love the look of that figured Walnut and the overall proportions as well as the trim!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5461 days

#2 posted 03-19-2012 08:18 PM

Another beauty, Roger. The lift and the interior color give it a very manly appearance.

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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4279 days

#3 posted 03-19-2012 08:25 PM

The good proportions, materials, craftsmanship and detailing make this an excellent box, Roger. I like your sortie into the world of solid wood. Your veneering work is superb and your solid wood work more than a match for it.

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4109 days

#4 posted 03-19-2012 08:26 PM

Roger, I can’t tell you how much I love this box. My preference in a box as well as furniture is a traditional look that is simple yet elegant. This is very rich looking and I love the wood.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4041 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 08:29 PM

Nice one Roger!!

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

View Dusty56's profile


11866 posts in 4931 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 08:31 PM

I want one !! Nice work : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3555 days

#7 posted 03-19-2012 08:40 PM


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

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3661 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 08:52 PM

great looking box.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4739 days

#9 posted 03-19-2012 09:09 PM

Another clean, classic beautiful box Roger!! I really do like the way you have followed the period look on these last boxes you have done and you have done them to perfection!! A true inspiration Roger…..

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Andy's profile


1724 posts in 5151 days

#10 posted 03-19-2012 09:32 PM

Great looking work and the design is definitely classic, it will never be tied to any era.
Well done Roger.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View jbschutz's profile


615 posts in 3934 days

#11 posted 03-19-2012 09:57 PM

Roger, another classic design. Great wood, artistry and craftsmanship. The walnut has an aged, warm tone to it and the design gives it a vintage feel. Beautiful!

-- jbschutz

View rustynails's profile


956 posts in 3772 days

#12 posted 03-19-2012 10:55 PM

Roger the box looks great. Can you tell us more about how you lay the suede on the interior and also were you can get or are purchasing the pig suede? (Mail order or locally)
Thanks Richard

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4196 days

#13 posted 03-19-2012 11:23 PM

Richard: The leather is glued to a piece of index card ( or, what I use is 140 lb watercolor paper which comes in a pad from Office Depot for $5.) But either works fine. Spray adhesive is what I started out with, and it works fine, but is messy and you have to be careful not to get it all over. Neatness counts. Just about any glue that tacks quickly and does not penetrate the material should work fine. Transfer adhesive (glue film which comes attached to paper on a roll) is very nice to work with, but can be pricey, and you may have to buy a big roll. But it is nice and clean to work with.

The pig suede is thin and very flexible, so you can wrap or fold over the exposed edges quite easily. The card with the hide glued on is then glued into the box.

Tandy Leather is a good source here in the states, but colors may be limited. I see you’re from MI and I know they have a store in Grand Rapids called The Leather Factory. ( But you can order on line as well. A single hide is typically about 8-10 square feet and runs about $4-5 per square foot. Some of the nicer colors, like navy and claret seem to be unavailable in the US, at least i haven’t found any. Alma leather in London, UK has a great selection, but the hides tend to be about 20 sq ft. (Guess they have bigger pigs there)

Velvet is done the same way, and works well, though not quite as nice to work with as the pig suede. You need a good straight edge, and a very sharp scalpel is really handy. Hope this helps.

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

View rustynails's profile


956 posts in 3772 days

#14 posted 03-19-2012 11:36 PM

Thanks for the information Roger and yes it helps. I admire how the leather looks over some of the traditional linings used. One question are you spraying just the index card only and then applying the suede or spraying the index card and the suede?

I will have to check out the web sites and see what they have to offer.


View Dave Haynes's profile

Dave Haynes

203 posts in 4596 days

#15 posted 03-19-2012 11:36 PM

I love your boxes. Nice figure and especially classy interiors. Keep up the good work.

-- Dave Haynes, Indiana,

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