Sands of Mars I - The Crystals

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Project by BritBoxmaker posted 11-07-2011 07:45 PM 2933 views 7 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Inspired partly by S. F. Poem by Pete Sinfield (who wrote the best of ELP and
King Crimson’s songs), it goes -

Upon the orange sands of Mars
Beneath a scarlet sky
The crystals sit and contemplate
The universal why.
Travel in their saucer ships
Across the universe
But everywhere is much the same
Except on earth it’s worse.

This is a progression from Dinner on the Lake of Fire. It is an EZ Mitre, Shell box.
(Click the links for construction technique blogs)

Dimensions : 114mm square x 53mm high on a 124mm square x 5mm high, mitred, pedestal base.

Materials : English Yew, Ebony, Sycamore and Birch Aeroply

Adhesives : PVA and viscous CA

Finish : Spray Acrylic, Satin

For me the yew grain pattern evokes the wind blown sands of the Martian landscape and the black and white pattern is somewhat crystalline.

Some of the cutting techniques I used in this project have resulted in a slightly gappy appearance around some parts of the pattern. If you don’t make mistakes you don’t learn and its a dull day when you don’t learn anything. For me this project was both challenging and interesting.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

43 comments so far

View michelletwo's profile


2744 posts in 3044 days

#1 posted 11-07-2011 07:48 PM

interesting color choices..terrific design, and grand craftsmanship. I never know what the names you give things mean, but i love them anyway!

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4114 days

#2 posted 11-07-2011 07:53 PM

I really like this one, Martyn, as it celebrates the wood grain and is not overwhelmed by the pattern, but accentuated by it.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#3 posted 11-07-2011 07:54 PM

Before I even read the description, I thought to myself how outstanding the grain and color of the yew is. It is the first thing that caught my eye. Part of the beauty of this design is that it allows the focus to be on that part of the piece. You did another incredible job on this one, Martyn. I love this style that you have evolved to. Beautiful work and box!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3663 days

#4 posted 11-07-2011 07:56 PM

Brilliant mate!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2962 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 08:02 PM

It’s beautifull Martyn,

The grain on the top seem to converge towards the center.

Great design.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3910 days

#6 posted 11-07-2011 08:16 PM

That Yew is beautiful. I like how the sides have horizontal grain, and does not flow to the top. But visually it does. Good job, Sir.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View shipwright's profile


7994 posts in 2826 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 08:21 PM

Beautiful, Martyn

The crystalline ship seems to touch down on the Martian sands with four dainty feet in spider-like fashion.

I like the simplicity

Another winner… and you got to learn something, .... it just doesn’t get any better than that.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 08:23 PM

Striking pattern and lovely selection of woods. We don’t get to see much yew in the solid here in the colonies. Works really nicely here. Nice feel to it, to say the least.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 08:27 PM

Stunning! Once again, I knew it had to be yours from the moment I laid eyes on it.

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

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2455 days

#10 posted 11-07-2011 08:30 PM

The “Boxologist” does it again! Your work always make me stop and think – how does he do that?

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Woodbridge's profile


3548 posts in 2446 days

#11 posted 11-07-2011 09:20 PM

beautiful box, the pattern is great as is the way you have orieted and used the wood grain.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3383 days

#12 posted 11-07-2011 09:41 PM

Each one distinctively different..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Ian Hawthorne's profile

Ian Hawthorne

297 posts in 2677 days

#13 posted 11-07-2011 09:53 PM

Yet again Martyn your work is excellent!

Great job.



-- Worlds Best Box Hardware!

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3175 days

#14 posted 11-07-2011 09:57 PM

King Crimson lyrics… The possibilities are endless. Larks tongues in aspic, perhaps?

Outstanding in every respect!

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 2859 days

#15 posted 11-07-2011 10:34 PM

A wonderful, playful design—and well executed, to boot!


-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

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