Honey Locust and Cherry Valet Box

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Project by Combo Prof posted 02-24-2016 11:22 PM 1394 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this in a hurry for my step brothers 60-th birthday. My first Valet box. I find Honey locust difficult to work with. It is difficult to get smooth and is very hard. However it sure looks good with a simple BLO and mineral spirits finish. I increased the number of hand tools used on this project and some (but not all) are shown. Someday I hope to make one of these entirely with hand tools.

Hinges did not go perfectly so lid is a little sprung, but closes tight under slight pressure. Its in the mail now to Fayetteville N.Y. I’ll get to see it again March 8 when I am in East Syracuse and see if I can correct it more.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

10 comments so far

View CFrye's profile


10550 posts in 2081 days

#1 posted 02-24-2016 11:34 PM

Nice, Don! I like the sliding tray. I’ve heard about locust, haven’t worked with any, yet. Did you finish it with sand paper or a scraper? Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

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Combo Prof

3746 posts in 1518 days

#2 posted 02-24-2016 11:39 PM

Thanks Candy. Mostly scraper, but yes I am ashamed to admit sandpaper too. See this project which I think came out better.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View Don W's profile

Don W

19050 posts in 2808 days

#3 posted 02-24-2016 11:57 PM

Nice work. What made you choose locust? It’s hard hard hard.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View theoldfart's profile


10310 posts in 2692 days

#4 posted 02-25-2016 12:06 AM

Well done Don. Joinery looks clean and precise. Maybe a picture of the lid closed when the site is working better?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Brit's profile


7609 posts in 3084 days

#5 posted 02-25-2016 12:38 AM

That’s a wonderful gift Don. I’m sure your step brother will appreciate it for many years to come. I agree with Kev, it would be nice to see a shot with the lid closed.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3746 posts in 1518 days

#6 posted 02-25-2016 02:24 AM

Thanks for the comments, but you caught me. I was not happy with how the lid fit, so hoped to avoid showing it. Picture is up now.

I stared at what I had dry in the shop and choose Honey locust. Probably should have used the white oak you sent me and almost did. I knew the honey locust would look good. it would look good. It is very hard at least this time I did not break a bit drilling the screw pilot holes. Came close I did, but I used flute bits so I could more easily pull them out when they inevitably get stuck. I had Honey locust in the shop, because the last time I drove past Bellforest I bought all they had left. I got deal. Even waxing the threads the screws were a pin to drive.

I’m a little proud of the sliding tray bottom. Thats made of Honey locust with a rabbeted edge that floats in a dado groove in the bottom of the tray.

My step oldest brother does a lot to take care of my Mother his stepmother so I wanted to make him something. By the way he heads the accounting department at Sticky furniture.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View terryR's profile


7468 posts in 2549 days

#7 posted 02-25-2016 03:59 AM

Oh yeah, very hard stuff, Don. Looks like you did a fine job!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Boxguy's profile


2780 posts in 2508 days

#8 posted 02-25-2016 05:34 AM

Don, nice work here. I like the shape and design. The lined sliding tray is a nice touch. I like cherry or eucalyptus with locust. Our local locust trees have wood with a yellowish cast. It is a hard wood, but hard woods do yield a slick finish. This will show you what I mean.

You may have done this, but if you space the rails for your tray up 1/8 inch from the bottom before you fasten them in, it give you a little space to put your liner cloth or leather liner material, and it is easy to put the liner in with that extra wiggle room to work with.

Two tips about the alignment of the top and the bottom. I sand a small chamfer onto the top and bottom edges with a few hand rubbed passes of rough sandpaper followed by a few passes with smoother paper.

I was going to insert an image, but the system isn’t working.

This is risky and won’t work with all hinges, but you can put a pencil or dowel between the top and bottom of the tight side of your crack near the back of the box and gently apply some pressure. Many hinges will bend just enough to even up the crack. I don’t know if your hinges will bend. You do risk ruining the box. I usually hold my breath when I do this. You also might try making sure all the screws on the wide side are tightened … or you could just live with a small imperfection.

-- Big Al in IN

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Combo Prof

3746 posts in 1518 days

#9 posted 02-25-2016 11:04 AM

Thanks, Al. I may try that. I did use bigger hinges then I was used to.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


8054 posts in 2284 days

#10 posted 02-25-2016 02:15 PM

Nice valet box. I don’t often see anyone building with honey locust. It’s such a beautiful wood and doesn’t get that much attention. I posted a patio cart last summer using honey locust that I re-sawed from logs. Great wood to use outdoors too. Very hard but worth it.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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