Small Ebony Tool Box

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Project by RogerBean posted 11-02-2014 04:23 PM 2474 views 7 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first of two fitted tool cases. It’s a small box, only 7×6” and 3” tall. The exterior is veneered in Macassar ebony with black edging and a decorative W/B/W line. The carcase is 3/8” Baltic birch ply. The dyed black boxwood edging was a gift from fellow LJ Randy Walton. Thanks Randy!

The tools inside consist of the shapely little Lie-Nielsen mini router plane, and the three different size cutting blades and the depth stop. It’s a precise and carefully crafted tool, and it looks right at home in a fitted box. Besides, I couldn’t imagine having all these little parts bouncing around the shop someplace.

While the Dremel with a Stewart-Macdonald router base is normally my weapon of choice for excavating inlays, there are times when it’s not ideal. Hence, this little router plane. (It can reach into sharp corners, for instance.)

The interior is veneered in amboyna burl. The fitted section (tray?) lifts out to reveal the original documents for the tools. The hinges are heavy extruded brass I purchased from a hardware store in Wales, UK. While they needed to be polished, they’re attractive, well made hinges – and perfect for this box.

The catch was purchased from Andrew Crawford, and is the same piece he uses on his beautiful flute cases. (Perhaps these are available here in the states somewhere, but I’ve not seen them.) I’ve had these in my hardware drawer for three or four years waiting for the right project, and here it is. The box is separated at the center line so the lid will lay flat and out of the way when it’s open.

The monogram is for me, of course, since these are my tools. It is made up of maple, ebony and cherry, cut on my chevalet, then assembled and inlaid into the completed lid. Thanks Paul for the cipher idea. I normally avoid personalizing my boxes, as it tends to reduce their future attractiveness. The finish is French polish over Liberon Spirit Sanding Sealer.

Thanks for looking in… No e-book on this one. It’s a relatively straightforward box, pretty much the same process described in the pepperwood burl box e-book at


PS: The second fitted tool box will be along soon. It houses my Steve Latta/Lie-Niesen inlaying tools. It should be completed in a week or so.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

27 comments so far

View dclark1943's profile


245 posts in 1608 days

#1 posted 11-02-2014 04:28 PM

Another beauty! great choice of materials, and a real classy looking box! Hope things are well in Shelbyville !

-- Dave, Kansas City

View Longcase's profile


60 posts in 867 days

#2 posted 11-02-2014 04:41 PM

Hi Roger, Very nice box indeed, the contrast between the Ebony and amboyna burl is quite striking.
Just one thing, I wouldn’t tell any Welshman that Wales is in England.
All the best

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16801 posts in 2526 days

#3 posted 11-02-2014 04:49 PM

WOW, Roger, That is an exquisite tool case!!!!!!!!!!Beautiful choice of wood!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2374 days

#4 posted 11-02-2014 04:50 PM

Good point. I fixed that.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View bigike's profile


4048 posts in 2709 days

#5 posted 11-02-2014 05:22 PM

Anothr great box never a dull lookin project with RB.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View hingeman's profile


51 posts in 2070 days

#6 posted 11-02-2014 05:31 PM

Hi, Roger – lovely little box, love the macassar ebony – I’m sure your Lie-Nielsen router plane is very happy in its new home – and beautifully done monogram.

It’s probably worth pointing out that in order that the two halves open flat the hinges should be fitted so the centres of their pins are just outside the vertical line of the back of the box – otherwise the surfaces of the back of the box meet when open.

All best, Andrew.

PS – Isn’t Canada in America?!

-- Andrew Crawford, Shropshire, UK

View mauibob's profile


226 posts in 2488 days

#7 posted 11-02-2014 05:35 PM

Great little box, Roger. My wife gave me the set of Steve Latta/Lie Nielsen inlay tools last Christmas, and I have been hating seeing them resting in their cardboard boxes. Your beautiful project has given me the incentive to add a little class to some already classy tools!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1733 days

#8 posted 11-02-2014 05:47 PM

Great box Roger. Just the place to safeguard special tools. I have some of those catches purchased from Andrew some years back. They are ideal for this type of box.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3639 days

#9 posted 11-02-2014 05:49 PM

When I saw the title, my first thought was that I could not imagine actually putting any tools in a Roger Bean box. Clicking on the link, the box that greeted me more than lived up to my high expectations!

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

View Mean_Dean's profile


4939 posts in 2568 days

#10 posted 11-02-2014 07:50 PM

Beautiful tool box!

-- Dean

View SteveGaskins's profile


621 posts in 2008 days

#11 posted 11-02-2014 07:57 PM

As always, Roger, exceptional build!

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View grizzman's profile


7781 posts in 2724 days

#12 posted 11-02-2014 08:20 PM

hello roger, its always a pleasure to see your work, your boxes are as beautiful as the wood you used, i love the details, the lines you put into your work always fits right in….i also have the same tool for doing inlay , i have a strong air pump that i hook onto mine , it blows the dust away in such a good way….thanks for sharing your work, your boxes always remind me of the old time ones i see from days gone by….......from england and france.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2755 days

#13 posted 11-02-2014 08:24 PM

If I owned this box I would probably want to keep it on the velvet and I would probably drop the candle as it can’t make this box look any better that it does on it’s own. Excellent work Roger and beautiful work with your new chevalet too. If I were a tool I couldn’t think of a better place to relax in my free time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mike1950's profile


359 posts in 1219 days

#14 posted 11-02-2014 09:25 PM


-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View Eyal's profile


82 posts in 987 days

#15 posted 11-02-2014 11:24 PM

Hi Roger,
The tool Box is stunning and a beautiful work of art. It is a nice variation of the pepper wood burl box, as you mentioned, and give one an idea of the alternative possibilities available in its creation.
The “sneak preview” of what the chevalet can accomplish only serves to whet the appetite for what is in store for us in the future.

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