Handmade Jewellery Box #3: there's light at the end of the tunnel!

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Blog entry by Flemming posted 07-13-2010 10:38 PM 1586 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: nothing but trouble Part 3 of Handmade Jewellery Box series Part 4: a baby step into marquetry »

things were said, mistakes were made, but all in all I’m happy with the progress so far. The box is certainly not perfect, but it’s got a little bit of unexpected character now with all the mistakes i’ve had to fix, hahah ;) you’re allowed to be lucky sometimes.

ok, so here’s a post highlighting the major mistakes that were made along the way. The box has gotten to the point where I’m starting the marquetry for the top lid (see the last picture of the first blog). I’ll try my best to take as many pictures of the process as possible. This will be my first attempt at marquetry, and I’m not a “try before you buy” kind of guy.. I’m all in and going for it from the first shot. no doubt there will be a few good challenges along the way!

anyway, below are some more pictures of the process. and I’ll explain what’s going on and where the mistakes are.


Originally, the top lid was going to be solid mahogany, but after I cut it 1cm too short on one side, i decided to take it down on all sides and place an oak boarder 2cm wide. The picture above shows my attempt at cutting a miter joint into the oak by hand… on this particular day i shouldnt have been in the workshop at all and they turned out like crap. i decided to glue them to my mahogany lid anyway… and… well… regretted it. hahah!


after the glue was dry on the oak boarder, I couldnt live with the horrible look of things. The miter joints were off by some 5mm in places and it was definitely not eye-pleasing.. I was close to scrapping it and starting over, but opted to take the oak boarder in by 15mm on all sides and put a mahogany border on the outside around that. The picture above shows two sides of the outer mahogany border glueing. this is not the best way to do it I know, but I’m limited by the tools at my disposal.


After all 4 sides glued I took a picture of the worst miter joint of the oak boarder I had made. you can imagine how horrible it looked with another 15mm on there…


above is a close up of one of the other miter joints that wasnt as bad. Overall it was salvagable. certainly not ideal, but it’s no longer THAT noticable. and the mahogany miter joints I cut were MUCH better, lol.


here’s an overview of the top lid. all modifications complete and finished curving the edges, it’s ready for the marquetry :)


on to the box itself. the picture above shows the bottom piece, which also has an oak border. I’m filing down the sides to a straight angle, just to give some dimension to the box.


the picture above shows the “foot” of the box. after i chiselled out most of the material, i began filing it down and used a round file to round off and smooth the edges around the “feet”.


a closer view of the process of filing down the edges of the feet.


a look at the bottom after it’s finished and stained and drying :)

unfortunately, i didnt get any pictures of the process of shaping the large curve on the sides of the box. but there’s not much to it… some chisels, some sandpaper and A LOT of elbow grease. As I mentioned in the first entry, I wanted to inlay the strip in the box before I shaped it. the curves on the sides dip 5mm at their lowest point, so I had to cut the inlays quite wide before I set them in.


just another shot of the bottom :)


what my hands look like after a day in the workshop

I’ll try to chronicle my marquetry adventure as best as possible, but it’s difficult to remember to take pictures sometimes, lol. at least i can have the camera on the table while I try my hands at this. not so much sawdust ;)

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

8 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3496 days

#1 posted 07-13-2010 11:19 PM

This is coming along nicely and looks great, my Friend… Nice Work and Good Blog!!
You will, however, have to wash your hands before dinner… :)

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

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2928 days

#2 posted 07-14-2010 07:18 AM

It does look great!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 07-14-2010 11:07 AM

Your box is looking good Flemming. I like the way you are showing us the whole build with both the negative and positive aspects as you proceed. Most of us go through this with our projects, especially if they are original designs. I used to be frustrated by all my mistakes and redoing along the way. Later I learned to embrace the process because I learn so much from it and it constantly challenges my skills and what little creativity I possess. Looking forward to seeing how you handle the marquetry.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3036 days

#4 posted 07-14-2010 11:55 AM

Great box and I appreciate the the play by play.

View Flemming's profile


417 posts in 2891 days

#5 posted 07-14-2010 12:39 PM

Thanks for the support guys :) appreciate the positive words, motivates me a lot to keep going!

i forgot to mention that the feet were inspired by Coffee Table Box done by Daiku.

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3083 days

#6 posted 07-16-2010 02:37 AM

Hi Flemming,
It looks like you have come a long way now.
I’m just home from vecatiuon, so nothing new here.
Looks good, and gloves might be ‘handy’...

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#7 posted 07-16-2010 02:51 AM

looks real good. nice job on the legs. your fingers remind me what sweating with mahogany ends up looking like lol.

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

View Flemming's profile


417 posts in 2891 days

#8 posted 07-19-2010 12:57 AM

Mafe – gloves might indeed be handy :) my mom wasn’t happy when I sat down at the table… i couldnt get my hands clean that day, lol. I do use gloves sometimes, but they can be irritating because you cant “feel” anything.

PurpLev – Thanks :) appreciate it.

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

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