Sea Scallop Routed Box

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Project by SPalm posted 07-01-2012 11:48 PM 5979 views 11 times favorited 48 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made another shell box with my homemade CNC, but this time I spent a lot of energy with the shell design itself. I really like the African Rosewood that I had used before. It routes like a dream, and has a grain and color that goes with the shell motif. I have a board that is about 5.5 inches wide, and just over an inch thick – so that determined the size. I was off to Google Images to find pictures of shells.

Once I found one that I liked, I imported it into my CAD system, and sized the picture to match my wood. Then I drew on top of the picture – on different layers, and using vectors. I soon discovered that the shell has two circle center points. The profile of the shell is a circle centered in the shell, while the rays were centered at the bottom. Maybe a Duh for everyone else, but if you look at my previous shells, I only had one center point. I just don’t see it unless someone bops me on the head.

Then came the artist’s implementation stuff. It looked so much better if the left half exactly matched the right half, if the rays or grooves were spread equally and had a slight curve, and the hinge box size was reduced. So the end result is close – well close enough. I really like it.

The top is half inch thick, and the bottom is a full inch. It is finished with shellac, oil, and then wax. The inside of the hinge box was squared up with a chisel, and the hinge pin is a bamboo skewer.


Oh – self promotion: Vectric is the maker of the CAD/CAM system that I use. They are an English company with a worldwide reach. They just did a ‘Case Study’ of me for their quarterly news letter. Yikes.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

48 comments so far

#1 posted 07-01-2012 11:50 PM

Wow you always do something special great design.

-- (L an D Woodworks)

View KnotCurser's profile


2040 posts in 4316 days

#2 posted 07-01-2012 11:57 PM

That is a very sweet container – I love the natural look!

BTW, this past Monday a package was delivered to my door and once I figure it out, should be able to produce what you are doing as well! Yup, I am now a CNC owner and user. :-)

I’ll keep you posted.


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

View JL7's profile


8787 posts in 4213 days

#3 posted 07-02-2012 12:03 AM

Hey Steve – that is really incredible…and I had to ponder your 2 center points for a bit – I get it now, but would have missed it before. Nature comes up with some pretty incredible shapes and few have the skills to reproduce them. You are an exception to that.

I can see you have some serious time and effort on this one and the results are worth it. Nicely done.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

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118263 posts in 4825 days

#4 posted 07-02-2012 12:22 AM

Wow this is way cool Steve what a wonderful box and design.


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Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5300 days

#5 posted 07-02-2012 12:27 AM

WOW, Steve…

You’re really getting that CNC machine to stand up and whistle Dixie!

SUPER work!

Thank you for sharing your wonderful Craftsmanship again!

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

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4235 days

#6 posted 07-02-2012 12:31 AM

I would have missed the two circle center points if you had not pointed it out.
I enjoyed the article from vectric.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 4191 days

#7 posted 07-02-2012 12:33 AM

Impressive work Steve. Picture #1 looks as a natural shell.


Seems your CNC is rocking

-- Back home. Fernando

View Ger21's profile


1100 posts in 4379 days

#8 posted 07-02-2012 12:50 AM

Congrats on the Vectric writeup. And nice work on the shell. :-)

-- Gerry,

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 4468 days

#9 posted 07-02-2012 12:54 AM

That’s one cool box, excellent work :)

View shipwright's profile


8752 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 07-02-2012 01:15 AM

Wow Steve. That’s just superb.

Where would we be without google images?
Personally I’d be down one tea clipper, an albatross, a seiner, three roses…... you get it, just about all my marquetry images started out on the great google in the sky.

You’ve done this one proud and congrats on the well deserved recognition.

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

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Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5300 days

#11 posted 07-02-2012 01:24 AM


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !

... on your recognition article!

That is wonderful!

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

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Pete Jansen

250 posts in 4169 days

#12 posted 07-02-2012 01:46 AM

Beautiful, just like everything you make. Ok, ok, I’ll take a copy of the vectric file if you make me. = )

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

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Pete Jansen

250 posts in 4169 days

#13 posted 07-02-2012 01:51 AM

Wow, nice writeup Mr. Palm. You deserve it, you cnc and vectric work is exceptional. I have yet to cut
my Sea Salt box. It’s been really hot here and with the forest fires we’ve been kind of busy here in
Fort Collins. Nice job.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4071 days

#14 posted 07-02-2012 02:06 AM

fabulous work again Steve, & congratulations on your Case Study selection, well deserved :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5466 days

#15 posted 07-02-2012 02:12 AM

Very, very impressive, Steve. You’ve taken the combination of woodworking and technology to a new level!

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

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