LumberJocks

Maple Burl Jewelry Box

  • Advertise with us
Project by RogerBean posted 07-26-2011 01:51 PM 5181 views 37 times favorited 53 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This maple burl box is the third shaped front box I’ve made. While the shape is not directly taken from any existing piece I know of, it’s intended to speak to the 1800 – 1830 period. The front shape is more complex to build and involves many small pieces and converging angles caused by the curved lid meeting the shaped front. A straight sided, rectangular box now seems comparatively straightforward. (Though I enjoy making them as well.)

Some details: The box is 10 1/8” wide by 7 1/4” deep by 4 3/4” high. The substrate is Baltic birch ply and MDF, veneered with a really special “coral heart maple burl” from B&B Rare Woods, and now long gone. (Interestingly, this veneer was quite pink when raw, but has toned off to more golden with the added French polish.)

Veneer that would be spectacular on a table top, usually doesn’t excel on a box, insofar as the patterns and sheets tend to be too big, or too consistent, and hence come out somewhat bland on a small box. To my taste, ideal box veneer has high contrast, vivid colors, and very tight, small patterns. In other words, a lot going on in a very small space because you’re usually matching pieces only 4 by 6 inches or so. The coloring in this piece is unlike any maple I’ve seen. I decided to let the lid and front flow over the top edge from the same book-matched piece of veneer. The sides and back are matched up with the lid and front so the pattern flows around, and into the lid.

The edging is boxwood, outlined by a fine inlayed line of black/black/pear/black. The inner edge of the lid and base are accented with a black/maple/black line that runs into the side rail quadrant hinges. The full mortise lock and brass escutcheon from WhiteChapel have been polished to match the hinges. This box has my usual side rail quadrant hinges, as I had installed them prior to receiving my first shipment of the great new SmartHInges (which I plan to use on future projects).

The interior is lined with claret leather. I like unexpected details in the interior, so this one contains a tray, with shaped dividers and two separate interior boxes. The tray is Jacaranda rosewood, while the two small boxes are veneered with pippy English yew outside and lined inside with very plain white maple. Lids are solid, of figured claro walnut, bookmatched to mirror each other. The turned oosik lifts are inlayed with a small bit of mother of pearl. There is also a small 5/8” high “secret document compartment” inside a false bottom. Pressing firmly on one end lifts the panel. (I’d include a photo, but then it wouldn’t be a secret.) :-)

The base of the main box is edged with solid maple (to cover the ply and MDF) and the bottom is veneered in a curly maple, but I’ve since covered it with leather, as the curly maple seemed out of place. I like the idea that you can turn a fine box any way you want, including upside down, and every aspect is carefully finished, and hopefully delights the eye.

The front is, not surprisingly, the most challenging part, involving many separate veneering operations, inlayed lines, and pieces of boxwood edging. The downward slope of the lid creates odd angles, so nearly all the lines and pieces needed to be fitted with a scalpel and chisel. A necessity, but then this box is all about small details, anyway.

I make no secret of the design and craftsmanship debt I owe to Andrew Crawford. Both for his books and the time I’ve been fortunate to spend with him. I am, in no way, his equal, but perhaps he will smile a bit at this modified, periodized “shaped-front” attempt at emulating his work. :-)

Thanks for looking in. ...and keep making boxes!

Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)





53 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2904 days


#1 posted 07-26-2011 02:26 PM

Whenever I get an email notification that you have posted a new project, I can’t get here fast enough to see what you have created!

Another truly stunning piece, Roger. As always, it is the attention to detail that sets your work apart.

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

View jbschutz's profile

jbschutz

399 posts in 1377 days


#2 posted 07-26-2011 02:52 PM

Just another masterwork, Roger. The interior boxes are an elegant touch, and the way the burl grain cascades from the lid down the front of the box is amazing. I am in awe.

-- jbschutz www.johnschutz.com

View michelletwo's profile

michelletwo

2267 posts in 1701 days


#3 posted 07-26-2011 02:59 PM

spectacular..magnificent & any other word that is large enough for this ..you are a true craftsperson.

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 1972 days


#4 posted 07-26-2011 03:14 PM

Fantastic work again Roger.
I agree with Charlie, it is exciting to see any of your work

Thanks

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View 58j35bonanza's profile

58j35bonanza

390 posts in 1378 days


#5 posted 07-26-2011 03:18 PM

This box is awesome! I just love the burl and inlay work.

-- Chuck

View bevins587's profile

bevins587

33 posts in 1300 days


#6 posted 07-26-2011 03:54 PM

Amazing!

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4400 posts in 1722 days


#7 posted 07-26-2011 04:06 PM

Roger, your boxes don’t come around that often but given the time and effort you spend on them this is by no means surprising. They are worth the wait as well, this one certainly is. I tend to agree with you on grain detail and that in the relatively small size of a box there should be a ‘lot going on’. This is probably a common goal. I do it with different woods in a small area, you do it with great grain detail. This box is a thing of beauty and a tribute to your craftsmanship.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3169 posts in 2509 days


#8 posted 07-26-2011 04:09 PM

OK I’m in when the next’s class! It a beautiful treasure box Rodger, detailing your skill level that we all inspire to achieve. Remarkable piece thanks for posting….Blkcherry

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5178 posts in 1994 days


#9 posted 07-26-2011 04:26 PM

1st. class all the way. Your work is always a joy to view.

-- We all must start somewhere in our journey of doing what we love to do.

View Daiku's profile

Daiku

199 posts in 1593 days


#10 posted 07-26-2011 04:53 PM

I’ve often asked the question “Why don’t we have great artists and craftsmen like those that existed hundreds of years ago, like in Renaissance times?”. Well, you have shown me that they do still exists! Thank you, your pieces are magnificent.

-- Cal Noguchi

View whitedog's profile

whitedog

650 posts in 2143 days


#11 posted 07-26-2011 04:57 PM

It’s always a thrill to see one of your boxes , so many great details packed in each one.

-- Paul , Calfornia

View BarryW's profile

BarryW

1015 posts in 2592 days


#12 posted 07-26-2011 05:14 PM

A lesson in true quality.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View FlWoodRat's profile

FlWoodRat

732 posts in 2595 days


#13 posted 07-26-2011 05:18 PM

Roger, this is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen on LJ’s. Thanks for sharing it.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5075 posts in 1484 days


#14 posted 07-26-2011 05:31 PM

Another outstanding box Roger. So many perfectly executed details without looking “busy”.
My personal favorite among them is the curved veneer matching.

You do such nice work.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2771 days


#15 posted 07-26-2011 05:36 PM

Beautiful. A very complicated front and lid, Roger. Spectacular work; thanks so much for sharing details with us!

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

showing 1 through 15 of 53 comments

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

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase