Mother's Day Parquet Till Box

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Project by TheCaver posted 05-10-2009 09:28 PM 2532 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this box (finished just in time!) based on an article in FWW (though that article needs some work! There are dozens of pitfalls that were not mentioned in the article, the biggest of which some major binding steps being off). Regardless, I modified the dimensions and sizes of everything to fit my needs anyway.

There are over 270 individual parts in this box so it was the most complicated build thus far, way more so than my recent Federal Table. I made the 1/16” parquet veneer from quartered Ash alternating grain direction as well as dark/light sections of the log. Cutting the 1.5 inch log down into the 25 strips I needed was challenging on my Delta contractor saw….A full cabinet saw would have made this a LOT easier.

Next, the strips were glued up into panels and scraped flat on the glue side then set aside while the main box was constructed. The main box is dado and rabbeted together from 1/4 poplar with 1/4 ply tops and bottoms glued into place for rigidity. Once dry, I cut the lid free making careful measurements to account for the binding. This was a spot where the article was screwed up. He just cut right into the veneer to make up for the binding. I did not want to have my outer squares cut short, so I accounted for the rabbets during this step, which made it a bit more complicated.

The veneer panels were then glued into place making sure that the top and lower case pieces were aligned. When dry, I cut the corner rabbets and inserted the banding. Flushed up to top and bottom, I cut the upper and lower rabbets and hand mitered the 32 corner pieces! I thought this part would never end. This is also about the time I found out how bad working with bloodwood is. It forms nice, long, thin splinters that are razor sharp and the stuff is hard as a rock.

Once all of the bandings and bindings were dry, everything was flushed up with a block plane causing much tearout on the Ash. Normally, we’d be done now. But no, I built the till to provide more usable space in the box and it would also serve as registration for the top and bottom….It was built a little oversize and planed down to a piston fit.

More bloodwood was glued onto the tray’s top and bottom. Since this was interior, I used the tablesaw to miter the corners….Next, right below the top binding, I cut a 1/8 in deep groove to accept the ledger and miterered that into place. With the tray in place and the top on, I planed the ledger flush with the box sides.

Much sanding followed, then some Tung oil varnish and a steel wool waxing.

It was good experience but with this many parts, small variations add up quickly….it will be a long time before I do another one like this….


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

13 comments so far

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3613 days

#1 posted 05-10-2009 09:34 PM

This box is the biggest piece $$%^!! I can’t believe you would even fathom posting this here JC.

LOL. Very nice. You did a great job lining the squares up with the lid. I like the material choice as well. Good description too. Well Done Sir!

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#2 posted 05-10-2009 09:39 PM

Wow you got me Kolwdwkr.
Hey Jc this so cool I can’t believe how many hours it would take to make a very sophisticated box like this.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SheriDi's profile


145 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 05-10-2009 10:18 PM

Absolutely gorgeous.

-- A Veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is beyond honor

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3845 days

#4 posted 05-10-2009 10:49 PM

This is a gorgeous box. Thanks for the story behind it as well. Most of us would not have envisioned the complexity of the build to create a project like this. I am sure this was an invaluable learning experience. I am with Jim on this one. I cannot fathom the time it would take to produce this box.

Thanks for sharing the post and the construction process.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View robbinscabin's profile


313 posts in 3511 days

#5 posted 05-11-2009 01:32 AM

Beautiful work! My only question is: Was it made as a Mother’s Day gift? If so, how did the lady like it? I know I’d be mightly impressed if I received something that lovely…Although I like my gifts today just fine so no complaints from me! LOL.

-- Robbinscabin,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#6 posted 05-11-2009 02:54 AM

You’re a freakin’ masochist to build something like this, and a perfectionist to boot! (Is that too negative?)

Really great box, JC.

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

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3862 days

#7 posted 05-11-2009 03:08 AM

Hehe, you got that right Charlie, you know, I felt pretty good about this one, then, when I was laying on the veneer, I noticed that several of the squares had dark grain patches (like you see in the first pic). I thought they were just burn marks from the saw blade, but it turns out that they are just part of the wood. I was pretty upset to say the least :) I almost threw the thing in the trash…..And it still bothers me :)


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 05-11-2009 03:15 AM

JC, I liked the box so much the first time I saw it I didn’t even notice the marks you are refering to. Regardless, it’s beautiful. She will be very happy with this one.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#9 posted 05-13-2009 03:33 PM

Really nice box, difficult too. Maybe with those skills you should try your hand at guitar making. Keep em coming!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Griffindork's profile


44 posts in 3332 days

#10 posted 05-20-2009 12:32 AM

Great parquet, dont mind the dark spots one bit, thats wood for ya.

View SteveMI's profile


1101 posts in 3317 days

#11 posted 12-03-2009 10:23 PM

To start great box. Your banding color choice and additional row on the bottom really make it a step above the FWW box.

I had looked at the FWW article last night and had to think that some steps weren’t covered in the text or the pictures. And the book press sure seemed to be an important part of his process. It is apparent that his squares on the sides of his top are shorter than the bottom full squares.


View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3311 days

#12 posted 01-10-2010 05:19 PM

nice box

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3465 days

#13 posted 02-10-2010 06:13 PM


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