Keep Sake Box

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Project by RJones posted 07-31-2007 03:58 AM 4066 views 10 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I must say when Martin first posted this challenge I thought he was a little crazy! Just how and the heck can you build much of anything without glue and fasteners? Humm well at first I really had no intention on entering anything as I had really no idea what I could build if anything at all. However for weeks I just couldn’t let the thought go and well I am happy to say oddly enough thank god for traffic?? Some people talk on the phone or text their friends but this wood geek designs his LJ challenge. No I was drafting while driving but I did run over numerous ways to build just about anything with out glue or fasteners and if I had more time I surely would have but… without further rambling here’s my creation. Constructed mainly from scraps around the garage Cocobolo (hinges), Kingwood (feet), Walnut (pins) Soft Maple (sides) and curly maple for the top this small box measures 6”W x 5”H x 9”L. The sides are ½” in thickness where as the top and bottom are 3/8”. The sides utilize through dovetails to ensure the book matched, sliding dovetailed top stays tight where as the bottom is one solid piece. The feet use what I believe you call a fox tenon?? and are made of Kingwood turned from a pen blank. I must say that my extent of thoughts on grain direction have been primarily for esthetic reasons but it became clear that not thinking now would turn my wedge into a log splitterL I needed to be sure my cuts and wedges stayed perpendicular to each other or else! Anyways, once the bottom was assembled I could now move on to assembling the box as it would be tough to clean up the tenons inside the boxL I assembled the box using clamps to ensure the best fit possible and then while clamped I drill and inserted the walnut pins. I trimmed and cleaned up the remaining pins, finish sanded the entire box and moved on to the band saw where I separated the top from the bottom. My next step was to cut dados for the hinges and then machine the Cocobolo to fit the dados. At this point I used some 1/8” dowel to secure the hinges and 3/16” dowel to use as a hinge for the top. Next I used a “T” slot cutter in my router to make room for the 3/16” dowel and rounded the back and bottom with a 3/8 radius bit to allow the top to open, whewww almost done…Now the only step left was to create some sort of handle but unfortunately I still needed to get started on the finish and well I was running out of time so after a couple minutes of thinking?? I came up with using a cove bit to create a small recess.

Are we finished yet??
Thank god something easy! Lighted sanded with 220 then wiped on 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal to help bring out the curl in the top.

On a side note, while test fitting I actually fractured a portion of the right side and wanted so bad to glue it but… what the heck I stabbed an additional walnut pin in there and viola!

I must say this has been one of the most rewarding and eye opening projects I have taking on in a very long time and look forward to the next!


BTW for anyone that’s interested I hope to have the plans completed in the next couple of daysJ


26 comments so far

View RJones's profile


316 posts in 4119 days

#1 posted 07-31-2007 04:15 AM

Here’s the process
Getting started with the bottom

Adding the wedges to the tenons

Sliding dovetail for book matched top

All the pieces ready for assembly. I had to plunge the ploughs and dados so they wouldn’t show through

Almost ready to pin

I added the clamps so I could sure the joints stayed tight while I added the pins

Pins added

Ready to separate the top from the bottom

Pinning the bottom of the hinges

Oops I actually cracked this area when I mocked it up the first time, oh well nothing another pin didn’t fix:)



View john's profile


2370 posts in 4345 days

#2 posted 07-31-2007 04:21 AM

Very nice work Ron
I love how you did the corners and them hinges are slick.
Beautiful job.

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3952 days

#3 posted 07-31-2007 04:27 AM

Very elegant box. Crisp and clean.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View RJones's profile


316 posts in 4119 days

#4 posted 07-31-2007 04:31 AM

Thanks guys, I really would to have loved to done more but I got busy with other stuff so… this was nonetheless fun and of course I learned a bunch:)


View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4270 days

#5 posted 07-31-2007 04:32 AM

Very impressive. Good luck.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4141 days

#6 posted 07-31-2007 05:11 AM

Ron, this is a beautiful box and you know what I say about small wooden boxes, I just love them! I particularly like the feet and hinges. Very original.

Thanks for the extra photo’s – they make your project very easy to follow.

Best wishes.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View whit's profile


246 posts in 3941 days

#7 posted 07-31-2007 05:15 AM


I’m impressed! Well done.


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4041 days

#8 posted 07-31-2007 05:30 AM

Ron, excellent workmanship. Nice presentation. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4040 days

#9 posted 07-31-2007 06:21 AM

Wow! What a finish! I like how you turned your mistake into a beatiful addition for a unique look!
I am looking forward to the plans!

Your simple elegance is superb!

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3943 days

#10 posted 07-31-2007 11:36 AM


BEAUTIFUL work. Very creative and very crisp execution of the joinery.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4275 days

#11 posted 07-31-2007 01:38 PM

Great looking box and the pictures of the process was nicely done. The judges have their work cut out for them and a tough job it is going to be.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3958 days

#12 posted 07-31-2007 02:43 PM

Very beautiful, elegant, and yet complex box. Isn’t it amazing how complicated even a small box can be? Your pictures and explanation are very instructive for many of us. Thanks a lot!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4049 days

#13 posted 07-31-2007 02:51 PM

Beautiful Box…you did an outstanding job. very good jointery and you made a wonderfull recovery when faced with a problem like a cracked board.

Don, I am now becoming more like you….I like these boxes…I think I may have to give up my “Table Thing”

Great work and God Bless.


-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View RJones's profile


316 posts in 4119 days

#14 posted 07-31-2007 03:38 PM

Thanks so much for all the kind words:) Based on all your comments it appears that it may have been actually a good thing I didn’t have more time as I probably would have needlessly added things that weren’t needed. I guess this is a “less is more” situation? Thanks again guys for all the support:)


View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4000 days

#15 posted 07-31-2007 06:45 PM

Great box, Ron! I really appreciate you taking the time to document the process! Really nice! I need to try and make a box!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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