"Treasure Temple" for your treasures

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Project by Gumnut posted 07-21-2012 07:57 AM 3443 views 22 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well here is what I promised “Treasure Temple”, with the best yet to come.
Jarrah: veneer, straight grained timber and tree root base for the dome
Vavona: veneer (used on old car dashes)
Bird’s Eye Poplar: veneer
2 x sealed lead acid batteries
12 x ultra bright LEDs
1 x on/off switch (ex video player)
1 x charging port socket
1×12 volt regulated power supply
Brass, 6mm thick
The dome and the top sleeve were created from a Jarrah tree root base (very dense and stable with no specific grain direction) from storm-felled tree. Using a home-made lathe I turned up a dome to 5mm thick for the top lid. The fretwork design was created by dividing the dome into ¼ sections, and in each quadrant I rolled blue tack into thin worms so I could work with the pattern on the outer layer. I sprayed a coat of white paint over the dome to mark the pattern required, removed the blue tack, and carved out most of the painted area (the waste) with an electric dental handpiece and various burrs, finishing off with a set of jeweller’s needle files (always filing towards the centre of the dome).

The square base of each pillar had to be larger than the top, so I cut around each one with a router to make it step down, then turned up the shape and finished off with sand paper. One pillar has a 3mm hole through the centre, to house the power cord for the lights around the top.
Using 12 segments of straight-grained jarrah cut at 15 degrees, I glued together triangular blocks to create a circle with no end-grain showing. I turned the shape for the top and base sections and sanded. On the underside of the turned top, I cut a slot for the LEDs to recess into, and then drilled internal channels so the wires could pass through unseen. Holes were drilled into the base for the switch and wiring.

These are Jarrah veneer covered with Vavona sourced from The USA. It’s most commonly used on the dash of vintage cars. The lower trays have additionally been internally lined with Bird’s Eye Poplar for a dramatic effect. The three internal trays are externally lined with Jarrah-stained Maple burl with a central Jarrah turned knob for lifting. I aimed for a perfect fit; when the tray is dropped into the central tube, the air cushions the fall of the tray. I wrapped 8-10 layers of veneer around tubular forms ie., (truck exhaust pipe and a truck oil filter), gluing with resin glue. The lower ½ round trays were formed around a large cooking pot in the same manner. The lower side trays have a Poplar veneer-covered ply base, glued to the tray walls and then fully externally covered with Vavona veneer. To assemble the top, base, pillars and central tube, a combined assembly had to work, so with the pillars’ top and bases drilled for dowels, I used resin glue to fit the centre tube into the base recess, and then with the dowelled pillars already inserted, the top was positioned and aligned.
Another tube was added under the base to house batteries and another sub-base glued on to accommodate the lower trays.
Behind each of the 12 pillars are 12 ultra bright LED lights, aiming downwards to enhance the Vavona veneer on the central tube, powered by two 6-volt rechargeable batteries. A small Jarrah push-button switch is hidden inside. At the rear of the temple there is a charging port for a 12-volt regulated power supply that can be either on continuous charge or used as required. The lights will run for 5 days non-stop on a full charge.
The hinge was made by cutting 6mm thick brass plate to a shape that matched the dome cut-outs and curves. I filed this down to a complementary design to match the intricate fretwork; the lower section of the hinge had to be scalloped (honed?) out to allow for the mounting screws and pivot pin. The hinge was then highly polished and coated with Incralac to prevent tarnishing.
Techniglue (2-pack resin glue)
Wattyl Estapol (satin)
The inspiration came from a photo of my wife standing under a Roman pavilion. This made me look more into Roman architecture, particularly the architectural tricks they employed that successfully directed and engaged the eye, such as the way the pillars of the Parthenon are angled outwards to draw the eye upwards. Decorative antique clocks also featured heavily in my research, particularly those based on Roman architectural designs, and those with domes in their design.
It recieved first place in the Box competition for “Out Of The Woods” show in Perth and also Peoples choice, unfortunetly it is now sold which paid for my new JET JWL1220 lathe and a combination disc and belt sander.
The old lathe has now gone to the wood shop in the sky.
Hope you lkie it.

