Walnut Jewelry Box with Spalted Maple Inset

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Project by rlrjr posted 10-22-2011 04:43 AM 2521 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m pretty fortunate to have a lumber yard the is pretty close to where I live: Rick Woods’ place
(The Wood He has a pretty good range of woods and will ship anywhere. I mention him because over the past year I have done some pretty serious research on the web trying to find hardware and plans and when I come across a good site (and I’m pretty picky about the quality of the hardware and lumber) I like to share the URl with other lumberjocks and maybe save everyone some time and grief on locating supplies.

He has a table in his shop where he sells unique pieces of small lumber and this is where I got the spalted maple that I used for an inlay on this box. The piece of maple was about 6” by 6” by 8” and I got it for $10.00. I took it back to the shop and re-sawed several pieces from it.

The box is made of walnut with the spalted maple inlay. The quadrant hinges I got from Kennedy’s Hardware (also on the web) and the dovetail corner posts are maple. Finish is four coats of Danish Tung oil. I guess I need to expand my experience with different finishing products but tung oil is so easy and produces such a good finish that right now I’m too lazy to look into other areas.

-- When I works, I works hard. When I sits, I sits loose. And when I thinks I falls asleep.--

10 comments so far

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 10-22-2011 09:42 AM

Very nice -love the dovetails in different timber to match the the lid

-- Theresa,

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3525 days

#2 posted 10-22-2011 10:52 AM

Great Job RLR!!

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

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

516 posts in 3709 days

#3 posted 10-22-2011 03:21 PM

very nice, and dealing with rick at the wood yard is a pleasure.

-- Joe, Ga

View Woodwrecker's profile


4153 posts in 3598 days

#4 posted 10-22-2011 04:57 PM

Super nice all the way around.
That corner post design really stands out in a nice way, and the inlay top piece is beautiful.
Also, Tung oil is one of my favorites too.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3257 days

#5 posted 10-23-2011 06:26 AM

Looks great! love the dovetails corners. what did you use to cut the deep mortises on the hinges? Just tried them for the first time, look nice but what a pain. Nice work.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View rlrjr's profile


65 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 10-23-2011 02:28 PM


For small hinges I use a 3/8” bullnose router bit. I set the fence to where the bit is fully exposed in front of the fence and then back the bit in just slightly. I usually cut 6” x 6” blocks of wood that are 3/8” thick. The first pass through the bit is with the wood lying flat on the table with the grain pointed towards the bit. The second pass I run with the blank standing on edge with the barrel facing the fence. Change the bit to a 1/2” straight bit and laying the hinge flat on the table I make multiple passes to remove the waste to create the flanges. When you put the straight bit in I make sure that the bit height matches the thickness of the partial flange created by the 2nd pass through the bullnose bit. A general rule is to keep the thickness of the hinge flange no thicker than 1/2 the barrel thickness or the flanges will not fit flat against each other. For a 3/8” barrel that would be 3/16 ”.

All of this is done at the router table rather than trying to make a jig of some sort. Much easier.

If the flanges don’t fit together after all of this work just sand them down by hand until they do. I make up my own sanding sticks from used sandpaper. Usually the edges of the sandpaper used in my palm sander are still pretty good and I cut them off and glue them to flat sticks (much like Popsicle sticks) on both sides of the stick. 150 grit paper will do the work in good time and I usually finish with 400 grit.

-- When I works, I works hard. When I sits, I sits loose. And when I thinks I falls asleep.--

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3257 days

#7 posted 10-25-2011 02:55 AM

Thanks for the info, may give it another shot. I like the way they look and aren’t very expensive compared to some others but cutting out the recess for the support arm was though.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View rlrjr's profile


65 posts in 2862 days

#8 posted 10-25-2011 03:54 AM


Please excuse my ignorance as I was talking about a very different hinge when I answered your question. On quadrant hinges, which is on this box, I use a drill press to cut the deep mortises. The hinge width is just over 3/8” so I use a 1/4” forstner bit. I get the drill press table parallel to the box (which takes a little trial and error) then lock it down. I have a back board on the table that I clamp the box to after I’ve put it together. I mark the depth that I want on the drill bit and just start drilling consecutive holes close to each other. Usually I have cut the mortise for the hinge to set into and cut the mortise on the router table first. I found out that it is a little easier if I sacrifice a hinge by removing the support arm. This allows me to lay the hinge flat on the surface of the box edge and outline it with a pencil. I also outline the screw holes so I know where to stop drilling the mortise.

This doesn’t leave much stock on the outside edges of the box side but I try to be as careful as I can and even if that small sliver of wood on either side of the hinge breaks off it really doesn’t take away from the look all that much. Of course, making the sides of the box thicker would make things a little easier too.

Once I drill out the mortise it’s a matter of trial and error to see if there is enough room for the support arm to go all the way into the mortise without binding and I usually have to trim the inside with a wood chisel a couple of times before the hinge opens and closes properly.

-- When I works, I works hard. When I sits, I sits loose. And when I thinks I falls asleep.--

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3141 days

#9 posted 11-16-2011 03:43 AM

Great looking box, nice wood and fine craftsmanship make this a real “eye catcher”, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Robert Cole's profile

Robert Cole

13 posts in 3029 days

#10 posted 11-16-2011 06:46 PM

Very nice. Well designed and pleasing to the eye. You know its good when nothing in particular “catches your eye” but everything is eye catching.

-- Bob, Ohio,

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