Walnut Jewelry Box

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Project by Plane & Simple Neil posted 12-23-2009 10:03 PM 2322 views 14 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just finished this jewelry box last month for my wife to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

The box is made of black walnut and was made at woodworking class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. I took the class for three reasons – firstly I liked the box and it made a good present, secondly it was a good chance to hang out with my mates in the evenings for a few weeks – and thirdly the class taught techniques on 6 key key machines – table saw, jointer, planer, router, drill press and bandsaw.

Since I have been taught in the past to do woodworking by hand, I didn’t have much experience using these tools and so it was very useful. We started with rough lumber – milled it down, and then started to cut and join. The joints are all blind mortise and tenon, and there are some dado slots too for the base and the shelf. The base is pine and its floating (kind of blends with the table in the photos and is hard to see).

I really thought the class was excellent and the techniques were really well taught. Compared to my previous projects, where I started from scratch, designing and then milling and joining by hand, this project was not so challenging as it was instructional. Using a router felt like cheating but it sure was quick and easy. The Saw Stop table saw is a very capable machine too. There are, however, some nice touches – the hinge is a cool design using a steel rod through each end post and the tray has some nice small wooden pins in the ends.
The fittings are all brass.

Black walnut is simply beautiful I think – my first time working with it. Some hand tools were used of course, a sharp chisel for cleaning up the joints, my favorite Lie Nielsen small shoulder plane for breaking some of the edges and I smoothed the box using my card scraper and a little 400 grit sand paper. It is finished with Waterlox Original oil, two coats and smells fantastic. I applied the oil directly with 0000 steel wool. That was a new technique for me – I would not have dreamed of applying the oil with steel wool but it works brilliantly, sort of polishes and oils all at the same time. You apply, leave for 2 minutes and then wipe dry with a rag. Repeat again the next day.

Overall, I am pleased with the project and learned a lot as a beginner in table saw, planer and jointer technique. I shall certainly be using some of these tools in combination with my hand tools in the future.

The other nice thing is that I that this box could easily be completed in less than a day (using the power tools), even for a beginner, which is really satisfying.

Good news is that my wife liked it. It is just under 20” long, 4.5” high and 7.5” deep. Remember don’t go too big, the smaller the jewelry box the fewer shiny things to buy to fill it up!!!

-- Hand planing is good for the soul!

5 comments so far

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3247 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 11:04 PM

Very nice jewelry box.
Black walnut is a fantastic wood.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View Mark's profile


27 posts in 3449 days

#2 posted 12-24-2009 12:19 AM

Very Nice, Makes me want to make one like it!

-- Mark, Sydney, Australia

View Sam_Fox's profile


29 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 12-24-2009 12:26 AM

Wow, very nice…. makes me want to throw out what I started for my wife!!! LOL…. hopefully she won’t see what other handy husbands make for their wives!

Looks awesome.

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 3245 days

#4 posted 12-25-2009 11:07 PM

really like the design

-- -erik & christy-

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4190 days

#5 posted 01-21-2010 07:50 PM

very innovative design. Beautiful wood. Way to go. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

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