Routed Shell Boxes

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Project by SPalm posted 01-06-2012 03:38 PM 4843 views 16 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I like this design. I have been prototyping this for a while and the work seems to have paid off. I took a trip to the wood store and tried to find something that had a shell type look in its grain and color. Nature came through. I also acquired a Beall buffing system for this project – it is awesome. My photos do not do the finish justice; shellac, Tung oil, and wax. It is about 6 inches by 9 inches.

These are two versions of a classic seashell box. It is an original design, but a lot of the features have appeared in other woodworker’s versions. The first box is out of African Rosewood. The scallops on the top were cut with a 1 inch diameter core box bit. These have a linear slant to them starting near the hinge and slowly dropping down to a .3 inch depth. Because the flutes overlap, the scallop edges have a nice scoop to them along their length.

The second box shown was my first attempt. I have reduced the size of the hinge assembly since then. The box top is made with Siberian Birdseye Elm. This top was routed with a 1/2 inch diameter core box. Again both the straight and the arc lines go deeper as the radiate out from the center. The box bottom is cherry.

This was fun. For a homemade CNC, it is really turning out to be extremely dependable.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

45 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4609 posts in 2758 days

#1 posted 01-06-2012 03:48 PM

These are beautiful, Steve. Nicely designed and expertly executed. Some people say you shouldn’t use machines, like CNC, but I disagree. The use of machines frees us to take our design and finish to a new level as you have ably demonstrated here.

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

View Woodbridge's profile


3484 posts in 2140 days

#2 posted 01-06-2012 03:56 PM

Very nice and unique boxes.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View CharlieM1958's profile


16270 posts in 3940 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 03:57 PM

These really came out great, Steve.

I love the design, and the execution is fantastic.

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

View JL7's profile


8574 posts in 2687 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 04:05 PM

Hey Steve – these are really cool. Nice choice of woods…..very unique design! The Beall system really is a nice addition to these smaller projects….


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View SteveGaskins's profile


724 posts in 2309 days

#5 posted 01-06-2012 04:30 PM

Steve – very, very nice. I have always been inspired by your work. I just love the design and the craftmanship. Thanks for posting.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View cranesgonewild's profile


344 posts in 2630 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 04:35 PM

Steve Routes Seashells with the CNC Machine.
Say that three times fast!

Good job.
As with BritBoxmaker, I like the use of CNC machines in woodworking.
It’s taking woodworking to another level.

-- I'm a Fungi --

View MShort's profile


1785 posts in 3140 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 04:39 PM

That is a great looking box Steve.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Bluepine38's profile


3370 posts in 2807 days

#8 posted 01-06-2012 04:43 PM

Once again, skill, imagination and perseverance have paid off. Wonderful looking boxes that were worth all
the work you put into them. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 78 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Karson's profile


35073 posts in 4122 days

#9 posted 01-06-2012 04:43 PM

Steve: A cool looking project. That CNC machine does a great job.


-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View ed220's profile


624 posts in 3115 days

#10 posted 01-06-2012 04:47 PM

Clever design. try cool hinge. Great job !!!

View ed220's profile


624 posts in 3115 days

#11 posted 01-06-2012 04:47 PM

Clever design. Very cool hinge. Great job !!!

View Daiku's profile


232 posts in 2629 days

#12 posted 01-06-2012 05:25 PM


Great looking box! You definitely have an eye for design.

Thanks for posting,

-- Cal Noguchi -

View Bearpaw's profile


246 posts in 3442 days

#13 posted 01-06-2012 05:44 PM

Looks very nice. I made one many years ago from a story in American Woodworker. It is still sitting on the shelve in the basement. Mine, however, do not compare to yours.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View a1Jim's profile


115929 posts in 3299 days

#14 posted 01-06-2012 05:46 PM

Steve you always have such cool and innovative projects this shell box is no exception wow this is great.

-- Custom furniture

View shipwright's profile


7622 posts in 2520 days

#15 posted 01-06-2012 05:46 PM

They look so real you had me reaching for the butter and garlic Steve.
On the “is CNC woodworking?” question I’m undecided.
I certainly think that you get a licence to call it real woodworking if you build the machine from scratch as I know you did.

Nice work as always Steve.

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

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