Dueling Jewelry Boxes

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Project by Lenny posted 07-25-2013 12:41 PM 2835 views 12 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are two jewelry boxes made for Jill and Lynn, two hand specialists that worked with me in rehabbing my injured fingers. The design for the boxes came from the October 2005 issue of Wood magazine, #165. There are a number of these posted on LJ already, indicating it was a popular project. I happened to see one posted by majeagle1 some time ago and made it a favorite. He made his from zebrawood and wenge and I liked the look of it.

Knowing that these would be nice jewelry boxes, I planned to make four of them with an eye towards selling the second two. I opted to make two from zebrawood and walnut and the other two from tiger maple and walnut. I have plenty of walnut and no wenge and saw it as a reasonable substitute. It’s interesting to me that several of those who posted this box referred to it as a straightforward and easy build. I did not find that to be the case. There are a lot of details and small pieces to make and assemble and overall, a good amount of work is involved. Perhaps the fact that I made four at one time factors into my perspective. Some LJs made this without the curve at the front of the lid and I feel it is a critical feature to the overall look of the box. I guess it complements the curved legs as well as the curves on the side of the lid. The upper compartment and the drawers are lined with felt. The drawer pulls are glued into a rabbet at the top of the drawer front. For a finish, I went with the recommendation of Wood magazine, boiled linseed oil and Deft semi-gloss spray lacquer. Not happy with feel of the surface at the end of the process, I lightly sanded with #0000 steel wool and added a coat of Watco Satin Finish Wax. The approximate dimensions of the boxes are 13-1/2” X 9” and 7” tall.

I learned a lot making these boxes. First, zebrawood is one expensive species! At my lumberyard the price is about $17.50/board foot. When they sent an e-mail to me showing it on sale for $10.50/board foot, I jumped at the opportunity and bought two boards. I also had some difficulty in planing some of it. Large sections of pieces broke off as they went through the planer. I never had that experience with any other species. It is a pretty attractive species in the raw but once you apply a finish to it, wow does it come to life. I was actually giddy the first time I saw the transformation.

Here is a photo of one box without finish and the other with the boiled linseed oil applied:

As for the Deft spray lacquer, it is a very convenient finish in that you can add coats after only 30 minutes. It is self-leveling and the can indicates no sanding necessary between coats. Here’s the down side, the fumes are very strong! Like much of the country, we were in a heat wave at the time I was applying the finish. Even with windows and doors open, the fumes persisted. Maybe if it were cooler out and perhaps with a breeze coming through the shop it might have been more bearable.

I had problems getting the felt to fit properly. I bought the felt as adhesive-backed sheets. After measuring and cutting the felt to size, I found that as you remove the backing, the felt stretches. Therefore it is no longer the size you cut.

All of that said, I am delighted with the outcome and more importantly, Jill and Lynn love them. I presented them to the ladies this morning:

Lastly, I want to comment again on how happy I am to be back in the shop making sawdust. Since returning about two months ago, I have completed about eight projects, four jewelry boxes, two tea boxes and two bow boxes. Here is a photo of the boxes in various stages of completion:

Thanks to my surgeon and caretakers like Jill and Lynn I am back enjoying my favorite pastime.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

34 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3132 posts in 4747 days

#1 posted 07-25-2013 12:47 PM

Awesome Job on these Lenny, and they look like they were very well-received!
Very Well Done!

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

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5067 days

#2 posted 07-25-2013 12:51 PM

Hey Lenny nice work on the boxes and especially the cause for your labor. I see you’ve come out swinging since you set back, enjoy the woodworking and take care…Blkcherry

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5126 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 01:06 PM

Wow, you are roaring back to life.
I could see how those are a bit of work. You done well.
And thanks for all of the blow by blow. Nice stuff to know.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4586 days

#4 posted 07-25-2013 01:15 PM


good to see
your hands and heart
are in top shape again

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Ottacat's profile


556 posts in 3096 days

#5 posted 07-25-2013 01:39 PM

Absolutely beautiful boxes and those smiles sure make it all worth it. I’m glad to hear you have recovered well and you certainly are making excellent work. I really like that plan and I’ll try and look it up and hopefully make one someday.

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 3189 days

#6 posted 07-25-2013 01:44 PM

I love the zebra wood. The boxes look great.

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 4231 days

#7 posted 07-25-2013 01:46 PM

Wow what a great array of beautiful boxes Lenny! The hard work especially with the zebra wood box really paid off. You’ve “hit the ground running” since getting back in the shop!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4820 days

#8 posted 07-25-2013 01:47 PM

From the looks of those smiles Lenny, I’d say you hit the nail right on the head.
Good job buddy !

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4288 days

#9 posted 07-25-2013 03:02 PM

Way to go Lenny. No stopping you now. Love the jewelry boxes. As impressive as the zebra wood is, I think I prefer the maple. I guess I am just a plain kind of guy. I too use the deft spray lacquer on some of my projects and even though the can says you don’t need to sand I still sand between coats. seems to help.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4893 days

#10 posted 07-25-2013 03:05 PM

looks like you’ve been busy in the shop Lenny – great outcome. the smiles one their faces tell the whole story more than words ever could.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4741 days

#11 posted 07-25-2013 03:43 PM

Beautiful boxes Lenny and it sure looks like you “made the day” for to lovely ladies!!

Keep up the good work and glad to see you back in the saddle again…

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3069 days

#12 posted 07-25-2013 03:45 PM

8 Beautiful boxes Lenny, they look great and the two ladies look totally thrilled with them…excellent job. I have only been an LJ a short while and am glad your back too and look forward to seeing more of your excellent work.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5224 days

#13 posted 07-25-2013 03:45 PM

You do beautiful work, Lenny!

Great design, too.

And Deft is a super easy finish to work with and get spectacular results.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4553 days

#14 posted 07-25-2013 04:47 PM

Very awesome boxes and some happy looking ladies that got them.
I like the Zebrawood. I don’t seem to see it recently at the lumberyards I usually go to.

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4677 days

#15 posted 07-25-2013 05:33 PM

Very nice, Lenny… love the smiles all around!

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

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