River Rock Box

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Project by PaBull posted 04-13-2012 02:47 PM 2787 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There are other LJ’s that have been playing around with rock inlay. And I have been toying with how to do this nicely and still keep it simple.

This box is for one of my eight daughters for her birthday.

The rocks were collected during our last vacation in the redwoods in Northern California.

pic #2. I used the top of the box for the inlay, and as you can see on the pictures. I used sapwood and the sapwood is joining in the center.

pic #3. On the tablesaw I cut a stopped sawcerf where the tho halves are meeting.

pic #4. Here you see the saw cut.

pic #5. Next I took the rocks I selected for the inlay and laid them on the copy machine and made a copy.

pic #6. With this copy I was able to trace the silhouette with both halves pushed together.

Here you can see that I only carve out the upper layer above the saw cut.

Check the fit of the rocks. I marked the rocks with a little pencil mark to remember how they were supposed to face.

This is where it all started with, a pallet from Taiwan.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

14 comments so far

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4242 days

#1 posted 04-13-2012 03:33 PM

Neat technique, PaBull, thanks for sharing it.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#2 posted 04-13-2012 03:41 PM

Thanks Ted, I am glad you like it.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3528 days

#3 posted 04-13-2012 04:21 PM

This gives the box far more meaning when incorporating something that was collected by the recipient! Very cool build!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#4 posted 04-13-2012 04:27 PM

Thanks Bear. She has not seen it yet. It is not until the 27th. I will keep you posted.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View Boxguy's profile


2855 posts in 2777 days

#5 posted 04-13-2012 07:10 PM


I see you have applied Occam’s Razor … “the simplest solution is always the best solution.” Your solution to insetting the rocks is much more simple than routing out the space. The box design is also straight forward and child friendly. Would the look improve if the rocks had black epoxy around them to the wood surface level to heighten contrast? Maybe not since that moves away from “the simplest” concept. Fun idea and wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing. Keep boxing.

-- Big Al in IN

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#6 posted 04-13-2012 07:26 PM

Boxguy, I have not heard of Occam’s Razor before. Please explain.
Epoxy is a great idea.
I will keep boxing….and boxing….

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2964 days

#7 posted 04-14-2012 02:18 AM

Nice box PaBull! I like the way you cut the bottom of the inlay. Makes for a nice flat bottom and easy to get the right depth. I’ll keep that tip in mind for future reference. I can think of a few times where that would have saved me some work!!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#8 posted 04-14-2012 02:32 AM

Thanks Willie.
Good to see you.
The technique is not perfect, but user friendly.


-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3546 days

#9 posted 04-14-2012 11:27 AM

I always find it difficult incorporating natural elements in my work. You’ve achieved this very well.

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3376 days

#10 posted 04-14-2012 11:31 AM

It’s a really nice box, PaBull, and I’m sure that she loved it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View guitfiddleniick's profile


39 posts in 2748 days

#11 posted 04-14-2012 01:19 PM

Hey, wait a sec, you and I must have the same supplier. I have a crate from india with the most beautiful beeswing figure on it. I was planning to de-naill it and make some boxes. you have inspired the nail puller in me. nice rock inlays. its never easy to inlay river rocks, and make it look right. nice!

-- Be the tool- Mark Ragonese

View Skiedra's profile


259 posts in 2801 days

#12 posted 04-16-2012 07:01 AM

Eight daugters? :D . Now that is one large family! And how many sons?

Anyways, nice looking box!

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#13 posted 04-16-2012 01:43 PM


-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4175 days

#14 posted 04-17-2012 01:12 AM

Thanks master box maker Martyn, although wood seem pretty natural to me and you seem to incorporate wood very well.

I think so to Charles…......we’ll hear all about it in a week or so.

Guit, we do, Taiwan, India, whats the difference. As Boxguy said before, keep boxing….


-- rhykenologist and plant grower

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