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Both of our kids got married this year (son in August, daughter in November) to wonderful spouses, and I (in consultation with my wife) built these keepsake boxes for them as wedding gifts. They're made of walnut and ambrosia maple, finished with boiled linseed oil and shellac. The hinges are Highpoint side rail hinges. (If you're interested in using these hinges but haven't used them before, I wrote a detailed tutorial about them.)

The genesis of these boxes was a sketch of Burritt Mansion, a historic house and now museum in the mountains in eastern Huntsville, that my wife and I bought over 30 years ago when we moved to the area. When we learned that my son and his fiancée chose Burritt as their wedding venue, my wife wanted to find some creative way to give them that sketch, and we eventually came up with the idea of integrating it into the inside lid of a keepsake box.

I designed the first box around that sketch. Its dimensions dictated the box's length (11 1/4") and width (8 3/4"), and some SketchUp work led us to the right height (3"). Those dimensions influenced the thickness of the sides (1/2") and top/bottom panels (3/8"). The top/bottom panels float in slots in the sides with their surfaces flush with the sides' edges.

We didn't have a historically significant sketch for my daughter and her fiancé's box, but we still wanted something equally meaningful. I was fortunate enough to be at their wedding venue (Cedar Grove Acres near Durham) on the day they chose it, and I used Picassa to convert one of the photos I took into a sketch. It shows them walking through a trellis leading into the meadow where they would later be married.

I wanted their boxes to share common elements like the sketches and the wood. I was even able to make the sides of both boxes from the same board. I like the idea of the boxes having a common origin, just like our kids.

I don't have illusions about the quality of my woodworking. I try to build functional pieces that are as beautiful as I can make them, but I don't see my pieces as being of heirloom or museum quality like many of the projects I see posted here. In this case, I hope these boxes outlive me and that one day, long after I'm gone, my kids will open them and think of their old dad, and remember that he loved them and was proud of them even though he didn't say it a dozen times a month like their mom did.

Sorry for getting so sentimental, but these boxes are very special to me. Thanks for looking.

Gallery

Comments

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The boxes look great. I really like the idea of a wedding keepsake box. Under the lid is a nice touch.
 

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Very nice! These look great, thanks for sharing the steps you took to make each special. Wonderfully thoughtful gifts.
 

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Ron, I like the looks of your boxes and the outline on the inside lid is a great touch. Well done. Excellent choice of wood colors that provide blend and contrast to the boxes. The hinges look neat and well done.

I think any woodworker worth his or her salt can sympathize with your wish that some of your work will live on with your children. Here's hoping these fine creations will be treasured through the ages.
 

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Nice workmanship, I also get a little emotional when I make something for family and friends.
 

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Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate them.
 

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Yes, those inner lids really make them special. A lot of thought went into these boxes!
 

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Awesome idea with the drawings in the box lids! Very nice looking boxes. You children will be proud. And will also think of you each time they open them.
 

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What a great and meaningful gift, these will surely become family heirlooms with a great story behind them. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Ron, Beautiful boxes and thanks for sharing. But thanks especially for your explanation of the drawing technique. Learning new techniques and getting new ideas are why most of us hang around websites like this. I appreciate that you shared some of your planning, rather than simply posting photos… of really great boxes.
 

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Moving items in shop constantly !! Always have something on bench
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Wow just saw these and each is very distinctive and well done. I am sure they will like treasure them
 

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Fantastic gift, they'll be cherished for a looooong time. Well done.
 

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Ron,

This is an absolute stunner!! Beautiful wood combination, Well Done!
 

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Ron, this is amazing. I Came across your post went I was looking to finish a name plate for my Dads office. I'm using Ambrosia Maple and Walnut that I got from Hobby Hardwoods. I'm a newbie to wood working and your post gives me inspiration. It looks like we are in the same area.
 

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Thanks again for the kind comments.

Ray: yes, I'm in Madison, and I bought the lumber for these boxes from Hobby Hardwood of Alabama. It's a great place run by great people; I just wish it were a bit closer and was open more days. Maybe one day it will be open all week.
 
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