Custom Finger - Jointed Walnut Box

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Project by Splinters posted 04-15-2008 12:16 AM 2553 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Creating a box that is simple, but unique, and also beautiful, as well as protective, has been a very challenging and rewarding experience. I am thrilled to have taken on this project.

To be a part of this creation, which will be used to display and protect an antique family heirloom is special.

Life is a journey and this has been an enjoyable part of that process

In planning out this project I decided to use finger joint construction on the corners. I felt it would add to the look and feel of the box. Not to mention it would also provide exceptional strength in the corner joints and additional protection. (The color difference between the first two photos is because the finger-joint photo is still the raw wood and the other photo is after I have began applying the finish coats.)

I am pleased in the end result.

The size of the box was determined using the measurements of the platter that would be stored inside.
(1 1/2” x 13” x 15”)

The top proved to be the most challenging. Hand selecting the right grain pattern direction, and coloring caused me to look through a lot of boards before I found ones that I thought worked well together. The breadboard front was biscuited to add additional stability to the lid. There is a latch to go on the front to secure it once it arrives from Lee Valley.

Matching the grains and colors I think worked out well. The color will only get richer looking as time passes. The top of the box has been laser engraved with a customized celtic cross and the words “Ardara, County Donegal” below it. This process creates a very detailed sharp image.

For the inside of the box I wanted to create a foundation which would display the platter as well as protect it. Using a high density foam padding I created a pocket to hold the platter and then covered the foam with a nice material.

The real test will come when the client places the platter in the box for the first time. Hopefully all the measurements they gave me to work with will perfectly cradle it and protect it for many years to come.

The following are tools I used to create this custom Walnut box with finger – joints. They have been great and I highly recommend them.

Freud 8'' Dado Set
This stacked dado set features kickback-reducing shoulder design and cuts all sizes from 1/4” to 7/8”. Perfect for shelving, joints, tongue and groove, and rabbets…

Woodsmith Fingerjoint Jig

The easy accurate way to get perfect-fitting box joints. Attaches to any miter gauge, works on any table saw or router table…

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

10 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4289 days

#1 posted 04-15-2008 12:19 AM

Looks good! Great finger/box joints!

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4123 days

#2 posted 04-15-2008 12:23 AM

Hi Splinters,

This is a gorgeous box. Walnut is such a beautiful wood with which to work. The carving and finger joints add nice details to the construction.

Thanks for the post. You did well.

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

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4108 days

#3 posted 04-15-2008 01:06 AM

Hi Splinters,

Great looking box. You did a great job selecting the grain on the is fantastic. Those finger joints look real sharp the way the end grain contrasts nicely with the long grain of the sides. What are you using for a finish? I just love working with walnut.

One more question how did you do the laser engraving? That is way cool.

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4015 days

#4 posted 04-15-2008 02:35 AM

I really like the engraving and finger joints. I like to look at things in a project that set it apart from others. This is a very nice looking box.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4024 days

#5 posted 04-15-2008 03:25 AM

Great job Splinters! I love finger joints (especially the long/thin style on thicker stock) and have been wanting to do them for quite a while. Some time ago I purchased the Woodsmith jig, but haven’t put it to use yet. This will motivate me to do so. How was the setup with the jig for the kerf size you chose? Did you do much trial/error before cutting them for real?

-- Martin, Kansas

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4075 days

#6 posted 04-15-2008 03:44 AM

Hi Splinters

Beautiful Box! You did a great job on it. I am sure the customer will be very pleased. What type of laser engraver do you have and how does it work?

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 4106 days

#7 posted 04-15-2008 10:24 AM

Nice work. The timber looks really rich.

View Splinters's profile


190 posts in 4484 days

#8 posted 04-15-2008 04:53 PM

Thanks for all the comments…....

The finish is just a handrubbed poly matte finish
bfd/Tom – the laser engraving was done by an Epilog laser it does a excellent job…pricey machine..but well worth cost. You can basicly load any photo onto the computer and it prints it just like a photo except it is burned into the wood or whatever material you have….the laser is owned by a friend..but I will have one someday…

Woodhacker the box joint was very easy to set up and use I did a couple sample joints on scrap wood..very nice easy to fine adjust and setup….sorry i waited so long to get one… I have to take the time to learn to use my dovetail jig…


-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

View Karson's profile


35163 posts in 4702 days

#9 posted 04-16-2008 03:20 AM

Beautiful Box. I’m sure the customer will handle it with great love.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2308 days

#10 posted 02-18-2013 04:02 PM

I stumbled across this post quite by accident. But now that I took a good close look at your box, Is that ”County Donegal” I see engraved on the top?

About 35 or possibly even 40 years ago my Dad was contacted by someone who was offering him a copy of a Genealogical (sp) search they had done on our family name. It was only something like 20 or 25 bucks so Dad said “Sure, send me one”

It seems my father’s (and now also my) ancestry is tracable back to County Donegal, Ireland. My last name is Durning, but there are quite a few variations on it in the book, including Durnin, O’Durning, Durnigan and several more I cant recall at the moment. My Dad has passed now, but I remember sitting at a family gathering years ago talking about our ancestry, and Dad made a comment something to the effect that “One of you five kids should make long-range plans to one day go to Ireland and see if you can find any of your distant cousins. That would be a hellova trip, and you can come back and fill in some more of our family’s lineage.”

Well now I’m 60 and I have a sisiter 2 years younger, a brother 2 years older, and twin sisters 7 years older, and none of us ever made the trip.

So… any chance you know any Durnings in Ireland? Any chance we might be distant cousins? How cool would THAT be? LOL

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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