Boxguy Angles For An Accent

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Project by Boxguy posted 12-09-2017 05:19 AM 990 views 4 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As always thanks for looking at this project. Your comments and questions are the fun part of posting here. I will respond to each of your comments, though it might be late tomorrow before I am back at my computer. A Merry Christmas to all.

Pictured is a simple box (6 1/2 W x 5 1/2 D x 4 3/4 H). The sides are Alder, the top is Movingui, the accent frame is Purple Heart, the corner splines are Purple Heart and Ebony. This finish is applied with a one inch foam brush from Hobby Lobby. The finish technique is detailed here.

The sides are nearer to 1/2 inch since it is a small box. I also chose to make the mortise for the hinge all the way across the back of the box, Since the box is so small I wanted to include all the screws I could to strengthen the lid/box connection. This box uses a Rockler 1/2 inch wide steel stop hinge that I shortened with a hack saw.

As you can see, the box features an accent frame around the ceramic tile on top. An accent frame around the inside of an inset top is an easy way to add some color and interest to a box lid. You might want to let your dado for the inset top run a little deeper down the box side so you can accommodate the thickness of the frame. In this case it let me match the box colors to the tile the customer chose. The box also mimics the proportions of the 2 1/2×1 3/4 tile.

Making The Accent Frame: The best way I have found of building the Purple Heart accent frame is to round over the edge of a thin, wide board with the router, cut off the thin routed part on the table saw, and 45 the edges on the belt sander. It is too dangerous to cut such a small and thin piece with a miter saw, so rough cut your lengths with the band saw and then make the fine adjustments and 45s with the belt sander. This will allow you to work safely and make fine adjustments to get tight joints on a very small piece of wood. I made a simple jig to hold the wood at a 45 degree angle on the sander.

Story: I try to be up for a challenge, so when a friend wanted a small box that would fit into her husband’s turtle totem collection; I told her that if she would furnish the turtle, I would make a box to go with it. I had no idea what she would choose. I was a little afraid the turtle would be big and ugly. I’m glad she made such a nice choice.

The tile had a rare earth magnet glued on the back. I was afraid that I would break the tile if I tried to remove the super glued magnet, so I just drilled a hole in the lid to accommodate that. Next, I wanted to pick up the yellow and purple and black colors in the tile. Movingui, Purple Heart, and Ebony were the right woods for that. I couldn’t do much with the white and gold colors. I chose Alder for the sides because it is the most neutral wood I know of and I wanted to focus to be on the turtle. Alder also let the corner splines show to good advantage.

This is a link to over 90 boxes I have posted on this site in the past few years.

-- Big Al in IN

28 comments so far

View robscastle's profile


4795 posts in 2133 days

#1 posted 12-09-2017 06:00 AM

Nice work and yet another impressive application of skills.

I guess I would not expect any less fom yourself,

Tutle Power Rules!

-- Regards Robert

View Boxguy's profile


2581 posts in 2197 days

#2 posted 12-09-2017 06:09 AM

Rob, thanks. Always good to hear from the Down Under branch of Lumber Jocks. I liked your article on that complex joint. Looks like you need to apply it to a table project. Turtles are a curious sort of creature. Here are some that like to climb on a log and float around in our rock quarry in the summer as they bask in the sun.

-- Big Al in IN

View Jerry's profile


2570 posts in 1577 days

#3 posted 12-09-2017 06:11 AM

Nice job Al, really beautiful and well made!

-- 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 Boxguy's profile


2581 posts in 2197 days

#4 posted 12-09-2017 06:31 AM

Jerry thanks. This one did turn out well. I liked your butterfly wine rack.

-- Big Al in IN

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5827 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 12-09-2017 11:00 AM

Nice looking little box Al.
Your friend did a really nice job on the turtle also. Love the detail on the top lid but I think everything about this box looks mighty fine even the color is nice and warm looking.
Thanks for all the fine detailed explanation on how you got there making this good looking box!
Merry Christmas to you also!

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

View EarlS's profile


802 posts in 2277 days

#6 posted 12-09-2017 11:46 AM


As always – excellent work. I have to be the one to ask, since no one else has yet, are you going to make one with a rabbit so he will have a “Turtle and the Hare” set? Of course the rabbit box would have to be something that starts out quick and easy and gets delayed.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Handtooler's profile


1511 posts in 2061 days

#7 posted 12-09-2017 11:47 AM

And a Very Merry Christmas to you and yours! That is an OUTSTANDING piece of woodwork. Finish is fantastic. You’ve really done yourself proud.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1709 posts in 511 days

#8 posted 12-09-2017 12:20 PM

That’s a fine looking little box, Al. Shame you didn’t have a little holly to add some white to the design.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View MontanaBob's profile


825 posts in 2613 days

#9 posted 12-09-2017 01:04 PM


View Boxguy's profile


2581 posts in 2197 days

#10 posted 12-09-2017 01:30 PM

Replies to Comments:

Tony, thanks for your comment. This was a fun box to make and it was a nice turtle piece to work with. Some boxes like this just seem to come together while others are a struggle.

Earl, as a matter of fact, the rabbit box has already been delayed. Fun idea though. It is a kind of hare today and gone tomorrow project.

Russel, thanks for the greetings. I was surprised how well the Alder took a finish. It is a really fine grained wood. The flesh-like color has its uses.

Bob, thanks. Your leaf box is a real eye-catcher.

Dave, you are right a little holly would probably be appropriate for this season, but it is not a wood I have on hand. I have often admired stringing, but have never tried it. Have you?

-- Big Al in IN

View observer100's profile


383 posts in 1039 days

#11 posted 12-09-2017 01:43 PM

Equally challenging is photographing your finished projects. I really appreciate the work you put into your photographs. I get to enjoy the details of the entire box, leaving few questions. Your written comments are icing on the cake.

View balidoug's profile


475 posts in 2408 days

#12 posted 12-09-2017 01:53 PM

enjoyed how you incorporated the tile into the overall design. a nice solution to a tricky problem. thanks for sharing

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View splintergroup's profile


1923 posts in 1151 days

#13 posted 12-09-2017 02:03 PM

Good to see the additions of accents Al, yet another design dimension to explore. Another nice one!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1709 posts in 511 days

#14 posted 12-09-2017 02:16 PM

Never tried stringing either, Al. I ordered a handful of inlays from to play with one of these days, though. They should arrive any day now. Since I’m running the swap next spring, and it’s going to be a box swap, AND I want to really push myself to try something new for it, I’m expecting there will be at least a few experiments between now and shipping the box in mid-April. I also need to work on my hinges. Experiments to date have been… learning experiences.

If nothing else, I figure I’ll get to give my combination plane a workout. And maybe even learn a thing or two. ;-)

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Tooch's profile


1704 posts in 1805 days

#15 posted 12-09-2017 02:21 PM

Good looking box, Al. Great work as always

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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