Guilty Secret

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Project by BritBoxmaker posted 06-11-2012 05:24 PM 4697 views 10 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For a while now I’ve had a guilty secret. I’m known for fancy work and crazy patterns but I’ve wanted to make just a plain , ordinary box for ages. Well what you see here is a Lacewood (Quarter Sawn London Plane) box, measuring 220mm x 136mm x 84 mm. In the second picture you can see it with lid opened. OK its got an integral clam-shell hinge but its still a plain mitred box. Oh, as pic 3 reveals what looked like an ordinary lipped bottom is in fact a full size drop in tray which, when lifted out reveals a secret compartment, for letters (A4 size, folded) and such. That is, of course, the real secret of the box. My guilt is in leading you on a bit.

The back is in fact a full height clam shell hinge (pic 4), 9mm thick, made from four 4.5mm thick pieces. The sides, top and front are only 4.5mm thick. The mitres are re-enforced at the rear by stepping of the hinge panel and at the front, as shown in pic 6 by splines (2mm x 3.5mm), top and bottom. The tray is 4.5mm thick as well, with a 2mm rebated bottom, as is the box bottom. The ‘secret compartment is 210mm x 118mm x 10mm. Ample for small valuables.

Glue is PVA and finish, sanding sealer and wax.

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

43 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 05:36 PM

Well, Martyn. I am afraid you failed at making a “plain” and “ordinary” box. Those are two words that I would never be able to use to describe this.

Your simple design show off this exquisite piece of wood wonderfully! The box itself is done so well. It is the perfect vehicle for something this beautiful. I believe that anything more complex would be a waste, and take away from the awesome grain pattern of the wood.

Even when you design (relatively) simple projects, you manage to create a masterpiece. Another treasure!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View michelletwo's profile


2794 posts in 4025 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 05:39 PM

can’t fool me..I know you are still one of the most skillful boxmakers around. Simple is sometimes the hardest to do well.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3418 days

#3 posted 06-11-2012 05:48 PM

Very nice. So “simple” looking, you would never know that its a tray insert!

Great job and the wood is stunning.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View KnotCurser's profile


2039 posts in 4078 days

#4 posted 06-11-2012 05:51 PM


I think Sheila stole my words – I was going to simply ask you when are you going to make and post your “simple box”? ;-)

Anyone can make a fancy box if they have enough different woods and fancy hinges and router bits….... If you can make a box look fantastic with one species of wood – to include the hinges in this case – it most certainly can’t be described as “simple”, now can it?

Good work my friend!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 3365 days

#5 posted 06-11-2012 05:57 PM

Agreed. Nothing simple about that box. From the corner joints to the hinge; beautifull!

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3302 days

#6 posted 06-11-2012 05:59 PM

Very nice, particularly like the clam-shell hinge.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View patron's profile


13716 posts in 4351 days

#7 posted 06-11-2012 06:01 PM

what a great way to store
the letter from the queen
asking you to drop by
for your knighthood

beautiful box martyn
one more thing off the list

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

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 3348 days

#8 posted 06-11-2012 06:07 PM

Crafty. I am thinking of what I might hide in there … maybe a group of photos of the boxes you have made. Very fine.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4697 days

#9 posted 06-11-2012 06:14 PM

And I was convinced it was QS Sycamore that we have here in the States. Beautiful , simply beautiful , Martyn : )

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

View Boxguy's profile


2893 posts in 3277 days

#10 posted 06-11-2012 06:33 PM


Sorry, but this box fails completely at being plain and ordinary. Even in simplicity, your work is extraordinary and complex. What a wonderful hinge, spline, and compartment arrangement. From viewing your other projects and this one, my guess is that you have a knack for making most simple things subtly complex and thrive on the complications of intricate design.

Your masterful craftsmanship and this delightful write-up of your work strike me as being the the product of a devilishly devious mind. Let’s hope you never turn to crime…none of us would be safe. Thanks for sharing your creations with us; they are always fun. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3606 days

#11 posted 06-11-2012 07:35 PM

Wonderful box, it seems to shimmer with the lacewood.

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

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4891 days

#12 posted 06-11-2012 07:57 PM

Sweet Martyn.
Man you can crank ‘em out. This is an exquisite piece. I like it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3635 days

#13 posted 06-11-2012 08:33 PM

Simply and plain equals beauty in this equation. Fantastic job. I love the idea on the tray. I am sure it will be used by others, just as many of your ideas. I for one, can see several places it will come in handy.

Thanks for sharing simply and plain done correctly.


-- JoeyG ~~~

View degoose's profile


7281 posts in 4364 days

#14 posted 06-11-2012 09:11 PM

You do ‘plain’ so well…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3963 days

#15 posted 06-11-2012 10:23 PM

Beautiful, and simple (looking) are indeed difficult to achieve simultaneously, and this one hits the mark. The wood hinges are very understated. In all, a lovely box. Nicely done.

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

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