Ambrosia Maple Box

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Project by CharlieM1958 posted 08-22-2007 03:39 PM 3882 views 12 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been having a couple pieces of 3/8 ambrosia maple hanging around the shop, and I finally decided to put them to use. I usually like to dovetail my box corners, but since this was pretty thin stock, I decided to do miters.

As a surprise bonus, a few coats of wipe-on poly revealed a nice curl to the wood that wasn’t really visible on the unfinished boards.

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

43 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4027 days

#1 posted 08-22-2007 04:41 PM

Yowsir! That’s one beautiful box. The base is great, the top to sides joinery is splendid. And those crazy beetles made some wonderful changes to that curly maple. Can you share more construction details? Interior shots?
Charlie you are one of my favorite box-makers. And as some know, I like small wooden box-makers! (Small homage to Don!)

Speaking of Don, I imagine he will be along shortly. He will no doubt be all over this one!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 08-22-2007 04:56 PM

Thanks, Doug. Yeah, Don was the first person I thought of when I posted this one. <g>

My standard box-making techniques is to cut and join the four sides first. In this case I was able to wrap the grain artound the box to some degree. Then I glued on a top and bottom a bit oversized, and trimmed flush on the router table. Ont the top, I just finished with a 1/4” roundover bit. After that, I cut the box into two halves on the table saw. This makes for a good fit, but it always gives me the willies worrying about pinching the blade and having a kickback. Just in case, I always stand clear.

For the base, I started off with one piece of stock about 3/8×4 x 42. I ripped it down to 1 1/4”, then rounded it over on one side. Then I cut that into the four sides of the base, making sure my miters fit right. To make the scallops on the base symmetrical, I used double-stick tape to join the opposite sides, cut a rough design on my small bandsaw, and touched it up with a sanding drum in the drill press.

Finally, I glued the base pieces on just high enough to cover the 3/8 thickness of the box bottom. After about 4 coats of poly, I installed the hinges and catch.

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

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3960 days

#3 posted 08-22-2007 05:12 PM

Wow – what gorgeous wood and the box was just what it needed!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Gary's profile


1281 posts in 4288 days

#4 posted 08-22-2007 07:27 PM

How nice! What a great looking project. Really sweet.
If you don’t mind answering another detail question: where’d the catch come from?

-- Gary, Florida

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#5 posted 08-22-2007 07:57 PM

Thanks, Gary. The catch came from a place I found on the internet a while back..

I ordered an assortment of box hardware from them a while back because the prices seemed really good. The stuff is not the highest quality in the world (plated, and not extremely smooth), but good enough for most applications, and dirt cheap compared to Rockler and some of the other well-known sources.

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

View Mattie's profile


7 posts in 3915 days

#6 posted 08-22-2007 08:27 PM

I like that box a lot, looks great! Gives me some inspiration to work on some small boxes myself.

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3958 days

#7 posted 08-22-2007 09:13 PM


Beautiful work!

Super job! That wood is magnificent and the craftsmanship is great too.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#8 posted 08-22-2007 09:18 PM

Ha,ha! Thanks, Tom, I think. :-)

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4210 days

#9 posted 08-23-2007 12:07 AM

Great box Charlie, I love small boxes too, you know. Never used to, but I’ve come to appreciate them more and more through Don. I think he appreciates a fine box too. Really though that is beautiful. I got to try one. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View NormiteLou's profile


36 posts in 3936 days

#10 posted 08-23-2007 02:57 AM

Nice box Charlie, I love the wood selection!

-- Normite Lou

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4089 days

#11 posted 08-23-2007 04:20 AM

Man Charlie! – thats a beautiful box! I love the proportions, and the craftsmanship is wonderful! – you are a craftsman my friend!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#12 posted 08-23-2007 04:34 AM

Thanks, guys.

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

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#13 posted 08-23-2007 05:01 AM


I’ve heard of people using Hot melt glue to put in the saw cut as you go around the box to cut off the lid. That keeps it from pinching as you get to the final cut.

Some great Ambrosia maple. I gave a bunch to Greg3G when he was here. All 1/4” stuff that I resawed and i had left over from a kitchen that I made for my wife.

Everyone says that you should have one favorite board, I’ve got one that is the most beautiful tiger, Ambrosia maple, and I can’t bear to cut it up.

I’ve heard some say make a “Your Favorite Board” table. That’s what I might do.

How much of that beautiful wood do you have?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4140 days

#14 posted 08-23-2007 05:13 AM

OK, guys, you know how much I love small wooden boxes; and who can blame me when we have beautiful creations like this one. Nice job, Charlie.

Now, can we look inside?

Do you have any concerns about wood movement with the top being glued to the top sides?

The box jewelry looks OK in the pictures, but if it’s plated, it sometimes take some time before pitting starts. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen at all. I came to the conclusion a few years back that purchasing high quality hinges, clasps and escutcheons was worth the extra money. I once gave a beautiful box to a friend and when I saw the pit marks on the hinges made the decision then to source Brusso hardware only.

Lovely work, Mate!

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

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4057 days

#15 posted 08-23-2007 05:24 AM

Great box, Charlie. Inspires me to make some more.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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