Marquetry Boxes

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Project by mauibob posted 11-19-2015 03:36 PM 990 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a stash of claro walnut that I had always wanted to do something with, and with Christmas nearly around the corner, I thought of cranking out a few small marquetry boxes. These are 2 of the 4 that I made with the same flower design – the other 2 have a quilted maple background instead of the burl walnut seen on these boxes.

I also wanted to experiment with colored veneers, and I found the dyed koto to produce some knockout contrast, particularly against the burl.

The boxes themselves are made of claro, trays are made of maple with simple dovetail construction and with Japanese washi paper (my perennial favorite) for the linings. Finish is General Finishes Arm-R-Seal clear base followed by 4 layers of satin, lightly sanded between coats.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

14 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


7086 posts in 2218 days

#1 posted 11-19-2015 03:42 PM

Good looking boxes Bob.
The veneer/solid match is near perfect but I’ll bet the two with maple are equally impressive.
The marquetry is just right, simple but well executed. Nice shading!
What thickness is the dyed veneer?

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View mauibob's profile


226 posts in 2487 days

#2 posted 11-19-2015 04:18 PM

Thanks, Paul. The dyed veneer on these was around 0.6 mm (~ 3/128”). I stack cut a set of 4 of these with the 2 different backgrounds – burl walnut and quilted maple. I have a few additional designs that I’ve cranked out, and will post these when I get the corresponding boxes finished.

This one was pretty simple, roughly 45 pieces or so. The others are more elaborate, one with 110 pieces.

Hope all is well with you and yours!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2373 days

#3 posted 11-19-2015 05:01 PM

I like these a lot, but then I tend to like all your boxes. The claro works great with the marquetry. A big all-round “well done!”

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

View mauibob's profile


226 posts in 2487 days

#4 posted 11-19-2015 07:36 PM

Thanks, Roger. Positive comments from both you and Paul make my day!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2287 days

#5 posted 11-19-2015 08:31 PM

These are very nice. They are very interesting and creative.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View UncleStumpy's profile


707 posts in 1733 days

#6 posted 11-20-2015 05:27 AM

Masterful. Just wow.

-- "They don't want it perfect - they want it SPECIAL"

View Kiwib0y's profile


89 posts in 443 days

#7 posted 11-20-2015 06:11 AM

incredible looking box. my eyes don’t know which to look at first, the wonderful marquetry work or the awesome grain in the timber.

-- "It is only a silly question if it is not asked" Don,New Zealand

View david38's profile


2386 posts in 1763 days

#8 posted 11-20-2015 02:54 PM

beautiful work

View SteveGaskins's profile


621 posts in 2007 days

#9 posted 11-20-2015 03:04 PM

Impressive boxes, Bob. I love everything about them.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Woodenwizard's profile


1244 posts in 2463 days

#10 posted 11-20-2015 05:22 PM

Bob! These are very well done. I really like the shading. The pattern is simple enough that it does not clash with the background. It has motivated me to do some more marquetry.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View EarlS's profile


280 posts in 1768 days

#11 posted 11-21-2015 12:05 AM

I’m totally intimidated by marquetry work even though I would love to learn how to do it so I can make Harvey Ellis inlays for my Craftsman furniture. Where do I start the learning process??

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View mauibob's profile


226 posts in 2487 days

#12 posted 11-21-2015 01:47 AM

Earl, I’m the webmaster for the American Marquetry Society. Check out for some ideas on how to get started in marquetry. There are also several good DVDs around by folks such as Paul Schürch (, David Marks (, Robert Millard and others.
It may seem difficult, but like anything in woodworking, there are little tricks and techniques that make it doable by anyone. And, of course, the more you do it, the better you get!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 1318 days

#13 posted 11-22-2015 01:21 PM

Over-the-top great job!

-- --Dale Page

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4607 posts in 2456 days

#14 posted 11-22-2015 09:32 PM

Beautiful wood, good contrast, excellent work, Bob

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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