Sarah's Keepsake Box

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Project by Woodhacker posted 04-13-2008 05:36 AM 3057 views 8 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I first began woodworking in Jr. High, but quit after high school. This keepsake box is my first project after 30 years away from woodworking. It was made a few years ago for my niece, Sarah. The top, front, and back are walnut with the sides made from birdseye maple, with a red oak base. The “S” inlay is birdseye maple and was hand cut from one piece. I used a jig and router for the box joints. The scrollwork was patterned after a scrolled wooden cross that use to hang in my parents house, which I now have. The finish is 11 coats of General Finish wipe-on satin Arm-R-Seal preceded by sealer. The finish was hand sanded progressively finer between each two or three coats, with the last being 1500 grit. I used Behlen’s polish as the final “rub”. This process completely filled all grain pores, giving a “glass-like” smoothness.

When my mother found out I was giving this as a surprise birthday gift, she “got in on the act” and made the “cover” in the last picture. It’s made of felt and lined with suede and has a rope drawstring. The pattern of the keepsake box’s inlay is embroidered into the cover and positioned in the same place as the inlay in the top.

-- Martin, Kansas

23 comments so far

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4449 days

#1 posted 04-13-2008 05:59 AM

What a beautiful box. You did an outstanding job on it. I like everything about it.
Thanks for posting.

God Bless.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View TroutGuy's profile


224 posts in 4387 days

#2 posted 04-13-2008 06:02 AM

Man! That’s one FINE looking box! I like the contrast in the box joints. You have a very fortunate niece.

Thanks for sharing.

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4498 days

#3 posted 04-13-2008 06:16 AM

A masterpiece. Absolutely beautiful work. The scrollwork and inlay, along with the contrasting woods and joinery, as well as the hardware, are all an excellent combination. Your work here is to be commended as well as praised. Many of us have made boxes, but few are as complete as this one.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4664 days

#4 posted 04-13-2008 06:35 AM

That is a fantastic looking box!

What kind of hinges are those?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4744 days

#5 posted 04-13-2008 07:50 AM

Nice inlay. Looks precise.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4922 days

#6 posted 04-13-2008 10:41 AM

Beautiful, gorgeous are just a couple words that come to mind. Outstanding looking box. You have a very fortunate niece and I bet she’ll treasure it forever. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 4596 days

#7 posted 04-13-2008 11:17 AM

Every now and again I see a piece of craftmanship and say to myself “Wow”. I really, really like your box, you have a very lucky niece, and a clever Mum too!

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4497 days

#8 posted 04-13-2008 12:29 PM


This is a stunning box. The walnut and maple work well together. I am sure that your niece treasurers the box.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 4384 days

#9 posted 04-13-2008 12:47 PM

Your niece is one lucky girl. That is one sweet looking box.

-- Use the fence Luke

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2131 posts in 4424 days

#10 posted 04-13-2008 01:57 PM

Great box and I like the combination of joinery, scrollwork and inlay.

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4389 days

#11 posted 04-13-2008 02:14 PM

looks like you got it just right woodhacker,i’m sure she will love it.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4441 days

#12 posted 04-13-2008 02:21 PM

If you can produce a box that is this nice after a 30-year lay-off, one thing is for sure…... you still have great skills. This is one of the nicest boxes I’ve ever seen. The finish must have taken some time but it was well worth it. Thanks for the post.

View tigger959's profile


50 posts in 4405 days

#13 posted 04-13-2008 02:45 PM

Wow! this is a beautiful keepsake box. You should be very proud. I know Sarah will be proud of you.

-- Tigger, Texas

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4443 days

#14 posted 04-13-2008 03:20 PM

Sarah is one lucky lady. Beautiful box.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16285 posts in 4894 days

#15 posted 04-13-2008 03:22 PM

Fantastic box! You surely have not lost your touch.

That walnut on the top has a very interesting and beautiful pattern of darker streaks in the grain. It really looks more loke rosewood.

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

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

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