KT's Box - My first real project

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Project by Jeff posted 04-06-2007 06:58 AM 4681 views 3 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the ‘jewelry’ box I was working on and made reference to in my blog about neighbors that don’t like woodworking. Unfortunately, it is still not complete because I’m debating a do-over of the lid. In my ignorance, I executed an ill-conceived design. That said, it’s square in the horizontal plane but I did not allow (or know to) the movement of the wood. Thus there is a bad gap of about a 16th of an inch between the ‘insert’ and the lid frame. You can see in the overhead shot. My perfectionist side wants to do it over but my more rational half (KT) has sworn to my face she will beat me if I do. She loves it as it is. A smart man will stop here and put the finish and hardware on. I’m dumb but not stupid so I guess I’ll finish it as soon as the weather warms up.

Lessons learned:
1) Use miter joints in the corners instead of the ‘reverse breadboard’ approach I used;
2) Measure the moisture content and account for wood movement OR don’t mill the stock in the most humid part of the season;
3) make sure you don’t overclamp and force your work out of square in the vertical plane;
4) how to make a finger/box joint jig and cut them ‘close enough’ to assemble a box that doesn’t look too ridiculous;
5) how to use my low angle block plane to fair up the fingers;
6) how to use my low angle block plane to mess up an already well-planed surface thus forcing more sanding than one should need to do.

Thanks for looking and I honestly welcome your constructive criticism as that is the only way I can improve.

The woods used are Curly Maple and Padauk. The rough dimensions are 10×6 x 3.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

34 comments so far

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5468 days

#1 posted 04-06-2007 07:44 AM

Beautiful box. I’m glad you were able to overcome and finish it. As far as constructive criticism goes, it looks like you’ve already listed lessons learned.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5318 days

#2 posted 04-06-2007 11:24 AM

it’s beautiful and you are right to listen to the boss! Don’t touch it… but then I do have a suggestion that I think she might like ;)

Just sprinkle some diamond dust into that gap :D

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 5343 days

#3 posted 04-06-2007 12:20 PM

Very fine box Jeff. I’m with KT on this. That’s what makes your box a heirloom. It’s handmade and one of a kind.

Excellent job, you should be quite proud of! Thanks for sharing.

-- Jimmy

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5375 days

#4 posted 04-06-2007 02:31 PM

We’re not perfect and neither is wood. Leave it alone. Very nice box!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5254 days

#5 posted 04-06-2007 02:50 PM

Perfect or not it is pretty.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 5331 days

#6 posted 04-06-2007 02:58 PM

I’m a little confused as to what you’re calling “reversed breadboard joints”...

Do you mean the box joints (or finger joints) you used for the box frame? Or are you talking about your lid construction? I think the box joints are well-executed; they look uniform and well-fitted, the two big things I look for in box joints.

I think your frame and panel construction is good, as well as your choice of woods. I think sometimes people try to use too many different kinds of wood or they’ll use wood with just too much going on. You’re on the right track.

How did you arrive at your dimensions? If you haven’t heard of it, do a Google search on the Golden Rectangle or the Golden Ratio. It is basically the mathematic rule for the pleasing dimensions found in nature. The 6×10 is pretty close to it, but sometimes it is amazing how very subtle differences will give your piece that little extra push it needs (Golden Ratio would be 6:9.7 (6×9 3/4 would suffice).

Another Suggestion:
It looks like you used about 50% Padauk and 50% Maple. I would suggest using a higher percentage of one kind of wood and then make the other wood the accent piece.

For example, in your next piece, use the straight grain of the Padauk for the box sides and the lid frame, but then use a really figured piece of the curly maple for the panel in the lid. Then find another way to use the curly maple as an accent, like making a lid pull/lift or inlay a simple shape in the front or the sides.

(At the very least, I’d consider always using straight-grained wood (quarter-sawn or rift-sawn) for frames and then using the figured wood (in cabinetry, it would be the cathedral-grained wood) for the panel.

I think your first real project turned out great, Jeff. Keep at it!

-- Ethan,

View Larry's profile


200 posts in 5369 days

#7 posted 04-06-2007 03:52 PM

Very nice – I have got to try something like that.
Just sprinkle some diamond dust into that gap – as stated by Debbie – my wife read this and said – heck – forget the diamnod dust and just put a diamond inside of the box .


WOMEN???? go figure

-- "Have you hugged your pet today?" ---------- Larry

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5250 days

#8 posted 04-06-2007 08:42 PM

Hey Jeff… WOW! That is really terrific. No critique here, sorry. As you saw on my projects, I really like contrasting wood like that and yours turned out beautifully. And the finger joints look perfect! Don’t be so hard on yourself man! Has anyone in here produced the “perfect” piece? I don’t think so. Just enjoy, thanks a lot for sharing and keep it coming please.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5318 days

#9 posted 04-06-2007 10:35 PM

lots of good information Ethan. Thanks. I’ll keep those tidbits in mind

(Larry: Men! )

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5251 days

#10 posted 04-06-2007 11:16 PM

Thanks! Great feedback and comments. I have to cut out for the rest of the day but will address questions tomorrow. I echo Debbie, Ethan.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5251 days

#11 posted 04-07-2007 04:38 PM

Ethan – I was talking about the lid and I guess I was thinking about how the wood movement would have better been accounted for by that approach. I didn’t think about it as a frame and panel construction and now that you have said that, it does seem to be the more accurate description. When I designed this though, I wanted to accentuate the length and that visual aspect drove the way I made the lid. I am familiar with the Golden Ratio as I was a Graphic Designer for about 8 years. The usage of it is part of my ‘eye’ now I suppose. Diminsion correction: 12×7 x 3 5/8 – still pretty close to the ratio.

I’m pretty proud of the wood choice and the finger joints. I love visual joinery and the finger joint, I thought, would be good practice and appeals to my perfectionist side.

I’ve made a decision about how to try to fix gap in the lid. I measured the gap with my new caliper that KT gave me for Christmas (yes, she is the best) and it comes in at 1/32. I’ve tuned my saw pretty well and I have good a Woodworker II blade on it so I’m going to try and sneak up on a couple of 1/64 slivers to fill the gaps on both sides. Should be fun…

Ethan, I bought some really figured maple a while back that will be used in my next box lid for sure.

Thanks again for your encouragement, everyone!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5404 days

#12 posted 04-07-2007 09:21 PM

Nice tight joints caliper, very nice looking box. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Rich's profile


3 posts in 5223 days

#13 posted 04-08-2007 10:47 PM

Very nice. Glad to see it finally. Can’t wait to see what you make next. And thanks for letting me know about this site too!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5457 days

#14 posted 04-08-2007 11:30 PM

I think it looks great.
A way you could cover up that gap is to rabbet out the perimeter of the lid, or the botom, & glue in an accent piece. I think that would hide it for you

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5558 days

#15 posted 04-09-2007 02:19 AM

Great looking box. I’m kind of with Dennis on the ratio of accent wood to base wood. maybe smaller maple around the edges of the lid and more padauk or a line of Padauk imbedded within the maple toward the front and back. kind of like railroad tracks. It forces the eyes to focus on something.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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