African Mahogany and Walnut Box - Box Swap 2014

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Project by Mark Kornell posted 10-26-2014 11:31 PM 4890 views 6 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s the box I did for the box swap:

Made from African mahogany and walnut, with a bit of wenge. I’ve had this piece of mahogany kicking around for 5 years or so, waiting for a suitable project. Not that there’s anything really special about African mahogany, but I didn’t want to throw it out. This swap came along and it happens to be a perfect size. It started as a piece 8/4 thick which I bandsawed into three planks. Allowing for sawing and planing losses, I was easily able to get three planks at 1/2” thick.

Straightforward finger joint construction for the main part of the box.

The bottom of the box is an inset panel. The wenge stripes looks cool, but exist purely because the piece of mahogany was too narrow to form the bottom on its own and I didn’t want to shorten the short sides.

The top is made from walnut.

The arch of the top was done with a couple of my hand planes. Project like this are great excuses to practise shaping a curve by hand and eye. Deliberately not shaped to match the profile of the side.

I’ve had the design for the handle kicking around in my head for months and finally got to try it out. Started with a piece about 1” x 1” in cross section and cut out the shape using cabriole leg-style technique on the bandsaw. A bit tricky due to the small size, but doable. After making the 4 cuts, it was sandpaper to smooth it out and radius the edges. I probably put as much time into the handle as I did on the rest of the box.

And finally, a “wet” image.

The pieces immediately after the second (of two) coats of tung oil. It really brings out the chatoyance of the QS ribbon grain of the mahogany.

After the oil had dried, I gave it a coat of wax. Doesn’t add any protection, but sure makes it feel nice.

(Hey! You can see pieces from my bathroom vanity rebuild in that last pic)

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

11 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


3996 posts in 1826 days

#1 posted 10-26-2014 11:54 PM

That is one FINE looking piece of work. Love the whole build but that handle is really unique. “Customers” don’t have any idea what goes into making a handle like that. Great job!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View webegone's profile


12 posts in 1147 days

#2 posted 10-27-2014 12:08 AM

Great looking box. Agree about the handle really like not only the way it looks but also the placement. The mahogany and walnut go good together

View RoadHogg's profile


124 posts in 1345 days

#3 posted 10-27-2014 12:16 AM

That’s really beautiful, Mark!

-- "The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first, and then the lessons" -- Robert Lang,

View Northwest29's profile


1469 posts in 1908 days

#4 posted 10-27-2014 12:32 AM

Beautiful combination of woods and love the unique handle. Nicely done.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1488 days

#5 posted 10-27-2014 12:48 AM

Guess who the lucky winner of this beauty was? Me! The box swap was super fun and I will treasure this box for life. Thanks brother!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1012 days

#6 posted 10-27-2014 08:10 AM

I got a really cool box in this swap. Top is made from a charred piece of French oak from a whiskey barrel. Nice clean lines, great finish. Post Office took 15 days to deliver a priority package. During that time the box must have been run over. The box inside survived with only a little damage and has been repaired….looks great.

USPS has got to go out of business. UPS and FedEx can do a better job….cheaper, faster and more reliable. There isn’t anything that public industry can’t do better than the government. Look what we got after 200 years of practice.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 1591 days

#7 posted 10-27-2014 09:32 PM

The mahogany and walnut look great! Excellent craftsmanship

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View jeffswildwood's profile


1286 posts in 1395 days

#8 posted 10-27-2014 11:43 PM

Now that is very much a remarkable box. I like everything about it. Box whisperer, I bet you were excited when you opened this one. I bet that handle really was tough to get right. There have been some beautiful boxes come out of this swap. Glad to be a part of it.

wrangler, I’m glad your box is all repaired and together. I bet it is beautiful. Love to see pics.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way thats says "I meant to do that".

View ShaneA's profile


6415 posts in 2016 days

#9 posted 10-28-2014 01:29 AM

Really cool. The lid handle is a sweet design.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1057 posts in 1948 days

#10 posted 10-28-2014 01:34 AM

Thank you all for your kind comments. I don’t make a lot of boxes but they are very satisfying projects.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View yepitswood's profile


3 posts in 723 days

#11 posted 12-01-2014 10:56 AM

Very nice project. I thought it was a toolbox at first when you showed me! I have a flimsy plastic toolbox from harbor freight and when I saw this box I thought, “I could put my tools in that”.

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