Sycamore and teak box

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Project by Steve O posted 07-14-2012 03:55 PM 2932 views 22 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I remodeled my house a few years ago and had to remove an American sycamore tree. This was my first attempt at going from tree to finished project. Unfortunately, some of the wood developed staining from my ignorance about drying wood. But some of the pieces had intriguing patterns that I just couldn’t throw away. This is one of the boxes from that learning experience.

The top is book matched then mitered at the front edge for a “waterfall” effect, and reinforced with a gusset. The knob is oil-rubbed bronze in a vaguely contemporary/Asian style that I got at Chown Hardware in Portland, OR.

The box itself is from a scrap of teak I found in my father’s shop when we were cleaning it out after he passed away. So, while I’ve had a couple of offers for it, there’s a sentimental value that overwhelms any desire to sell it or give it away.

-- Steve O in Oregon

17 comments so far

View woodpezzer's profile


125 posts in 3424 days

#1 posted 07-14-2012 04:03 PM

Nice waterfall effect. I like the way you built the lid. Very unique. It’s a keeper for sure. Really nice craftmanship here! Great job!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30638 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 07-14-2012 04:08 PM

Like the concept for the lid. Nice looking. The staining or spalting is what makes unique.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 4785 days

#3 posted 07-14-2012 05:06 PM

Handsome Box, that waterfall effect is very appealing! added to my favorites

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4471 days

#4 posted 07-14-2012 06:16 PM

Very cool. I like the lid design as well.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 3469 days

#5 posted 07-14-2012 06:25 PM

Great design, I like how you incorporated the waterfall effect very much. Great job!

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View MisterBill's profile


411 posts in 3471 days

#6 posted 07-14-2012 08:29 PM

How did you hinge the box? Wood, metal?

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3818 days

#7 posted 07-14-2012 08:45 PM

Beautiful. The wood looks amazing.

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5042 days

#8 posted 07-14-2012 11:13 PM

Nice design concept on this one…thanks for posting BC

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 4990 days

#9 posted 07-15-2012 01:08 AM

Beautiful grain and color, great box.

-- Tom D

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3909 days

#10 posted 07-15-2012 01:36 AM

Cool design with the front/top both hinged together. The waterfall effect with the sycamore makes this project very unique. That is some of the darkest teak I have seen. Does it darken this much with age?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile


2900 posts in 3487 days

#11 posted 07-15-2012 09:11 AM


This design is all about the lid, and you have really capitalized on showing off the grain in the top piece. The flow of the grain across the top and down the front is a real eye grabber. Nice work.

The gusset is a necessary evil to re-enforce both the book matched joint and miter, but it meant you had to chamfer the front of your top tray. Did you consider shaping your gusset more like a traditional quarter round? Putting a triangle at each end would work too, but the gusset you have used is much more mechanically sound and more straight forward. The exposed lock joint at the bottom is another interesting choice.

Thanks for posting your work. You have created a beautiful box and it has several unique design features. I especially liked the story of the wood. Have you considered writing that down and putting it inside the box?

-- Big Al in IN

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3721 days

#12 posted 07-15-2012 12:00 PM

That’s a great box! I love the way the lid works to allow the top tray to slide out rather than be lifted.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3886 days

#13 posted 07-15-2012 02:16 PM

Gorgeous box .
A wonderful design right down to the knob and
the sources and history of the materials adds a lot of value .

-- Kiefer

View DBoltz's profile


122 posts in 3598 days

#14 posted 07-15-2012 02:41 PM

Nice box, indeed. It sure is a beauty to look at which is a sweet bonus to the sentimental value it has for you.

-- Dan, Virginia Beach

View Steve O's profile

Steve O

21 posts in 3415 days

#15 posted 07-15-2012 04:34 PM

Thanks to all of you for the kind comments. I feel honored to be a part of this group and to have so many of my peers react so warmly to my work.

As to the details…

MisterBill – The hinges are brass pins, concealed with plugs. I used small plastic washers to maintain the consistent gap between the lid and the box. Originally the gap between the box and the square top/back edge of the lid acted as a stop, but with use the gap proved to be a little too big and it now goes all the way back. I haven’t yet figured out a solution that doesn’t look “clunky” or detract from the design. Any ideas?

gfadvm – I don’t know where the wood came from but it has some worm hole “damage” so I’m thinking it may have been in the water for a while.

-- Steve O in Oregon

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