Jewelry Box #3 - Purpleheart and Oak

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Project by RandyMorter posted 02-25-2011 05:51 AM 2246 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first box out of nice wood. The sides are purpleheart and the trim is oak. I have 1/4” plywood for the bottom of the main box and the tray.

It’s about 7” wide by 4-5/16” deep and about 5” tall. The side dimensions were based on the golden ratio.

I had problems with cutting the purple heart as you can see on the inside of the box. And that was with a piece of backing material. I think it’s time to upgrade my blade. Those cuts were done on my Ryobi miter saw which is 5 years old or so, and still has the stock blade in it. Not that a lot of wood has passed through it in that time, but I think I need a finer tooth blade if I want to get better cuts with this type of wood.

I came up with the idea for the sliding tray as something to try. It just slides left to right in the dado but can’t be removed. I had problems with it though – I decided I needed to spray some shellac in the interior before glue up since it’d be hard to reach once the tray was in it after it was glued up. However that caused the tray to bind. I ended up having to sand the edges of the tray (I was thankful for the Ridgid belt sander for this). I also waxed the inside of the dado cut to help the sliding and now it slides easily. The tray is two pieces of purpleheart with rabbets glued to the plywood bottom. The plywood bottom extends past the edges of the purpleheart to fit into the dados of the interior front and back.

I put white felt on the bottom of the box and tray. I didn’t want to flock because I didn’t want to cover the purpleheart (although covering the tearout was tempting!). The felt went on pretty easily because I put it on the pieces before glue up (I couldn’t have put the bottom piece on with the tray in place).

I tried doing a framed lid. It’s not bad but I learned afterwards you should just glue the frame and then fit the center piece to it. I actually glued all 5 pieces together at the same time. I was still happy with how square it turned out but it was a bear getting it to line up and stay that way. It doesn’t really show but the oak pieces are chamfered on the inside / bottom of the lid to the depth of the insert so the insert had to be held up during glue up. I was able to use my new drill press to drill the holes for the hinges and REALLY liked that I had it available!

The oak base does not wrap all the way around (I guess I forgot to take a picture of the base and the units in the mail now). It’s only 3/4” wide pieces with miter joints glued to the front and two sides.

I used some danish oil on the oak to help bring out the grain, spray shellac on the interior, and General Finish Arm-R-Seal on the exterior. Finsished it off with some paste wax. I don’t know if I’ll use much else!

This is going to my oldest grand-daughter.

Lessons Learned
1. Purpleheart is prone to tear out, at least with my saw blade (I didn’t have any issues with the router).
2. For framed lids, complete the frame first and then fit the insert to it, sanding a little at a time for a good fit.
3. Fill in the grain on the oak for a more polished look.
4. Time to move on to some better joints and deeper lids.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

10 comments so far

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 02-25-2011 06:38 AM

Brand new saw blade for me and PH still tears out. That stuff is a pain to work with but a beauty when finished.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View timberwolf43's profile


8 posts in 2831 days

#2 posted 02-25-2011 07:20 AM

looks good!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4419 days

#3 posted 02-25-2011 03:46 PM

Very beautiful box. It came out perfectly. You know we are our own worse critics. LOL. I don’t know why that is, but we all are impelled to point out the flaws in our projects.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 02-25-2011 04:25 PM

Thanks guys.

Dan – what a drag. I’ve seen other people do nice things with PH too. Maybe a hand saw?

jockmike2 – you are correct. Maybe we just see in our minds eye the perfection we’re striving for and when it doesn’t happen the problems just glare out. Why we have to defend or point them out to others is a mystery though!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3291 days

#5 posted 02-25-2011 07:47 PM

Nice looking box Randy, I like your choice of woods, they compliment each other nicely, looks like you are really starting to build a collection, good job, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3537 days

#6 posted 02-25-2011 09:25 PM

nice box
i use purple heart a lot i have very little issue with tear out good quaity blades that are keep sharp
and you should have no problems

-- self proclaimed copycat

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2862 days

#7 posted 02-26-2011 08:10 PM

Thanks Mic and Eddy. Eddy – what blades do you use? I hear the most about the Forrest and Freud.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3537 days

#8 posted 02-27-2011 06:13 PM

i have a few blades but the 2 i use the mose are a freuf 50 tooth cross cut and a 24 tooth thin kirf rip blade
both of the blades work great. i also have a oshlun 50 tooth blade that i use when the other blades are out for sharpening. if you get a freud get the industiral type from woodcraft or rockler i made the mistake of getting a home center ones and they made 1 cut and started to burn the wood. after you get some good blades find a good place to have them sharpemed when they need to be done. i had mine done at a place in south phoenix worst job i have ever had. any other questions on blades and the like just pm me i have made a lot of mistakes and have leared a lot on the way

-- self proclaimed copycat

View learnin2do's profile


889 posts in 3024 days

#9 posted 03-16-2011 08:28 PM

I can’t nail anything together! -drywall screws all the way!
-but it looks like you do an exquisite job of woodworking -and something i can’t do -square

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2862 days

#10 posted 03-16-2011 09:05 PM

Thanks Christine – you’re too kind.

I haven’t updated the description above, but this box arrived at my grand-daughters in pieces. I was pretty dismayed. I figured out what I did wrong but that doesn’t help. I’d sprayed shellac on the insides of all four sides because I wasn’t going to be able to finish them easily with the sliding tray. Then it sat for a month before I completed it. When I glued the four sides together I didn’t clean the shellac off of the joints so I was just gluing shellac to shellac. After being jostled by Fed Ex, it all came apart (except for the pieces I’d glued properly, the top and the tray). I should be able to fix it but it’s pretty embarrassing!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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