Carved Candle Box

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Project by Scott R. Turner posted 12-12-2012 04:27 AM 1620 views 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This candle box is carved out of American Walnut. The stock was resawn from a 1 1/2” thick plank and planed down to 3/8”. The sides are rabbeted and pinned. The pins aren’t entirely visible in the photos, but the sides were two thin for dowels, so I ended up using bamboo skewers for the pins—which fit almost perfectly into 1/8” holes. (I destroyed part of the back of the box figuring this out and had to chisel out the destroyed portions and patch them.) The bottom is a raised panel that floats in a dado. Inside the box at one end is a small till to hold matches; it is also walnut, planed down to 1/8” inch and also floating in dados.

All work was done with hand tools except the initial resaw on a bandsaw.

The sides are “strapwork” carving in a flower motif inspired by this posting by Peter Follansbee, bordered below by running braid pattern similar to my chisel plane. The lid repeats both motifs, although the flower pattern is carved in a low relief style and the border appears both above and below. The background texture was punched with a nail set. (Yes, it was tedious! I have yet to make a texture punch I’m happy with…)

Walnut is often recommended as a good American carving wood, but I found it a little challenging in places.

The box was finished with linseed oil and multiple coats of shellac. It isn’t as shiny in person as it seems in the photos, but I’m probably going to do some more work to make the finish more matte.

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117627 posts in 3971 days

#1 posted 12-12-2012 05:41 AM

wonderful box well done.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30354 posts in 2732 days

#2 posted 12-12-2012 08:42 AM

I should try to use hand tools more. I see a beautiful piece like this, not sure I could ever do that well.

Great job.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View flossy's profile


103 posts in 2764 days

#3 posted 12-12-2012 07:25 PM

Nice interpretation in the design. The entire piece looks great.


View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2569 days

#4 posted 12-12-2012 08:12 PM

Enormously beautiful.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7789 posts in 3307 days

#5 posted 12-12-2012 08:42 PM

Wow! A lot of work was done on this box. What a keeper! Well done Scott!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2567 days

#6 posted 12-12-2012 10:15 PM

Very attractive and beautiful!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View MontanaBob's profile


867 posts in 3077 days

#7 posted 12-13-2012 02:49 AM

Outstanding box…

View Kenny2946's profile


56 posts in 2682 days

#8 posted 12-19-2012 08:44 PM

Very nice job. Walnut is very hard to carve, especially the old air dried walnut. It dulls your tools very quickly. You can find leather tool stamps which have many different patterns to their punches.

-- Kenny, New York

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