A Birthday Gift - Only 2 months late

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Project by Aaron McCain posted 07-29-2013 07:51 PM 3033 views 14 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently finished a jewelry box for my wife’s birthday. The birthday was at the end of May, so I am only two months late. I did keep it hidden from her until her birthday, but then I showed her what I was working on. She then avoided my workbench after that because she didn’t want to see it until it was finished. She was quite pleased when I officially presented it to her this last weekend.

I followed the plans from the October 2005 issue of Wood Magazine. The main body and drawers are constructed from cherry and I used leopardwood for the legs and accents. The project went together pretty smoothly. I was pleased with the grain continuity I was able to maintain with the drawer fronts and around the main box. Unfortunately when I was taking pictures I forgot that the grain starts and ends at the front right corner, so you can’t see it. I will have to remember to start in one of the back corners in the future.

I thought I would also try a little personalization on this project and added the epoxy inlay on the upper corner of the inside of the lid. I carved out the letters and heart with a dremel and it was not as neat as I had hoped. I mixed some walnut dust with epoxy for the “A” and “C” and some maple dust with red paint and epoxy for the heart. My wife loves the detail and I learned a thing or two in the process.

I finished the box with a coat of BLO and allowed that to cure for a week. Then multiple coats of glossy polyurethane thinned with mineral spirits (per the Woodwhisperer) so I could wipe it on. The finishing process took about two weeks to complete and I did it all myself. Since it was a gift for my wife, I didn’t feel like I should ask her to help like she normally does.

16 comments so far

View Brice1's profile


108 posts in 3229 days

#1 posted 07-29-2013 08:52 PM

Aaron – nice work. Interesting design and nice finish. BTW – NEVER admit that the birthday gift is late… it’s early for next year!

-- Brice, Philadelphia

View Woodbridge's profile


3724 posts in 3299 days

#2 posted 07-29-2013 08:58 PM

beautiful work and a great looking box. I like the overall design and the continuous grain pattern on the front drawers.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3173 days

#3 posted 07-29-2013 09:17 PM

Very nicely done and most attractive!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Belg1960's profile


1118 posts in 3946 days

#4 posted 07-29-2013 09:30 PM

Real nice gift. I really like the shape. Could you tell me about the ratio for the mineral spirits/poly finish? Also did you sand between coats? Thanks Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Hammerthumb's profile


3073 posts in 2856 days

#5 posted 07-29-2013 09:58 PM

I need to show this to my wife so she knows I am not the only one! Very nice design. Well done.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

125 posts in 3720 days

#6 posted 07-29-2013 10:08 PM

@Belg1960 the ratio is 50/50. I watched a video that said to cut the poly with 50% mineral spirits. What does that mean? 1 part poly to 1 part spirits or 2 parts poly to 1 part spirits (50% of the poly volume). I tried the 2:1 first and it was still too thick to wipe on and get a smooth finish. So I added abit more spirits and it wiped on just dandy. I did sand between coats: 220 between the first two, then 320, then 400.

I am not sure why the instructions on the can say to not thin the product. The skeptic in me says it is so they sell more of their product. The optimist wonders if there is a real reason that may have a detrimental effect when it is thinned. The skeptic is winning out today.

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3917 days

#7 posted 07-30-2013 01:10 AM

Worth the wait!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 3263 days

#8 posted 07-30-2013 03:18 AM

A very nice piece. Well done.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Belg1960's profile


1118 posts in 3946 days

#9 posted 07-30-2013 11:34 AM

Aaron, thanks so much for the steps and recipe. When I used to watch one of the older woodworking shows they used to say to use a spit coat as a sanding sealer I’m guessing this has to be close to that? Or that may even be more deluded? Could you post a pic of the exploded view of the project or is that against the rules??

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 3362 days

#10 posted 07-30-2013 01:51 PM

Very Nice looking jewelry box. Well worth the wait. And now you know how much time it takes you to build a box and can get started sooner or something like that. You get the idea. My first two boxes took forever, like 14 months. The next one only needed a few weeks. My personal best really improved.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Sanding2day's profile


1016 posts in 2727 days

#11 posted 07-30-2013 05:24 PM

+1 Brice, Early for next year… Thinking you should get started on that one now as this jewelry box will be a challenge to top :) Maybe a whole vanity :P Great work, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View Ottacat's profile


520 posts in 2732 days

#12 posted 07-30-2013 07:17 PM

Beautifully done, very regal looking.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3571 days

#13 posted 07-31-2013 12:20 AM

I have always liked that design. Your wood combination and craftsmanship made this one extra nice.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View mbs's profile


1685 posts in 3821 days

#14 posted 07-31-2013 10:29 PM

Excellent proportions and choice of woods. I’m sure your wife loves it.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3224 days

#15 posted 07-31-2013 11:14 PM

I really like it

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