Walnut Jewelry Box

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Project by Ph1pps posted 04-06-2016 12:44 PM 1458 views 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made this for a friends wedding gift, asked if there was anything I could make her instead of buying a gift and she requested a jewelry box. First time making a box of this sort and I must admit it was a lot more work than i had anticipated but i feel it turned out well. Room for improvements and gained some valuable experience along the way. I am not sure how noticeable it is but I did used marquetry to put her first initial in the lid but although I my intent was to make it a little more customized for her I wanted it to be subtle so its the inlaid piece is also in walnut but played around with the grain to have it stand out slightly. Finished with multiple coats of 1# cut de-waxed orange shellac (first real time mixing my own so played it safe with just using more coats) and a couple topcoats of General Finishes Varnish.

Lessons learned:

-First time installing quadrant hinges, started making the template and got hasty thinking it would be faster by hand (limited time to use the router given the noise and coordinating with the wife since I avoid using it when the kids are asleep) and although they turned out alright I will definitely be using a template jig for the next time I install them.

-Wanted to run steel screws in the holes to pre-thread before the brass to prevent stripping but too small to be found at local hardware stores, but no time to go to the specialty places. Soap. Soap was invaluable and allowed the brass screws to go in like butter and only slightly stripped one but not badly enough to be noticeable or a problem.

-I hate the upholstery part, maybe because I really wanted to be done and was doing it at 1am when I had to be up for 5am, but the original idea was to have the entire inside of the tray compartments upholstered but ended up just doing the bottoms.

-I found the best filler for small cracks or voids was shellac and sawdust, I used just plain orange shellac from Lee Valley that I de-waxed myself. Also pretty effective at filling the grain on the walnut by sanding in between each coat at 220 and leaving the sanding dust in the pores while applying a liberal coat of shellac with a pad.

-Hard to see in those photos but there is a bit of figure to the walnut and the shellac and water based varnish makes it pop nicely, after testing on some scraps I found that suited my tastes the best in terms of finish, also test BLO+oil varnish, shellac+paste wax, shellac+oil varnish.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

2 comments so far

View MrLaughingbrook's profile


155 posts in 2201 days

#1 posted 04-06-2016 07:43 PM


Very nice. I like the top. Would you share some detail about how the top panel is joined to the case? I’d like to try same.

-- MrLaughingbrook

View Ph1pps's profile


16 posts in 1743 days

#2 posted 04-06-2016 08:54 PM

The top is 3/8” birch plywood with walnut veneer laminated on top. I rabbeted the sides to accept the plywood for the top and bottom. After gluing it up i sanded the top smooth and flat, as well as filling any gaps between the plywood and sides so that the imperfections wouldn’t telescope through the veneer. Then taking my piece of veneer that was slightly larger than the top, which i had already done the marquetry with the ‘A’ initial, i applied a liberal coat of titebond original diluted with 10% water using a foam brush to the top of the box and to the veneer separately. You can apply a coat of dewaxed shellac to the veneer if you like which helps prevent the veneer from curling when the glue wets it but my veneer happened to be fairly thick compared to most veneer so i got away without it. Then i let the glue dry completely, i am impatient and use a hair drier or heat gun to speed it up, i take a clothes iron and iron on the veneer to the box top using a cotton heat setting starting from the middle and working outwards to the edge paying attention to any spots that may appear to bubble or not stick like along the edge. Also be careful not to burn the veneer by leaving the iron in one spot too long. Then trim the excess along the edges, i use an exacto knife with multiple passes but a laminate trimmer bit in the router would also work or a veneer saw. Then examine along the edge again ironing as needed and then sand.

Hope that helps.

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