Civil War Era Shaving Box

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Project by Lenny posted 03-11-2018 07:21 PM 794 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a Civil War era shaving box. It appeared on the cover of the June 2014 issue of Woodworker’s Journal. As I often do, I recently plucked the magazine from my stash to re-read. It’s funny how an item can be of no interest to you initially but of keen interest the next time you look at it. I decided to make the shaving box as a gift to a good friend (Paul) who will appreciate it. Paul is also a woodworker and fellow Lumberjock (Harleysofttaildeuce).
Like the author of the article (A.J. Hamler), I made this from black walnut. When I resawed a length of 5/4 stock, I was amazed at the figure and interesting bookmatch achieved (see photo). At first I thought of saving the walnut for a more appropriate piece, i.e., one where the whole bookmatched panel would be front and center. Then I thought, what will that be and how long will it take to come up with the project, etc. So, while some of the beautiful wood is on the bottom of this project, I’m glad I decided to use it now.
The box measures out at 9” long by 7” wide by 3” tall. When the lid is lifted, a mirror is displayed. The mirror frame is 5-3/4” by 7”. The author used rabbet joinery for the box but suggested that dovetails would be appropriate and I went with the latter. Except for the tiny hinge screws, the hardware is period correct (slotted brass).
Hamler suggested that shellac would likely be the finish of choice so I sprayed on several coats. To add a level of durability and protection, I added several coats of satin spray lacquer and finished it off with a coat of Howard’s Feed-n-wax. The irony of presenting this to a bearded friend is not lost on me! When I told Paul I wanted to take a photo of him with the box, he opted to include a suit of armor.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

15 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2361 posts in 583 days

#1 posted 03-11-2018 07:41 PM

Very nice, Lenny. Great job matching up the walnut. Kudos!

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

View wcp's profile


133 posts in 535 days

#2 posted 03-11-2018 07:47 PM

That is a beautifully done project. The figure on the bookmatched piece is incredible.


View Woodenwizard's profile


1329 posts in 2979 days

#3 posted 03-11-2018 08:19 PM

Outstanding. I love this project. The dovetails look great and the book match really adds that pizazz. I am sure the gift will be treasured.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View helluvawreck's profile


30543 posts in 2802 days

#4 posted 03-11-2018 09:00 PM

You did a beautiful job on this piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3681 days

#5 posted 03-11-2018 09:11 PM

Really banging out some stunning work Lenny. Making some of us look bad!!! :)

View a1Jim's profile


117032 posts in 3513 days

#6 posted 03-11-2018 09:18 PM

Very cool and a unique project.

-- wood crafting & classes

View Joe's profile


174 posts in 1022 days

#7 posted 03-11-2018 09:20 PM

Great Project, and I sure agree with you some projects have to smolder for awhile.

-- CurleyJoe, In Southern Indiana

View tyvekboy's profile


1734 posts in 2949 days

#8 posted 03-11-2018 09:33 PM

Beautiful project. Thanks for sharing.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View swirt's profile


2611 posts in 2908 days

#9 posted 03-12-2018 01:45 AM

Nice work Lenny. Well done on the bookmatching. Looks amazing.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3463 days

#10 posted 03-12-2018 02:11 AM

Thank you for the comments everyone.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Karson's profile


35108 posts in 4336 days

#11 posted 03-12-2018 02:18 AM

Lenny A great looking project. But whats that brush for?

-- 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 ohwoodeye's profile


1967 posts in 3089 days

#12 posted 03-12-2018 11:22 AM

The 5th picture looks like an X-Ray of my lungs.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Mean_Dean's profile


6347 posts in 3083 days

#13 posted 03-13-2018 05:51 PM

That’s a great looking shaving box! The walnut is beautiful, and I like the bookmatched panels! I’m sure he’ll will really appreciate it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Diggerjacks's profile


2230 posts in 3074 days

#14 posted 03-13-2018 07:29 PM

Hello Lenny

What a so beautiful idea

I love it
You make fantastic work

Thanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3463 days

#15 posted 03-13-2018 09:11 PM

Thanks again folks.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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