A Pair of Japanese Tea Boxes

  • Advertise with us
Project by mauibob posted 12-19-2017 08:31 PM 670 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This set of small boxes was made on a marquetry chevalet, with two copies of each made simultaneously. The designs were taken from 18th century prints by the Japanese woodblock master Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806).

The marquetry was produced using maple and walnut burls, dyed Koto and a couple of odds and ends veneers that I happened to have floating around in the shop. The boxes themselves were made of cherry, with an imported handmade Italian paper used for the lining.

Just posting this so that I can wish all my Lumberjocks friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

12 comments so far

View rayn's profile


174 posts in 3087 days

#1 posted 12-19-2017 08:56 PM

Great marquetry !!!

-- Ray,Iowa

View robscastle's profile


4704 posts in 2073 days

#2 posted 12-19-2017 09:32 PM


Just happened to knock these up eh!

Now thats some impressive work, so impressive in fact I want to ask you something,
cand you show some more pictures please?
In particular the finished boxes, the paper and a consumable list of all the products you used to produce such fine work.

How could you do them simultaniously they are not symetecrial

If you are a very busy man and as its just a teser for a Merry Christmas salutation maybe Santa could do it for you.

Merry Christmas back at you!

-- Regards Robert

View mauibob's profile


234 posts in 2936 days

#3 posted 12-19-2017 10:41 PM

Thanks, Ray and Robert for the nice comments!

Robert, I’ve uploaded 3 more photos of one of the boxes. The other one is similar, but is wrapped up for Christmas!

As for “simultaneous”, what I meant to say was that I made multiple copies of each design, not both designs at once. So, I ended up with 2 boxes of each design. I didn’t push it past 2 since I wasn’t sure how I would like the outcome, but they came out pretty well and I probably should have made a few more when I had the chance!

The marquetry was applied to one side of a piece of Baltic birch plywood (~ 1/4” thickness), with the other side simply veneered with the burl. The designs were cut on a chevalet, but could have also been done on a scrollsaw with a fine blade. I used Brusso JB-101 stop hinges for the box—these are solid brass and worth the money.

Boxes were finished with several coats of natural tung oil, and completed with a thin waxing with Renaissance Wax (my favorite).

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View robscastle's profile


4704 posts in 2073 days

#4 posted 12-19-2017 10:47 PM

Thanks neat as!

-- Regards Robert

View Ryan Nicholson's profile

Ryan Nicholson

29 posts in 72 days

#5 posted 12-19-2017 11:32 PM

Ichiban Bob!

View tomd's profile


2123 posts in 3639 days

#6 posted 12-20-2017 04:08 AM

Very nice marquetry, great work.

-- Tom D

View majuvla's profile


11451 posts in 2736 days

#7 posted 12-20-2017 01:03 PM

Very demanding marquetry, I bet, very nice boxes.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Woodenwizard's profile


1318 posts in 2912 days

#8 posted 12-20-2017 06:00 PM

Out standing. I am considering building chevalet and learning that process. Thanks for sharing and for the holiday wishes. I hope you don’t have to wait until the next holiday season to share your work. I always motivates me to do more. Have a blessed Christmas.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1907 posts in 516 days

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

Excellent craftsmanship, Bob. Kudos. Merry Christmas.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View stefang's profile


15697 posts in 3203 days

#10 posted 12-21-2017 04:52 PM

Beautifully done Bob. I love Japanese art. It has a timeless quality that is hard to match. I’ve been saving some that I have stored some from the web in my photo gallery with plans to do some of them in marquetry.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


7847 posts in 2667 days

#11 posted 12-21-2017 07:57 PM

Sorry Bob, I have no idea how I missed this.
Beautiful work and such a perfect subject. Japanese prints so lend themselves to marquetry and you have such a passion for both.
It’s good to see you using the chevalet too!
Best of the season to you and your family from sunny Az.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View mauibob's profile


234 posts in 2936 days

#12 posted 12-21-2017 08:19 PM

Thanks Mike. As you can see from my posts, I am a big fan of Japanese art. Like you said, the woodblock impressions really work well in marquetry—really just translating one wood art for another! My favorite artists for marquetry are Hokusai and Utamaro—Hokusai for great images of Fuji, with simple enough style to translate well into marquetry, and Utamaro for his court ladies, again with simple beauty. Luckily, the Web is loaded with good quality images so it makes it easy to make any mods.

Anyway, thanks for the nice comment. Make sure you let me know when you start your next ukiyo-e marquetry project! Merry Christmas!

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics