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Project by Andy posted 01-31-2013 08:45 PM 9987 views 40 times favorited 103 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my entry in the wooden jewelry contest. Its a brooch that is also a magnetic key to open the box. The box is locked when the brooch is in the face of the box.Turn the brooch and it releases the magnet from the spring loaded catch and allows you to pop it off and wear it.

How it works:
The brooch has a 1/4” super magnet on the back and is covered by thin maple veneer. The edge of the lid has a steel pin that pops into a recess in the body when the brooch is in place and turned to the proper location, the tip of the pointer aimed at about 4 o’clock. Turn to 5 o’clock and the magnet slides past the recess in the body thus losing its attraction to the pin which is inside a spring that retracts it. This also raises the wide part of the bloodwood arrow above the body allowing it to be removed easily. Once its unlocked you simply press on the back of the lid and the front edge pivots upwards. The second picture shows the brooch after removal and also the backer which has a concealed magnet which goes inside the coat, the two super magnets easily support weight, and no pins to contend with. The first picture shows it attached to my wife’s coat using the magnetic backer.She declined to be included in the picture. She didn’t want her beauty to sway any votes.

How I did it:
I made a mock up box the exact size to practice on.
I made the steel pin using a small bolt with the head ground down and the spring from a ball point pin. I played with several version until I got the action working consitantly. I slid this into an aluminum tube about 5/16” diameter and super glued the pin to the bolt at one end and the spring to the tube at the other and then glued the unit into a proper sized hole making sure that the face of the bolt was flush with the edge of the lid. The tube ensures that the spring slides smoothly in and out. This was slow and tedious! This hole was bored through the body at the same time with the lid closed and taped in place.
I then bored the larger recess for the brooch using a 1 3/4” forstener bit and went almost all the way through the body leaving about 1/8’’. These magnets are strong but I still needed to cover the recess with veneer and also the back of the brooch with the same to hide everything, and needed to be certain that the magnet would overpower the spring._
I next made the round part of the jewelry by cutting the paduak base using a hole saw that was a little too big and ran a bolt through it and chucked it in the drill press and got it down to size slowly with a sanding block. The arrow would be in the way of turning so I then glued on the palmwood and strips of maple and wenge, carefully spacing it all with the arrow covered in tape. I then spun that all together by glueing it to another block with the bolt attached to it so I could cut it apart on the bandsaw and not trap the bolt.
I then shaped and fitted the arrow and glued it in. Simple :-)
Now you all know that I dont own a lathe.

I used:

Lid panel- figured myrtlewood, black palm edge grain, bloodwood, wenge and maple stripes, brass,copper,aluminum tubing inserts.

Corner splines- cherry, bloodwood, walnut

Brooch- black palm end grain, bloodwood arrow bordered with maple and wenge,
Mounted on a base of paduak

I painted the recess for the brooch black because I couldnt clean up the cut without getting it out of round.

Finish-Deft lacquer

I am adding additional photos to clarify some details.

Lid with pin

Recess in body to receive pin. The lid with the spring and pin is in the foreground.

This shows how the pin is pulled out of the lid by the brooch, you can see the spring.

The back of the brooch, the magnet is covered by maple veneer.

This is the backer for the brooch to be worn on a sweater, coat, etc. This goes on the inside and sticks to the back of the brooch. This bloodwood is a very thin slice to hide the magnet.



-- If I can do it, so can you.

103 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2400 posts in 3890 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 08:48 PM

Okay so I’m first to say “WOW”!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View ohwoodeye's profile


2602 posts in 4210 days

#2 posted 01-31-2013 08:49 PM

It appears that we have a winner.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4634 days

#3 posted 01-31-2013 08:53 PM

Andy your work is always amazing .Your designs are way cool and your craftsmanship always is superb.
This box an it’s brooch key is beyond most folks wildest imagination .Great Great job.


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4365 days

#4 posted 01-31-2013 08:57 PM

Very nice design Andy…! your work is excellent as always.
I like your idea of a magnetic key to open the box. Does the box stay locked or unlocked when the brooch it off?

View gashley's profile


121 posts in 4063 days

#5 posted 01-31-2013 08:58 PM

That’s very cool Andy. How does the lid open up? Do you have to press on the back of the lid to get it to pivot up since there’s no handle? Or did you springload it to pop it up a little to gain a fingerhold?
Will be interested to see how your setup works when you have time to post it.

And many thanks to you for sharing all your ideas. I think I’ve made about 8 of these sculpted boxes in the last year for gifts. So many that I’ve worn the bearings out in my random orbit sander from using it on it’s edge so much.

-- Gary in OP

View exterminate's profile


136 posts in 3084 days

#6 posted 01-31-2013 09:01 PM

WOW – I am amazed. Beautiful work and craftmanship, The broach itself looks like somthing out of Star Trek. So cool!

-- Albert Einstein - "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right."

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

520 posts in 4187 days

#7 posted 01-31-2013 09:04 PM

Wow! A beautiful box Andy. The colors are perfect together.

-- Dale, Ohio

View shopmania's profile


702 posts in 4239 days

#8 posted 01-31-2013 09:09 PM

Awesome job! I second the Star Trek comment. Very Futuristic!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, [email protected] Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View gbear's profile


540 posts in 5156 days

#9 posted 01-31-2013 09:10 PM

And the winner is…broach box. Another stunning box Andy!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4391 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 09:17 PM

Very original and art too. More great work from the maestro.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3654 days

#11 posted 01-31-2013 09:34 PM

Andy: You really outdid yourself with this design. I like the black palm in the brooch/key. I bought two pieces of black palm and was unsure how it would finish, but looking at yours it looks great. You have my vote!

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Granddaddy1's profile


182 posts in 3258 days

#12 posted 01-31-2013 09:36 PM

Beautiful. Wow!

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4360 days

#13 posted 01-31-2013 09:37 PM

well Andy everyone has said it, my comment is this is a home run..i think its great that you have the designing ability to make art, your boxes and this broach are absolutely beautiful , when you post, i know i wont be disappointed..congrats on a beautiful build..its and AAAAA+ post

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View cwdance1's profile


1163 posts in 4316 days

#14 posted 01-31-2013 09:44 PM

Once again you have out done yourself, if that is possible. Wow!!!

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3230 days

#15 posted 01-31-2013 09:45 PM

Nicely done.

-- "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"

showing 1 through 15 of 103 comments

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