Walnut/Maple Jewelry Box

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Project by Pwilhelm posted 10-05-2016 06:28 PM 652 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife’s best friend was moving out of the country last fall with her husband and his job, so I wanted to make something for them before they left. I was thinking of a jewelry box of some sort, but for me, projects don’t really take shape until I get a good look at the wood. I asked the guy at the local lumber shop if they had anything interesting in walnut or maple, and he said he had just set aside a curly piece of Ambrosia (wormy) maple. That, and a piece of walnut with a big knot and some nice figure at one end made for a good start.

I had bought an Irwin dado set and was interested in trying some finger joints and this seemed like the right project for it. I built a sliding miter tray for my little table saw and started trying finger joints on a few pieces of scrap. It was a real eye-opening experience to see how a tiny amount of slop in the joint was completely too much, visually anyway. Just 1/32” of error was enough to make the joint either not go together or be too sloppy to look good. In any case, practice makes perfect (well, better anyway), a couple hours of tweaking and refining the width of the dado and my marking and cutting technique improved the result and I was fairly happy with the outcome of the joints.

The box turned out looking a little more like a coffin or an urn than I had hoped. I could have made it shallower, but what part of that grain and figure would you cut off and throw in the scrap pile? Sometimes the appreciation of the wood itself gets in the way of the project.

9 comments so far

View BB1's profile


420 posts in 266 days

#1 posted 10-05-2016 09:07 PM

Really great. Wonderful wood grain and you did a creative job using them. What a beautiful gift.

View jeffswildwood's profile


1286 posts in 1395 days

#2 posted 10-05-2016 11:25 PM

That is really beautiful wood! Nice job and I like the tray design also!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way thats says "I meant to do that".

View Markie48836's profile


8 posts in 97 days

#3 posted 10-06-2016 01:06 AM

excellent work. i want to try some of that wood.

View Burbs's profile


32 posts in 102 days

#4 posted 10-06-2016 02:01 AM

Outstanding! Great contrasts in wood. If she doesn’t absolutely love it, I know my wife would.

-- ---The day I learn nothing of value will be the day I'm laid to rest--- Burbs

View mwilhelm's profile


20 posts in 1023 days

#5 posted 10-06-2016 11:44 AM

Good job. It looks great. I have tried finger joints like that and they certainly not easy.

View Roger's profile


19706 posts in 2222 days

#6 posted 10-06-2016 11:49 AM

Super nice departing gift

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View ravensrock's profile


328 posts in 1060 days

#7 posted 10-06-2016 03:33 PM

Boxes are fun to make and yours turned out great. I really like the grain of the maple and the contrast of the woods. And welcome to the site!

-- Dave, York, PA, WildSide Woodworking

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2421 days

#8 posted 10-09-2016 05:09 AM

Looks outstanding, well done love the choices for the wood

-- Norman

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 10-09-2016 08:25 PM

You did a fine job on this box and the wood is beautiful.

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

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