A box is a box until ...

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Project by Grumpymike posted 08-15-2016 11:59 PM 1191 views 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A box is a box until you embellish it .

Well I have been trying to learn the old craft of string inlay, and finally felt like it was time to try it on a project. I chose’ string and berry’ to copy an old (1700’s) spice box, and because Terry has a birthday next month I put her initial on the box …

I drew out the “T” and carved it in by hand, or free hand I should say, with a .032” tool and re-sanded 1/6” holly strips to fit in the grooves.

Steve Latta deserves a shout out here as his video’s inspired me to take on this task … And of course it always looks easier when the master does it.

The box is ambrosia maple with the grain wrapped around the box, and topped with Lace Wood. ... (not really a good choice for the freehand carving as it’s a bit chunky and tears out easily). ...The crown and skirt are Purple Heart, and the feet are Mesquite.

Outside dim is about 9”X12” and is ‘bout 5” deep. Finished with a good rubbing of BLO, topped with shellac; then water based polyurethane for the top coat and finished with paste wax.

I know where the mistakes are, and you will have to water board me to get me to admit where.

Thanks for lookin’ and comments good or otherwise are welcome.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

20 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile (online now)


1782 posts in 1683 days

#1 posted 08-16-2016 12:05 AM

You can make one for ralbuck with all the “mistakes” and I will still be very proud of it!

Great work!

-- just rjR

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21516 posts in 1755 days

#2 posted 08-16-2016 12:10 AM

Very nice work sir

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#3 posted 08-16-2016 12:48 AM

very cool great job.

-- Custom furniture

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16763 posts in 2523 days

#4 posted 08-16-2016 01:00 AM

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh an E box..How sweet!

Great choice of wood, too!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Boxguy's profile


2121 posts in 1685 days

#5 posted 08-16-2016 06:18 AM

Mike, this is good work. I like your stringing it really adds to the look of this box. Your choice of woods is well done. The hinge is nicely inset. The corner splines look to be well cut and fit. Cutting the lengths of the sides and then undercutting the sides gives a great look to the wrap-around grain. One corner looks a bit re-trimmed. The finish looks very nice. Some time you might want to consider a first coat of Tung Oil to enhance the grain pattern. You might want to consider the tools mentioned in this post for cutting liners. This is a wonderful job and I envy your skill with stringing. It makes this box sing. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View CFrye's profile


8552 posts in 1257 days

#6 posted 08-16-2016 09:24 AM

Great job, Mike! The stringing brings this box over-the-top! Please wish Terry a happy birthday from me! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View Duckster's profile


352 posts in 768 days

#7 posted 08-16-2016 03:14 PM

Great box, Mike. Beautiful

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2284 days

#8 posted 08-16-2016 06:17 PM

Mike, that box is so beautiful. You have done a wonderful job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View jadollar's profile


2 posts in 66 days

#9 posted 08-16-2016 06:22 PM

Beautiful work. I have a newbie question for you or anybody who would like to answer. When you skirted with the Purple Heart, did you just glue all sides or glue and dowel it or how was that completed. I’m sure it’s a “duh” question and answer but…...... Thank you in advance, Jason

View Grumpymike's profile


1882 posts in 1732 days

#10 posted 08-16-2016 06:27 PM

Thanks for the nice comments, glad to hear from y’all …

In answer to a PM: That is royal blue flocking in the bottom and the tray … and you are correct, the spacing of the dividers works well for the tea packets … That’s why I call them Keepsake Boxes instead of jewelry box.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View AandCstyle's profile


2533 posts in 1674 days

#11 posted 08-16-2016 09:43 PM

Hey, Mike, you have boldly gone where I have feared to tread with the string and berry inlay. Congratulations on a job well done! Terry is a very lucky lady.

-- Art

View Grumpymike's profile


1882 posts in 1732 days

#12 posted 08-16-2016 10:16 PM

The crown and skirt moldings on this box are glued and held in place with 23 gauge pins till the glue dried.
Other boxes I have made were just glued and clamped, this one kept slithering around so I pinned it.

No “duh” questions here pal, we’ve all paid our dues.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View JPJ's profile


792 posts in 2037 days

#13 posted 08-17-2016 02:19 AM

Nice job!

View jadollar's profile


2 posts in 66 days

#14 posted 08-17-2016 03:26 PM

Appreciate the response. Thank you

View BurlyBob's profile


3450 posts in 1683 days

#15 posted 08-18-2016 10:36 PM

That’s a really nice box. I’ve admired stringing but haven’t had the nerve to try it. You did a really nice job with it.

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