Ribbon and Bow Boxes

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Project by Lenny posted 07-18-2012 02:15 PM 14299 views 31 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a trio of Bow Boxes made for the three ladies in my life, my wife and two daughters. After recently completing a commissioned blanket chest, I felt the need to make something just for the fun of making it. While thinking about this, the Aug./Sep. 2012 issue of American Woodworker arrived and on the front cover was a photo of this bow box. After reading the article, written by Ken Marble, I was convinced that I wanted to try my hand at it. After cutting the pieces for one, I decided to make two more with the above-stated purpose in mind. Part of the process in making the striped ribbon is gluing up three layers of wood to reach ¾”. For the second box I thought: “Why not just use solid ¾” stock and save the trouble?” After all, some ribbon is one solid color. While I like the look of the mahogany ribbon/bow, I have to say that the striped versions really pop! I am delighted with the results of these boxes although, made to the dimensions provided, they are quite small, particularly in terms of the depth of the box. I am not sure what one would store in the boxes but I am sure the ladies will come up with something. The box, including the lid, but not the ribbon and bow, measures out at 8-1/2” long by 5-1/2” wide by 2” tall. If I make more of these I think I will experiment with increasing the dimensions.
The basic box as made by the author is made of a top and bottom from ½” Baltic birch to which two sides and a front and back of ¼” solid birch are glued. This gives you a solid enclosed box that needs to be cut into a box and lid. The author recommended making these cuts on the table saw and offered instructions on how to do so. The process did not go so well for me on the first box so I used my band saw on the other two boxes and had far better results. Mr. Marble’s ribbons and bow are made from aromatic cedar and birch. My boxes are from Baltic birch plywood and solid maple since I had no birch. I used aromatic cedar and maple for the ribbons/bow on the first box, mahogany on the second and bloodwood and maple on the third. By the way, the ribbon wraps around the entire box, including the bottom.
Regarding the bloodwood box, since bloodwood is so dense and heavy, I was concerned that the lid, with the added weight of the ribbon and bow, would be too heavy for the box when opened. The recommended stop hinges work like a charm and the box does not tip over when opened.
Mr. Marble used spray-on shellac for a finish so I thought I would try it too. The boxes have two coats of the shellac and I followed that up with two coats of aerosol polyurethane. Getting good and even coverage on the inside of the bow loops proved difficult. I may go to either a brush or wipe-on application next time. I just finished these this morning and will present them to the ladies tonight. Thanks for checking in.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

27 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4940 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 02:25 PM

lovely. looks like the 3 women are being treated right!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5173 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 02:26 PM

Very snazzy Lenny. They look great.

And from here, the multi colored ribbons really do show well.

Good job,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27014 posts in 4397 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 02:27 PM

WOW…those are really cool!!!!!!!!!!!!.............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4964 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 02:38 PM

Beautiful box!

View Ken90712's profile


18083 posts in 4480 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 03:20 PM

Great Job, good thing you made 3 right off the bat. Otherwise you would be making 2 more once your little girls seen moms! Very well done!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5271 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 03:28 PM

Great job, Lenny.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3661 days

#7 posted 07-18-2012 03:40 PM

Never seen such a thing before, and I’m impressed. Top-notch work, the ladies are no doubt proud of these (and you).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 4278 days

#8 posted 07-18-2012 04:02 PM

Great job Lenny! I agree that the striped ribbons look the best. They certainly show off your woodworking skills and I’m sure the ladies in your life are going to love receiving them.

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4482 days

#9 posted 07-18-2012 04:11 PM

Those are really nice boxes, I can hear your daughters now,” Oh Daddy, your so sweet!” It looks like a great fun project. The bow loops look very small, I am interested in how big your forum was and how your bows looped thru it. The thing that impresses me is that the bows look continuous, a very nice flow hmmm ribbon like!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 4253 days

#10 posted 07-18-2012 05:43 PM

Those are some really nice boxes you made there.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5368 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 05:46 PM

wow! these are truly beautiful…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4724 days

#12 posted 07-18-2012 06:50 PM

Beautiful boxes Lenny. Those ribbons are something else!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4334 days

#13 posted 07-18-2012 06:59 PM

I love the boxes. I like the solid ribon. I may have to give this a try. I agree, the size may need to be altered a little.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5114 days

#14 posted 07-18-2012 07:08 PM

Your all class Lenny, the ladies will be thrilled with your skillful work. I’ve always trolled with the idea of using my hand plane to make bows then spray with shellac and let dry. It may just be in the card/future, thanks for posting your projects have a great evening…Wilson

View Ivan's profile


17064 posts in 4159 days

#15 posted 07-18-2012 07:21 PM

Those knots on top are amaizing!On first look I can hardly imagine it’s made of wood.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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