Jewel Box

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Project by ferstler posted 12-08-2010 at 05:14 PM 1959 views 15 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is actually a Christmas present for my wife, and so she has not even seen it yet. I got the idea from seeing something at a crafts show recently, but I wanted to do my own take on the item.

The lid is select pine and was done quite simply with table saw, miter saw, jointer, planer, table-top shaper, and lots of hand sanding. There are six coats of satin-finish enamel on the piece. The knob was a store-purchased item.

The bottom section is in two pieces. The black part (four enamel coats this time) is select pine and was done about as conventionally as the lid. The stained part (douglas fir) was done separately, and that involved the most work. First, after cutting it to size I drilled out the holes using several forstner bits. Then, I rounded off the cuts at the tops using a roundover bit and a bench shaper. I also used a rabbit bit to very slightly (1/32nd inch) undercut the bottoms of each drilled hole. More on that, below.

The two pieces were glued together and once the glue was dried I used a planer, table shaper, and lots of hand-sanding elbow grease to smooth things over. The assembly (including the black enameled part) was then given four coats of clear satin polyurethane. Three small oak dowels were installed in the top of the bottom part, with corresponding holes in the lid to allow it to be properly aligned when installed. I used pins instead of hinges, because I wanted a clean look all the way around with the lid on.

OK, so why did I undercut the bottoms of the drilled holes? Well, the unit I saw at the crafts show had each hole bottom covered with thin felt pads. However, the builder could not cut them perfectly to size, and so you could see the irregularities at the bottom. My solution was to undercut the hole bottoms before gluing the two pieces together and then cut the pads for the bottom very slightly oversized. That way, they could be fitted into the recessed areas all the way around for a clean edge as dictated by the circle cuts themselves.

Howard Ferstler

18 comments so far

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 2730 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 at 05:20 PM

Wonderful box Howard. I like the soft edges you gave to the compartments that picks up on the lid edges. And I really like your pin registration. A very elegant, classy piece for sure.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2419 posts in 2229 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 at 05:41 PM

Very nice! Clean & Crisp. Super job!

-- Dennis Zongker

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 1811 days

#3 posted 12-08-2010 at 06:15 PM

Pretty slick finish job! I like it

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View dustyal's profile


1196 posts in 2112 days

#4 posted 12-08-2010 at 06:48 PM

Nicely constructed. I like the idea of the undercutting for the felt and the pin pegs for holding the lid. Ingenious.

Actually, it seems to be a very useful jewelry box. Most ladies seem to accumulate more jewelry than can be held by any one box—regardless of size. On the other hand, they only wear their favorite stuff that can fix in your box. Very practical. Now, I will be told differently by the lady Lumberjocks out there… but then, it is just my theory.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View CharlieM1958's profile


15693 posts in 2855 days

#5 posted 12-08-2010 at 07:22 PM


-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 2082 days

#6 posted 12-08-2010 at 08:22 PM

Well done. Fantastic design & craftsmanship.

View a1Jim's profile


112030 posts in 2214 days

#7 posted 12-08-2010 at 08:29 PM

Smooth clean lines, simple but elegant.

-- Custom furniture

View dpow's profile


457 posts in 1481 days

#8 posted 12-08-2010 at 08:30 PM

Simple yet very unique. Great contrast with the finishes. Thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

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Mark Blomster

105 posts in 1622 days

#9 posted 12-08-2010 at 09:04 PM

Nice work. That is a sleek looking box she is sure to love.

View littlecope's profile


2898 posts in 2139 days

#10 posted 12-08-2010 at 09:39 PM

Slick and Sleek and Sharp!! Nice Work, my Friend, on a very appealing Box!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View stefang's profile (online now)


12977 posts in 1971 days

#11 posted 12-09-2010 at 04:48 AM

I like 3 things about your box Howard. It’s stylish, different and well made.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 1702 days

#12 posted 12-09-2010 at 05:09 AM

Very interesting box. Well designed, soft simple lines. What did you use inside the holes?

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Firefighter's profile


95 posts in 1411 days

#13 posted 12-09-2010 at 06:47 AM

I always enjoy seeing solutions like undercutting the holes. The imperfect felt would drive me crazy, but I don’t think I would have thought of your solution. Great work.

View patron's profile


13022 posts in 1978 days

#14 posted 12-09-2010 at 06:57 AM

very well done

she will love it

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View SPalm's profile


4800 posts in 2519 days

#15 posted 12-09-2010 at 07:41 AM

And very clever.

Good job,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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