-- Peter, member of the Fine Woodwork Association

37 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2833 days

#1 posted 07-21-2012 09:01 AM

Peter, what a truly lovely work of art. This just blows me away. I can’t imagine what we will see next on your site that will be even better. You are such a creative and meticulous artisan that I can see why your Treasure Temple won first place and was a “People’s Choice” favorite.

If the ancient Romans didn’t build something that looks just like this…they should have.  The carving detail on the top is spectacular and must really look great with the internal lighting. The brass work is exquisite. This box has a classic, museum-quality look that amazes me. Work like this should be enshrined someplace for people to marvel at for centuries.

Your photos of this work bring to mind Keat’s words, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” Thanks for sharing this marvelous creation with us, and thanks for bringing such beauty into the world.

-- Big Al in IN

View Doe's profile


1428 posts in 3396 days

#2 posted 07-21-2012 09:27 AM

I second what Boxguy said. It’s stunning.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3422 days

#3 posted 07-21-2012 10:13 AM


It is in a class of its own.

I can only concur with Al & Doe


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Brice1's profile


102 posts in 2914 days

#4 posted 07-21-2012 10:33 AM

Peter – this is truly outstanding. Just magnificent work. I love the design, symmetry of the piece and material selection… and, as with your other works, the execution is flawless. Thanks so much for posting this fine work.


-- Brice, Philadelphia

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3519 days

#5 posted 07-21-2012 10:40 AM

Lovely piece all round! Great design concept and flawless execution on a splendidly innovative creation. I genuinely enjoy seining your work show up in posts. BTW, is the center tall enough to hold a bottle of Laphroaig?

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

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 3259 days

#6 posted 07-21-2012 10:57 AM

Most Excelant!

-- See pictures on Flickr -[email protected]/ And visit my Facebook page -

View vonhagen's profile


547 posts in 2930 days

#7 posted 07-21-2012 11:03 AM

a work of art, fantastic job

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2974 days

#8 posted 07-21-2012 11:10 AM

Stunning workmanship and craftsmanship. Projects like these just blow my mind.

Fine fine woodworking!

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

View stefang's profile


16875 posts in 3900 days

#9 posted 07-21-2012 11:38 AM

I have to say that I love everything about this box, it’s classic design, the wood, the carved dome and hinge, the multiple tray solution and the drawers. All of it very unique and beautifully crafted too and designed with reference to a personal experience to boot!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View RKaste's profile


144 posts in 2722 days

#10 posted 07-21-2012 12:06 PM

Amazing! You are a true Craftsman…. Thanks for sharing.

-- --May you have fair winds and following seas--

View DanoP's profile


135 posts in 2905 days

#11 posted 07-21-2012 12:27 PM

I am in awe… I feel lucky if my boxes are good enough to hold old car parts next to the rusted coffee can in my shop. But this… This would be at home on the President’s desk or the dresser of a queen.


-- We've got enough youth. Let's search for a fountain of smart.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3602 days

#12 posted 07-21-2012 01:16 PM

Fine, quality workmanship. The base drawers are a particular favourite part of this piece.

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

View Gumnut's profile


95 posts in 2723 days

#13 posted 07-21-2012 01:24 PM

Thank you so much for your very generous praises, It gives me great pleasure giving people a smile on their face and I think I may have achieved that.
I hope the new people to the craft see my journey of where I began making a simple table and take something with them to inspire more projects, mistakes will happen but that’s part of the fun.
I am not sure what a bottle of Laphroaig is, but it could be very possible Roger, the trays drop into the centre with an air cushion softness about it and I think bugger the trays lets hide the booze in the box ;)
The next project to upload takes a totally new level beyond this one so next Saturday I will load that one.
Thanks again.

-- Peter, member of the Fine Woodwork Association

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2784 days

#14 posted 07-21-2012 01:29 PM


Excellent craftsmanship! Too bad it is already sold – it would have been nice to see it all lit up. Your work is an inspiriation to all of us.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View MasterSergeant's profile


1421 posts in 3254 days

#15 posted 07-21-2012 01:29 PM

Thank you for showing such a beautiful piece of art! Blown away!!!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

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