Burly Box

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Project by splintergroup posted 12-30-2016 02:31 PM 2688 views 7 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

6”d x “8w x 1/2”t x 3”h.

Box is Pau Ferro (Bolivian rosewood) with top/bottom frames made from walnut. The top burl is maple.

All corners are mitered and splined with walnut.

The burl

Time off for the holidays (yea!), nothing like a string of uninterrupted days in the shop. I was doing some cleaning and re-discovered a milk crate of exotics scraps, among them a freezer bag with a maple burl bowl blank inside. My wife bough me the burl maybe a decade ago and I had set it aside to think about what to do with it. Not much later I noticed black dust appearing around it (bugs!). This was from Woodcraft so I figured they at least would have taken some measures against bugs, but oh well 8^), I stuck it in a freezer bag and placed it in the deep freeze for about a year. That’ll teach those buggers! Anyway, it became forgotten until recently.

The burl was a 1/8” slice off of the block (times two) book matched and glued to a piece of 1/4” plywood. I could never seem to completely hide the seam between the two veneers. I then rabbeted away a boarder around the edge to allow the surface to be flush with the lid and also fit into a groove in the lid frame. A small gap was left that I painted black (nail polish) for contrast.

The box
I had been buying wood blanks from Woodcraft, using the free shipping and other holiday discounts. I had a few 2”x 2”x 12” sections of the Pau Ferro with nice grain which appeared perfect for a small box.

Onto the bandsaw to cut 1/2” slices (and shave off all that wax), drum sander, table saw and viola, a mitered box!

One redeeming quality about mitered frames is any grooves, etc. can be cut at the table saw, no stopped cuts.

The burl and a mirror were trapped when the frame was assembled.

All the miters received splines for strength

The hinges were surface mounted so much time saved over morticing them in. They were also quite inexpensive (Rockler special) and amazingly enough are solid brass. I did need to peen the hinge pins to keep them from sliding out. A tip-o-the-hat to BoxGuy for inspiring me to scrounge around and try low cost hardware.

This design makes for a simple box (minimal fitting steps) that has many places to “expand upon” for design features.
Overall, only three days to build, mainly to allow the glue to dry between steps. Down time was spent preparing parts for a few more! (a few more coming along in the next few days)

Thanks for looking!

18 comments so far

View bushmaster's profile


3433 posts in 2522 days

#1 posted 12-30-2016 03:26 PM

Beautiful wood and workmanship. I used time this week to also complete a box but it pales in comparison with yours. Well done.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View BurlyBob's profile


6032 posts in 2505 days

#2 posted 12-30-2016 04:05 PM

Amazing workmanship and stunning wood. It doesn’t get any better.

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6276 posts in 3592 days

#3 posted 12-30-2016 04:18 PM

Very handsome box! The burl is a big plus! Nice work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View splintergroup's profile


2511 posts in 1461 days

#4 posted 12-30-2016 04:24 PM

Thanks guys!

Brian, I seriously doubt it “pales”. You do some awesome work (your bowls are a favorite) and that burning jig is on my list 8^)

View Jerry's profile


2926 posts in 1887 days

#5 posted 12-30-2016 05:23 PM

Really beautiful! Great choice of woods and superb craftsmanship. I don’t think anyone could have made the seam disappear, burl patterns are just too random. Even though it was bookmatched if you think in 3D, as you saw deeper into the wood to free up the second piece of veneer, the pattern can change significantly in even a short distance, so amazing job, beautiful piece. 5 Stars.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View LesB's profile


1922 posts in 3682 days

#6 posted 12-30-2016 06:00 PM

Nice box.

Way back in the 70s one of the early do it yourself magazines (Popular Mechanics I think) had plans for similar boxes using a shaper blade on the table saw to shape the sides of the box. The design for the box sides was only limited by the imagination.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Boxguy's profile


2779 posts in 2507 days

#7 posted 12-30-2016 08:09 PM

Splinter, thanks for the tip of the hat. Congratulations on a great build with beautiful woods. This is a well thought out design that takes into account the materials you were working with. I like your use of splines for decoration and strength.

You may want to consider putting a 1/4 to 1/2 inch roundover on the inside lip of your boxes. I find that it makes them much more finger friendly. This isn’t a box per se, but it shows the concept.

I usually do the rounding after I have made the body of the box and before I install the hinges. (I would not round over the outside of the lip if it were a box.)

I often find my self working on three boxes at a time. When I come to a gluing-step wait, I can stop on that step for the day with that box and move to another step on one of the other boxes. It usually keeps me from being impatient and getting semi-dried glue on sanding disks, and band saw blades.

Congratulations as well on your posting skills. I like the pun in the title, the topical divisions, the well done photos, the embedded photos in the text, and your writing skills. Your well organized posting was a joy to see and a pleasure to read.

-- Big Al in IN

View Mean_Dean's profile


6916 posts in 3386 days

#8 posted 12-30-2016 11:34 PM

That’s a great looking box! I like the wood combo you used, and I like the overhang of the lid and base—gives the box a unique look!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View oldrivers's profile


1520 posts in 1806 days

#9 posted 12-31-2016 01:23 AM


-- Soli Deo gloria!

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 12-31-2016 05:31 AM

Outstanding work sir!
That wood is outrageous.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1577 posts in 3804 days

#11 posted 12-31-2016 11:44 AM

Gorgeous box, I like the mirror on the inside. The wood choice and finish are top notch.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2496 days

#12 posted 12-31-2016 12:13 PM

Splint, congratulations on a “Top Three”. It is well deserved.

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile


2511 posts in 1461 days

#13 posted 12-31-2016 03:06 PM

Jerry: True dat on dealing with wood! I think next time I get a problem with an annoying seam (at least to me) will be to hide it with an inlay.

Boxguy: Good advice on the round overs. I do it on some but typically I’ll just ease the edges. If I’m planning ahead (which is rare), I’ll do a 45 deg chamfer. This gets a clean junction where the boards join. I have an issue that when I do the round over on a completed box, I get a bit of burning at the transition (and I do hate sanding!). I am going to try more edge easing for inserts (like your photo). Probably time to sharpen my RO bit as well 8^)

View splintergroup's profile


2511 posts in 1461 days

#14 posted 12-31-2016 03:10 PM

Thanks for the complements guys! Always apprieciated.

Art, hope those shutters are almost done. I’m waiting to see what you come up with in the way of a large hutch/credenza. SHWMBO wants more work completed in the house and I’m procrastinating….

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2583 days

#15 posted 12-31-2016 03:56 PM


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