The Cube

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Project by madburg posted 05-08-2018 03:09 AM 1210 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch


Another box inspired by Japanese woodworkers. Its a cube with no obvious way of getting in. It actually has 10 small drawers.

It’s made from marine plywood, veneered with a quilted burr veneer – not sure what though! The highlights are abalone and gold mother of pearl shell. It was quite a complex structure to glue together!

Getting into it uses an idea that I have ‘played’ with for a few years – rare earth magnets. We often use them instead of catches to hold things closed, but I have used them in opposition to force things apart.

The starting point is to push down on one of the segments on the lid. This uses a spring loaded catch to push the top drawer up. As this rises, a magnet in its base forces a drawer in the bottom layer open a little way.

Pull out this drawer and more magnets forces another drawer open.


Pull this one out, and out pops another drawer.

Lift the top drawer to the next level, and repeat the process to open the drawers on the middle layer. Lift the top drawer again and it activates the drawers on the top layer. You end up with all 10 drawers open!

Clever? Yes! Problems? Well yes again!! Don’t muddle the drawers up when putting them back in other wise the magnets attract and you can’t get them back out again – well only with difficulty!! So, I’m going to engrave some thing on the bottom of each drawer to say where it goes ….... Just hope they look at it!!

Thanks for looking.

-- Madburg WA

17 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8427 posts in 2724 days

#1 posted 05-08-2018 03:22 AM

Amazing work

View NormG's profile


6253 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 05-08-2018 03:30 AM

Thank you for sharing. What a great project

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View WhattheChuck's profile


336 posts in 3708 days

#3 posted 05-08-2018 04:45 AM

Incredible! I would buy plans for this kind of thing.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1051 posts in 2460 days

#4 posted 05-08-2018 08:24 AM

Superb! Many hours of work here. Did you baseit on an original from Japan?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View madburg's profile


209 posts in 990 days

#5 posted 05-08-2018 09:07 AM

Hi Jim, I’ve got quite into Japanese boxes as something rather different.

Check out my Pinterest boards – Japanese Box Ideas, and the sub-set Long Boxes, also my Cube Box board if you want inspiration.

But the Cube box started it all off. This one evolved from an article in the Australian Wood Review about a box made by Shinobu Kobayashi. Check this out.

His uses keys and air pressure to open the drawers. But it non-the-less inspired mine.

-- Madburg WA

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3014 days

#6 posted 05-08-2018 11:59 AM

This is a beautiful piece and very creative.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2945 days

#7 posted 05-08-2018 02:32 PM

OK Martin, now you are really putting the “mad” in madburg.
I can imagine the fun that was had here.
Another masterpiece of “mind over matter”. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View MilFlyer's profile


939 posts in 1819 days

#8 posted 05-08-2018 03:30 PM

that is a beautiful piece of work and a heck of a mind boggler all at the same time!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

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2756 posts in 3163 days

#9 posted 05-08-2018 04:28 PM

wonderful box/design/concept. a real winner

View Mike_in_STL's profile


702 posts in 681 days

#10 posted 05-08-2018 07:31 PM


-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1051 posts in 2460 days

#11 posted 05-08-2018 08:07 PM

Hi Martin
I tried the pictame link but it didn’t take me to an article. Should it?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View htl's profile


4111 posts in 1307 days

#12 posted 05-08-2018 11:03 PM

Very interesting and would be a fun build.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs here on Lumber Jocks..

View madburg's profile


209 posts in 990 days

#13 posted 05-09-2018 12:35 AM

Great to see the feed back when I turned on the PC this morning. So thanks guys. Must say I like the North Foreshore more, though it was probably easier to make.

-- Madburg WA

View mikeacg's profile


676 posts in 1205 days

#14 posted 05-09-2018 12:04 PM

Very nice and many thanks for the links! Really got the brain going this morning… Where’s my coffee???

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View oldnovice's profile


7202 posts in 3515 days

#15 posted 05-10-2018 04:37 AM

I really like that concept and, the way you made it real!
It must be somewhat confusing to figure out where all the containers are.
Is there a “map”?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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