Boxguy's Zebra Found Atop Persimmon

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Project by Boxguy posted 07-17-2013 07:08 PM 6344 views 26 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks, to all who take time to look at projects. I always enjoy reading and replying to questions and comments from you out there in Lumberland. I will respond to all who “have your say” in the next 24 hours. So check back for feedback.

Pictured: a cloth-lined jewelry keeper (9 X 6 X 6) who’s top was made from a Zebrawood tree that grew in Gabon, Africa. The sides are made from a 200 year old Persimmon tree that grew in an Indiana yard. (Hence the title) The corner splines are Wenge from a tree that grew in Congo, Africa. The Zebrawood and Wenge were scraps from a local veneer company and the Persimmon was blown over by Hurricane Ike’s tailwinds and sawn into planks by the owner.

I have had a string of questions lately about how I make the three part finger indents for my boxes. I composed a tutorial on making finger indents.

In my shop, I use a Jet bench top spindle sander with a modified top, but the tutorial will give you hints about how to do this with a simpler set-up like a drum sander in a drill press, two wood strips, and some masking tape. All the same principles apply.

Focus … Woods: It takes real effort to blend two or three woods into a box and have the colors go well together. In this box I wanted to emphasize the beauty of the Zebrawood scrap. So I made the box the size of the scrap I had. The Persimmon wood has a plainer grain; and while the color of Persimmon wood picks up the lighter streaks of the Zebrawood, it doesn’t take away from the complex grain and color of Zebrawood. In very old persimmon trees you will have some really black streaks. I choose to emphasize the black in the small tray and to pull out this color with the black Wenge splines in the box and the tray.

I seldom make a box using all one wood. There are two reasons for this. One, I like the look of contrast and blend in smaller projects like boxes. Two, since I work from scraps I often don’t have enough of the really special wood to make a whole box. If I did I probably would still make two or three boxes with the special wood (like the Zebrawood here) into more than one box. Keep boxing and keep posting.

See Below: For further tips on making boxes there are tutorials arranged by topics below. Just scroll and click.

Tutorials: For methods used to make a box like that pictured above just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic. The top topic on the list is new.

Adding finger indents:
Mortising and installing hinges:
Cutting off the box top:
Adding splines to a box:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
$5 band clamps:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Jig for 45ing corners:
Organizing a glue-up table:
Finishing tips:
Tips on making trays: for inside boxes:

-- Big Al in IN

33 comments so far

View Chad256's profile


131 posts in 3223 days

#1 posted 07-17-2013 07:14 PM

Absolutely stunning as usual! Keep up the great work and sharing it with us! I love that top!!

-- -- Chad -- T&C Woodworks

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 5406 days

#2 posted 07-17-2013 07:25 PM

Another example of fine art in box form. I just do not make enough time to work on the project already on the list . Then again I am in charge of my free time, so better do something about it. Keep em coming they are fantastic. I learn from each of them. Now off to work I go.

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8455 posts in 4690 days

#3 posted 07-17-2013 07:39 PM

I think the Zebrawood top makes this box extra specia, it’s just so nice! The contrast between the Persimmon and Zebrawood work well together and are very pleasing to the eye. I love the dark splines and how they match the dark lines in the Zebrawood. This is a very beautiful box and anyone would be proud to own this gem!
Nice work as usual Al. Thank you for sharing your work and thank you for all your tips and Tutorials

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View doubleDD's profile


10926 posts in 3380 days

#4 posted 07-17-2013 07:41 PM

Beautifully done. Thanks for sharing the great tips.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3604 days

#5 posted 07-17-2013 08:01 PM


Chad, thanks. Zebrawood is really beautiful stuff and fun to work with. I liked the “home tweet home” title.

Dave, I know what you mean about frustration and free time. I usually try to do a small fun project to get me over the funk and let me go back to the one that has become a job.

Tony, Nature did a great job on that Zebrawood. Thanks for the nice comment on the wood combination. I do sell boxes if anyone is interested.

Dave, I liked your turnings and cabinetry work they were nicely done. Thanks for the nice

-- Big Al in IN

View littlecope's profile


3136 posts in 4839 days

#6 posted 07-17-2013 08:08 PM

You sure do make a pretty box Al…
Great Wood selection, Perfect Technique = Another Excellent Box!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View captferd's profile


180 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 07-17-2013 08:26 PM


-- CaptFerd

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3779 days

#8 posted 07-17-2013 09:27 PM

Hi Al,

I was memorized looking at that first photo; you certainly showcased that beautiful piece of wood and did it justice. The box is beautiful as always. Outstanding!!!

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4521 days

#9 posted 07-17-2013 09:34 PM

That zebrawood is outstanding. I wish I had a local veneer company for scraps like that. Nice job.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4769 days

#10 posted 07-17-2013 09:49 PM

I love zebra wood… Al, you’re killin’ me with all these beautiful boxes… do you ever sleep???

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

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3510 days

#11 posted 07-17-2013 09:55 PM

That looks pretty cool and wood is outstanding! Well 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"

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3512 days

#12 posted 07-17-2013 10:00 PM

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! need i say more.
Thanks for all the information. Its always a pleasure to see another one of your boxes. I too learn every time you post something.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3604 days

#13 posted 07-17-2013 10:29 PM


Mike, thanks for the words of praise. I really like the list holder that you posted this week.

Ferd, good to hear from your again. Thanks for the comment. I liked the lefty guitar you posted recently. Nice work.

Randy, hope Texas is cooler than it is here today. Thanks for the photo compliment.

Bob, thanks. I think hardwood veneer plants are more plentiful here than they are in Colorado. Working for NOAA you will know why. I liked your sharpening station.

Ellen, good to hear from you again. Thanks for the compliment. In this heat I nap during the day and work at night. Are you selling stuff this summer?

Surf, thanks and Zebrawood is beautiful stuff. I liked your writing style in your last forum. Quit being so shy and post a project. If I can learn to do it anyone can.

Tom, thanks. I always try to contribute some hard-won knowledge with a post. Your label holder was fascinating. Did your wife take it to work or did you have to build a marimba to go with those sticks?

-- Big Al in IN

View jeffswildwood's profile


4989 posts in 3314 days

#14 posted 07-17-2013 11:21 PM

Another home run!! I really like this box. The more I see it, zebra wood is fast becoming my favorite! I hope to someday break from pine and poplar and move on to zebra. Thanks for all the super advice. using your hinge instructions I have a project in the works for me.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 3934 days

#15 posted 07-18-2013 01:11 AM

You have designed a wonderful box, and the grain is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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

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