Kat's Meow

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Project by Vulture posted 08-01-2010 09:40 PM 2014 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I previously posted “Kat’s Kase”, which is a pen case I built for a friend in Montreal. This is the second project I have completed specially for my friend. She had commented last summer that she had never had a jewelry box before. So, I set out on this project as soon as I finished the pen case.

It took me quite some time to complete, as I first built a full-scale prototype and the project was interrupted for several months in the middle of construction. I chose to do the prototype as I was trying out several new techniques (to me) on this project, including pattern matching components, the serpentine drawer face design and the tray (top) lid inlay. The design is one of my own that I “hatched” nearly two years ago, with inspiration from several designs I had seen in some box making books and a router guide book written by Carol Reed.

I am so glad that I chose to do the prototype, as I learned many things along the way that made the final construction much easier and much quicker. Prototypes always allow us to work out the bugs, and there were a number of them on this project! Fortunately, too, my friend is a very patient person!

I used Lenga (Chilean Cherry) and Padauk as the two primary woods in the construction of the carcass, base and drawers. All joints in the carcass and the drawers are half-blind dovetails. The carcass itself is joined to the solid Padauk base with dowel pins.

The drawer sides, backs and faces are constructed entirely of Lenga, with the faces having Padauk “lips”. The drawer bottoms are the only part of the entire project that are not hardwood; they are 1/8” plywood covered with flocking. The serpentine faces of the drawers, including their “lips”, was one of the focal points of this project. The bottom drawer has a small sliding tray that is built, again, entirely from Lenga with Padauk miter keys (bottom is also flocked 1/8” plywood). The drawer dividers in the upper two drawers are Basswood.

There are two lids on this box. One is facing forward and conceals the drawers from view. It also has a mirror imbedded in its inner face. I call it the mirrored lid and it is pinned between the carcass sides with small brass pins. The mirror will allow her to see her earrings and necklaces as she puts them on.

The other lid I call the tray lid. It uses Curly Maple as its background. It is bordered with bands of Bolivian Rosewood, Lenga and Padauk. The starburst inlay is made from Padauk, Bolivian Rosewood and Yellowheart. It is encircled by a Bolivian Rosewood band. The starburst itself is held within a background of Curly Maple, which I intentionally grain-oriented 90 degress to the grain of the larger Curly Maple background. The underside of the lid has cup hooks and a chain pouch for necklaces.

One of the features I worked out is that by careful selection of the length of the tray lid and light rounding of the upper cross member of the carcass, which also serves as the end for the upper tray concealed by the tray lid, the mirrored lid will open to approximately 105 degrees without any additional stops; i.e., it creates a natural stop.

I also tried a different finish technique for this project. On all of my previous projects I have used salad bowl oil or Danish oil. This time I decided to try a polyurethane finish. I chose a water-based, satin poly finish, as I tend to lean more towards non-gloss finishes that let the wood speak for itself. I was very pleased with the results and expect to use poly finishes more in the future.

As with many projects, there were a few mistakes made, but almost all were made in the prototype phase. One that I wasn’t able to overcome, though, was that this box was supposed to also have a music box movement in it. I had designed the upper tray of this box based on the dimensions of movements that I had used in other projects in the past. However, I chose another supplier for the movement for this box without realizing that the height of the “butterfly” was greater than that of the others I had used in the past.

Imagine the surprise and frustration when I realized, post-final-carcass-assembly, that the music box wouldn’t allow the tray lid to close completely! Solution? I now have another, smaller project! I am building the matching music box for the jewelry box!

The other “mistake” I made is that I didn’t take pictures of the box by itself after it was fully assembled. I put all of the finishing touches on the box and promptly packed it for its in-person delivery trip to Montreal without giving a second thought to not having final pix! I was more interested in getting the box to its recipient and seeing the reaction to it. I think the first photo speaks for itself of her reaction! Perhaps I can coax her into taking some pictures of the finished box and I can then add them here or replace a couple of the ones I have put up for now.

-- Kevin, Vancouver, WA

3 comments so far

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3679 days

#1 posted 08-02-2010 12:21 AM

Hey Kevin:
This is a nice looking jewelry box. I like the wavy drawer fronts.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 3471 days

#2 posted 08-02-2010 01:40 AM

Wow, nice job. I like how the design incorporated the support for the mirror in the front cover. Good job on the inlay.

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3076 days

#3 posted 08-02-2010 11:34 AM

I love the idea of this box, it is sooooooooooo different. I wish you would have done that last photo tho!! :-(

-- Theresa,

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