Walnut Jewelry Box w/ Monogram Inlay

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Project by USCJeff posted 11-12-2007 07:19 AM 2716 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project that has been in the works for many months. I started it in April, but it kept getting bumped by other projects as my attention span is brief! I used methods that I haven’t used in the past much for the experience. I used half-blinds for the carcass and miters for the trim. I like the half-blind look on drawer fronts more so than boxes, but I still think they look better than a basic miter. There are a few things that I really liked about it and a few I’ll change the next time. I liked the color Watco Dark Walnut Danish Oil added to the Peruvian Walnut boards. It did a good job of sealing the grain with the first coat or two. I however did not like the paste wax topcoat. I think it gave it more of a plastic look in some lights. It also highlighted the half-blind joinery. I prefer a Poly topcoat that I’ve used in the past over the same finish. The last time I did this type of inlay, I used pine. It was tough to do an intricate pine inlay. The maple used was a little tougher when shaping the parts prone to splitting. I used an CMT inlay bit/guide bushing. I would have built a jig for the quad hinges had I known how tough it is to install them correctly. I also liked the flow of the grain more so than my last go at this design. I used the same board this time and cut the sides in sequence. Outside of the topcoat, I think it was a decent practice project.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

10 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#1 posted 11-12-2007 07:37 AM

Jeff nice box. The pictures are a little dark. Can you try again?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4032 days

#2 posted 11-12-2007 08:24 AM

I took the pic the lazy way. Used my laptops built in cam. Poor resolution, but didn’t require me to move. I’ll take some with a real camera eventually! Plus, the poor resolution hides a couple finish issues.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4029 days

#3 posted 11-12-2007 11:33 AM

Looks great Jeff, I think. A little too dark to tell for sure – but I’ll give you credit for a good job anyway :-))

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#4 posted 11-12-2007 12:49 PM

look at that “W” – it really stands out. A nice surprise inside.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4032 days

#5 posted 11-12-2007 07:27 PM

Haha Bill, Again, I wasn’t thrilled with the paste wax I used on this one (wife’s). I used a Minwax wax, though. Perhaps Rennaisance or another higher end wax would look better. I barely used any wax and it turned it into a plastic-like Walmart finish. The half-blinds also aren’t my favorite look for a visible side. I splined miter joints last time I made this design (my Mom that time) and it looked better in my opinion. I also used a satin poly that time. Thanks for the comments though.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View relic's profile


343 posts in 3900 days

#6 posted 11-12-2007 08:54 PM

The box looks good to me Jeff.

-- Andy Stark

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4000 days

#7 posted 12-05-2007 12:29 AM

This is a nice box, Jeff. Thanks for posting some detail on the construction and finishing!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4050 days

#8 posted 12-21-2007 10:01 PM

Nice , could you post a little info on inlay guide bushing technique. I need to learn how make some tight inlaid letters.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3838 days

#9 posted 12-21-2007 10:46 PM

Good box Jeff.

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4032 days

#10 posted 12-21-2007 11:56 PM

Sure Dock. I’ll post this to the forums as well in case its of use to anyone else. My method is based off of a couple podcasts. One is from Woodworking Online. Here is the episode Router Inlays The same method is used in a Marc’s WoodWhisperer podcasts. Check his archives for the episode.

A router inlay kit consists of a guide bushing, a bearing, and a bit. I bought a CMT kit around $30. The included bit is a 1/8” spiral bit.

~The first step is to cut a template for the design. The material must be 1/4” thick. The goal is to cut away the desired design. It is helpful to leave several inches around the hole that is the design. This helps to balance the router when using the template.
~Clamp the template to the material that is to RECEIVE the inlay.
~The bearing should be attached to the bushing for this cut and the cut depth should be no more than 1/8” deep.
~Follow the template to hollow out the area to be inlaid. Very tight corners will require some chisel work.
~Now clamp the template to the inlay material.
~Use the same method without the bearing, leaving only the bushing to guide the bit.

This will leave a near perfect fit, with the only exception being details that are more narrow than the 1/8” bit. A little minor chisel work takes care of those. Another helpful pointer is to chamfer the bottom of the inlay material slightly so as to ease installation. I like to make the inlay slightly thicker and then sand it flush.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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