Kates Box

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Project by Andy posted 06-03-2012 03:30 PM 5099 views 3 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This box was commissioned by BLM as a goodbye gift for an employee.
It was a rush job and I got it done within an hour of the presentation. Whew!
The box was designed around the size of the medallion which was a predermined size in order to fit the name and other pertinent info along with a slice of train track.

I made the medallion from a slice of figured big leaf western maple and it was sent to a laser engraver for the artwork. It was returned to me a few days later and I then routed the recess in the lid for it to fit into.

The box is 3/4 claro walnut with maple splines and I taper cut all four side on the bandsaw to lighten the weight both physically and visually.

The lid is matching walnut and pivots on brass pins. The track was attached by drilling and inserting pins in the back and attached it through holes in the madallion with epoxy.
Because of time constraints and the budget I was given I opted to set the lid into the box on the square, meaning I didnt route my typical 3/8 lip and the corner pockets, which is a much nicer look but also much more exacting work.

The handle is a piece of two color ziricote which nestles into a mating seat. The front of the box is shaped inward creating a cove in order to lift the handle.

The interior has no dividers, the bottom is lined with black velvet.

The shaping is very subtle on this box, just enough to soften the look and feel.

The finish is Minwax Wipe on Poly, 2 coats. One of my favorites.

Train track Here is the story copied from here.

The checkerboard pattern of private and public lands throughout western Oregon resulted from events stemming from the Oregon & California (O&C) Railroad Land Grant shortly after the Civil War.

In 1869, Congress granted to the Oregon and California Railroad 20 sections for every mile of track it built. Congress made special provisions that no more than 160 acres would be sold to actual settlers for no more than $2.50 per acre. Some 3.7 million acres of western Oregon were patented to the company until it went bankrupt in the 1880’s. The Southern Pacific Railroad resumed construction and in 1887 completed the line.

Southern Pacific violated the conditions over the next several decades, resulting in legislative action in 1916 to reclaim 2.4 million acres of unsold O&C grant lands to the General Land Office of the Department of the Interior.

BLM began to manage these forested lands in 1946 when it was formed by a merger of the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The Roseburg BLM manages approximately 420,000 acres of O&C lands and revested lands from the Coos Bay Wagon Road grant under similar conditions.
A section of the original narrow gauge track was washed into Cow Creek in the late 1800’s and was uncovered by gold miners decades later. This location is south of Roseburg.
At some point years ago, it became a common practice upon retirement, to incorporate a section of this rail in a gift recognizing a persons service with the Roseburg BLM District. It’s a reminder of how the Roseburg office came into existence.

You can read more here if you are so inclined.

Thanks for looking,

Sorry about the photos, they were quick snaps with my Iphone just before it was delivered.

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

27 comments so far

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4852 days

#1 posted 06-03-2012 03:51 PM

Beautiful, Andy! For a rush job, they sure selected the right artist! Nice.


View patron's profile


13704 posts in 4108 days

#2 posted 06-03-2012 03:56 PM

interesting challenge andy

and one you rose to
in your usual professional style

very nice

she will treasure this

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3720 days

#3 posted 06-03-2012 03:58 PM

Boxes with lettering can be really tricky to bring together, but you’ve combined woods, metal track and the artwork into a really attractive whole. Your dramatic lighting brings out the best and most striking features of the box. I actually like the square corners, as they work really well here. The overall result is an extremely inviting creation that will certainly draw attention on whatever surface it comes to rest on. I like it a lot.

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

View DocSavage45's profile


8956 posts in 3609 days

#4 posted 06-03-2012 04:01 PM


I’m having a hard time seeing the subtilties of this box? Pics seem dark? For me I would have been honored, yet I know you have been a woodworker for some time, and may have been here before. Great story to go with the piece.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View shipwright's profile


8552 posts in 3565 days

#5 posted 06-03-2012 04:15 PM

Well done Andy.
The employer made a great management decision in choice of artist.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 4985 days

#6 posted 06-03-2012 04:45 PM

A great retirement gift, Andy. Fantastic work, as always.

At first glance, though, I was thinking that was a pretty ugly “wine glass” medallion on top. LOL!

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

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3364 days

#7 posted 06-03-2012 04:51 PM

Andy: Your choice of woods compliment each other and stand out proudly. You rose to the occasion and created a terrific box.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10923 posts in 4819 days

#8 posted 06-03-2012 05:22 PM

Andy… another SUPER job well done!

Beautiful box… The person will love & cherish it…

Thank you for showing it.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4070 days

#9 posted 06-03-2012 05:25 PM

what a grand gift to be given after so many years, maybe they filled it with gold coins…oh wait its from the government, lol…but as always Andy you did a beautiful job, i love claro walnut, so rich and so much figure to seeing your boxes, a treat always…grizz

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

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3797 days

#10 posted 06-03-2012 06:24 PM

Another beautiful piece of art, even though it was a rush job, from my favorite box maker. Wonderful box Andy.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View sras's profile


5451 posts in 3896 days

#11 posted 06-03-2012 07:20 PM

Another beautiful piece for what I am sure is a grateful recipient. You really took the taper cut to the limit – makes it that much more impressive!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5167 days

#12 posted 06-03-2012 07:21 PM

Andy: Beautiful. I’m glad that you gave the description on the track section. It did leave a strange medallion thought in my mind.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View degoose's profile


7273 posts in 4121 days

#13 posted 06-03-2012 08:57 PM

Great box and fabulous story with it… thanks for posting this…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3803 days

#14 posted 06-03-2012 09:08 PM

Beautiful choice in wood!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Boxguy's profile


2875 posts in 3034 days

#15 posted 06-03-2012 09:33 PM


Deadlines are a pain and often take the fun out of making the box, but you not only beat the clock you made a lovely set of decisions. I like the taper and the resulting look of the progressively smaller splines. The rounded top and corner edges give that “used bar of soap” look that I seem to like so well. To my eye, the taper and rounding cut down on the mass and add to the look. Good call on the laser guy’s help. This is an all together nice job and nice memento for her retirement. Looks like you are becoming the go-to guy on boxes. Thanks for including the history lesson. That was interesting to read.

-- Big Al in IN

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