Jap. Style Box - 2nd Attempts

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Project by USCJeff posted 04-02-2008 06:50 AM 2709 views 3 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a second attempt at a design by Lumberjock Ryan Shervill. His original can be found

My sister and Mother saw my wife’s anniversary box that I previously posted and “commissioned” me into making a couple more. Since their Birthdays are in March and April, it worked out. Process was much faster this time as I made templates from prior box. I chose different woods this time for variety. One is Walnut/Cherry and the other is Cherry. I didn’t care for the solid cherry box as much as the other two. I feel the design needs contrast to visually work. I did however like the red felt lining against the cherry. I left the Walnut box unlined.

Question: You can’t tell so much from the photos, but on the cherry box the legs finished a darker shade than the rest of the cherry parts from the same board. I realized the end grain on the top of the leg might finish slightly darker, but all 4 legs are darker. It looks cool, just was unintended. What caused this? The finish was Wiped Danish Oil and Wiped Poly. I sanded the end grain to 320 versus 220 elsewhere. Hmm?

Thanks again Ryan.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

19 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#1 posted 04-02-2008 07:30 AM

Looks like more than an attempt to me. I don’t know if it’s just the picture, but the one on the left in the
center picture doesn’t look square to me.

The other looks great though.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4097 days

#2 posted 04-02-2008 09:14 AM

Just a camera angle thing as far as the lid being square. The lids are not attached to the box. It looks out of square because the box is hiding part of the top b/c of the angle of the photo. The front right corner is off by an 1/8” or so. I didn’t notice the shift as I tightened the clamps.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Douglas Krueger's profile

Douglas Krueger

416 posts in 3752 days

#3 posted 04-02-2008 09:52 AM


In my guesstimation the darker legs are due to the wood grain being more open as a byproduct of the sculpting. This creates a more porous surface when it comes to absorbing the oil finish.

Then again, it could have been the way you were holding your mouth while applying the oil.

-- I can so I wood but why are my learning curves always circles

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 04-02-2008 10:45 AM

Hi Jeff,

These are very nice looking boxes. You are becoming an expert in these. I am sure you have two more happy customers. The cherry box looks fine to me but some complementary wood, such as maple, would have added some visual interest to it. I think that because it is monochromatic you tend to favor the other one.

I wish I could help you with your observation about the legs but why they absorbed more of the oil and poly I really don’t know. Normally sanding to a higher grit will help even out the natural adsorption by the end grain. But in any case it does add some visual interest to the box.

Nice job.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 3950 days

#5 posted 04-02-2008 11:05 AM

Hi Jeff, very nice boxes, the curves add interest and draw the viewers eye. I like the complementary woods option the best. Tell me though, how are the side panels joined to the legs? Many thanks Colin

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3991 days

#6 posted 04-02-2008 01:53 PM

Great looking boxes, Jeff. A little better than an attempt I think.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3903 days

#7 posted 04-02-2008 02:08 PM

These are a couple of nice boxes. Good work.

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2131 posts in 3777 days

#8 posted 04-02-2008 02:31 PM

Very nice boxes Jeff. Great job!

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4097 days

#9 posted 04-02-2008 02:32 PM

Colin, The corners are glued butt joints. This is obviously the weakest of all joints, but I felt it would be adequate given the use. If you look at Ryan’s original, he went a different way. He mitered the sides initially and then cut away a square to accept the legs. This not only would be stronger, it would have eliminated my alignment issue as well. I’ll confess since you asked, there are two brads used on the walnut box (I know, the shame!). I wanted to use small biscuits and will next time, but the smallest I had in the shop at the time was 10’s. The brads helped to hold the sides while clamping. Ironically, the box with the 2 brads is out of square. The woodworking god’s must be punishing me for cheating. :)

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4097 days

#10 posted 04-02-2008 02:35 PM

Thanks Dig-Dug. I’ll buy your explanation. It seems feasible. I also wondered if the end grain distributed more stain throughout by absorbong the oils deeper into the wood via it’s natural strawlike makeup.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3904 days

#11 posted 04-02-2008 02:46 PM


I like the darker color on the end grain!

You might be able to control absorption a little better by applying some shellac on the end grain prior to applying anything else. As an alternative, you might try also going to a higher grit; this may reduce the darkening some, but not entirely.

I believe the contrast is a nice bonus!

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4247 days

#12 posted 04-02-2008 02:48 PM

Are you sure the legs are really darker, or do they just appear to be darker because the light hits the grain from a different angle? I’ve seen that effect before.

They are very nice boxes. For the record, I like the all-cherry one best.

After reading Gary’s comment I went back and looked. It may be an optical illusion, but the box on the left (the box NOT the lid) really does look trapezoidal.

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

View Mark's profile


316 posts in 4162 days

#13 posted 04-02-2008 03:51 PM


Your sister and mother will be very pleased and proud. You did a good job on each and they are pieces that will long be remembered.


-- Mark

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 3841 days

#14 posted 04-02-2008 04:18 PM

Nice Work Mark :)

The reason the legs are darker is because you are looking mostly at end-grain. As you cut the scallops out of the leg, you are actually exposing the end-grain on an angle. Some time in bright sunlight will cause the colours to even out though.



-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4097 days

#15 posted 04-02-2008 05:09 PM

Yeah Charlie, definitely a trapezoid on the left box. You can really tell since the front sides attach to the legs at slightly different spots. Gotta remember to recheck after tightening the clamps next time. I think I’ll make some small right angle braces for the future or perhaps choose a better joinery method.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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