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Project by majeagle1 posted 07-03-2010 01:40 AM 8810 views 6 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Curly Maple & Purpleheart Butsudan

After a few mistakes and mishaps, a bit of learning, I have finally completed this
Curly Maple & Purpleheart Butsudan that was commissioned by a friend on the East Coast.

For those of you who don’t know what a Butsudan is, it is a Buddhist religious shrine that is used to house a Gohonzon, which is a prayer scroll. I believe that there are other religious items that may be housed within, but this one is for the scroll.

The interior background is Lacewood / Leapordwood/Silky Oak.
The Purpleheart inlay was a challenge as I did not use veneer. It is almost 1/4” thick so it was harder to cut. The Lacewood background was resawn into 3/16” thick panels and laminated to the back.

I hardwired a 6” LED strip w/ transformer into the top of the Butsudan to give a very soft light to read the scroll, yet ensure that there was no heat buildup. The power cord is running down the inside of the back, in a groove that is covered by a strip of the Lacewood. The cord comes out the bottom as I did not want to drill a hole in the cabinet.


Also I built in a strip of Curly Maple, hanging down from the inside of the top for the Gohonzon to hang from. It has 3 small brass hooks.

Again, the biggest challenges for me on this one was the deep inlay and cutting the circle and then the matching radius pieces around that. Then the next challenge was cutting and installing the knife hinges. Although I did it, and they came out o.k., there are a few things I would do differently.

It is 31” tall, 20” wide and 10” deep and yes, once again, I used my favorite Danish Oil and Black Bison Wax.

As always, all comments are welcome, please……….

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

31 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11777 posts in 2722 days

#1 posted 07-03-2010 02:02 AM

How many hours did you put into this awesome cabinet ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View OttoH's profile


885 posts in 2044 days

#2 posted 07-03-2010 02:02 AM

Very nice job on the Butsudan, you say there are things you would do differently but it looks perfect to me.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View littlecope's profile


3015 posts in 2536 days

#3 posted 07-03-2010 02:07 AM

Beautiful Piece, Gene… Great Work!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Kate's profile


400 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 07-03-2010 02:24 AM

Looks great.

-- Kate,

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 2475 days

#5 posted 07-03-2010 02:42 AM

I hope you would be very proud of this piece your friend will be


View degoose's profile


7136 posts in 2388 days

#6 posted 07-03-2010 02:49 AM

Very pretty indeed.

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2149 days

#7 posted 07-03-2010 02:50 AM

great job
thank´s for sharing


View Jaybird719's profile


141 posts in 1926 days

#8 posted 07-03-2010 03:31 AM

Nice work. Like the purpleheart and maple together. Looks really nice.

-- -Jay Hartman - Morrisville, PA

View Eric in Florida.'s profile

Eric in Florida.

3749 posts in 2609 days

#9 posted 07-03-2010 03:32 AM

Beautiful work Gene.

-- Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs ~ Henry Ford

View yarydoc's profile


417 posts in 2178 days

#10 posted 07-03-2010 03:33 AM

Nice work.

-- Ray , Florence Alabama

View vicrider's profile


178 posts in 1932 days

#11 posted 07-03-2010 03:43 AM

Hi Gene,

I like your use of mixed woods for this project, dramatic impact yet keeping the simplicity of design. I am working on a Butsudan design for my niece. We are hashing out her preferences now and I am looking forward to starting construction soon. I also lean toward LED lights to keep the heat and glare down.

great job.


-- vicrider

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2342 days

#12 posted 07-03-2010 04:04 AM

Excellent work.

View Daiku's profile


213 posts in 1941 days

#13 posted 07-03-2010 05:24 AM

Very Nice!

-- Cal Noguchi -

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 2841 days

#14 posted 07-03-2010 06:40 AM


As always your work is beautiful. I especially like the contrast between the curly maple and the purpleheart. The inlay work looks amazing. I really like the fact that when you open the doors there is the surprise of the lacewood back and the small drawer.

View Napaman's profile


5435 posts in 3111 days

#15 posted 07-03-2010 06:57 AM

amazing!!! I love that curly maple and it off sets so well with the purple heart…great work…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

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