Cherry "Praying Mantis" Box!

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Project by SawdustyDan posted 03-08-2015 05:55 PM 1248 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, who doesn’t think the praying mantis is just the coolest bug in the world? So, imagine my surprise when I was slicing off some little slabs from a knotty cherry crotch piece and found THIS looking up at me!! !/4” in either direction and it would have never come out like this. I also noted the surrounding grain closely conformed to a heart shape. Ideas and visions galore!! When I first attempted to glue up a bookmatch, the grain just did not want to bond together. But, after carefully ripping it back apart, I tried and found it would adhere solidly to oak. It didn’t look ‘right’, so I ripped it again and added the strip of purpleheart. Not quite as aesthetically pleasing as a natural joined edge, but I think it works, despite the unconventional appearance.

That done, I set about building a box body to fit under it. I settled on walnut, because . . . walnut. I love it. I had lots of it, too. Thought about doing a heart-shape to match the lid. After I stopped chuckling at myself, I decided a triangle shape would work just as well. And be easier for me to build. I cut the rear and front wedge pieces over-thick, roughed them out to curves with my recently-acquired new/old Delta 14” band saw and smoothed the curves out with my Ridgid bench top oscillating spindle sander, after glue-up. I didn’t want to risk cracking the wood of the lid when I attached it, so I (shallowly!) dowelled and glued a small block onto it and attached the hinges to that. Success! Lots of judicious sanding and the surfaces of the body were silky smooth and the joints nearly invisible. Clear gloss poly finish, a few coats, and a nice green felt bottom liner completed the piece.

The colors are all natural. I very rarely use stain of any type, and usually only on oak. I feel blessed and very lucky to have found, in a chunk of throwaway wood, something this unique and beautiful. Yet another reason I love my hobby!

-- Sawdusty Dan - Bellevue, NE - "Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs should just relax and get used to it." Robert A. Heinlein

6 comments so far

View Mean_Dean's profile


6903 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 03-08-2015 07:14 PM

It’s amazing how much that really does look like a Praying Mantis! Both Mantis and box look great!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View isotope's profile


177 posts in 1830 days

#2 posted 03-08-2015 11:03 PM

Quite striking, I like it!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2895 days

#3 posted 03-09-2015 12:21 AM

Very cool. I’m not sure why the original glue joint didn’t work (maybe too much endgrain in the joint).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View SawdustyDan's profile


60 posts in 1382 days

#4 posted 03-09-2015 01:39 PM

gfadvm – I made this quite a few years ago, when I was motivated, but inexperienced. I managed to get some things right, back then, but if there was a new way to do it wrong – I’d be the one to find it! Not real sure why the glue-up failed (too much open grain? bad/not enough glue?, ...?), but it s what it is and I kinda like it.

Dean – that last pic was from when the wood was still green… ;-)

-- Sawdusty Dan - Bellevue, NE - "Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs should just relax and get used to it." Robert A. Heinlein

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3072 days

#5 posted 03-09-2015 01:47 PM

It’s very unusual and creative. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ignatz's profile


77 posts in 1457 days

#6 posted 05-07-2015 08:12 PM

Gorgeous box. I especially like the use of purpleheart!
However, a heart-shaped box might’ve been… terrifying!
Exhibit A:

-- "I have learned from my mistakes, and I am sure I can repeat them exactly" — Peter Cook

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