Sea Scallop Routed Box

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Project by SPalm posted 789 days ago 3061 views 9 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made another shell box with my homemade CNC, but this time I spent a lot of energy with the shell design itself. I really like the African Rosewood that I had used before. It routes like a dream, and has a grain and color that goes with the shell motif. I have a board that is about 5.5 inches wide, and just over an inch thick – so that determined the size. I was off to Google Images to find pictures of shells.

Once I found one that I liked, I imported it into my CAD system, and sized the picture to match my wood. Then I drew on top of the picture – on different layers, and using vectors. I soon discovered that the shell has two circle center points. The profile of the shell is a circle centered in the shell, while the rays were centered at the bottom. Maybe a Duh for everyone else, but if you look at my previous shells, I only had one center point. I just don’t see it unless someone bops me on the head.

Then came the artist’s implementation stuff. It looked so much better if the left half exactly matched the right half, if the rays or grooves were spread equally and had a slight curve, and the hinge box size was reduced. So the end result is close – well close enough. I really like it.

The top is half inch thick, and the bottom is a full inch. It is finished with shellac, oil, and then wax. The inside of the hinge box was squared up with a chisel, and the hinge pin is a bamboo skewer.


Oh – self promotion: Vectric is the maker of the CAD/CAM system that I use. They are an English company with a worldwide reach. They just did a ‘Case Study’ of me for their quarterly news letter. Yikes.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

46 comments so far

#1 posted 789 days ago

Wow you always do something special great design.

-- (L an D Woodworks)

View KnotCurser's profile


1814 posts in 1703 days

#2 posted 789 days ago

That is a very sweet container – I love the natural look!

BTW, this past Monday a package was delivered to my door and once I figure it out, should be able to produce what you are doing as well! Yup, I am now a CNC owner and user. :-)

I’ll keep you posted.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View JL7's profile


7131 posts in 1599 days

#3 posted 789 days ago

Hey Steve – that is really incredible…and I had to ponder your 2 center points for a bit – I get it now, but would have missed it before. Nature comes up with some pretty incredible shapes and few have the skills to reproduce them. You are an exception to that.

I can see you have some serious time and effort on this one and the results are worth it. Nicely done.

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View a1Jim's profile


112018 posts in 2211 days

#4 posted 789 days ago

Wow this is way cool Steve what a wonderful box and design.

-- Custom furniture

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7685 posts in 2686 days

#5 posted 789 days ago

WOW, Steve…

You’re really getting that CNC machine to stand up and whistle Dixie!

SUPER work!

Thank you for sharing your wonderful Craftsmanship again!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View SASmith               's profile


1576 posts in 1621 days

#6 posted 789 days ago

I would have missed the two circle center points if you had not pointed it out.
I enjoyed the article from vectric.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View fernandoindia's profile


1073 posts in 1578 days

#7 posted 789 days ago

Impressive work Steve. Picture #1 looks as a natural shell.


Seems your CNC is rocking

-- Back home. Fernando

View Ger21's profile


622 posts in 1765 days

#8 posted 789 days ago

Congrats on the Vectric writeup. And nice work on the shell. :-)

-- Gerry,

View Dustmite97's profile


430 posts in 1854 days

#9 posted 789 days ago

That’s one cool box, excellent work :)

View shipwright's profile


4931 posts in 1432 days

#10 posted 789 days ago

Wow Steve. That’s just superb.

Where would we be without google images?
Personally I’d be down one tea clipper, an albatross, a seiner, three roses…... you get it, just about all my marquetry images started out on the great google in the sky.

You’ve done this one proud and congrats on the well deserved recognition.

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

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7685 posts in 2686 days

#11 posted 789 days ago


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !

... on your recognition article!

That is wonderful!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 1555 days

#12 posted 789 days ago

Beautiful, just like everything you make. Ok, ok, I’ll take a copy of the vectric file if you make me. = )

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 1555 days

#13 posted 789 days ago

Wow, nice writeup Mr. Palm. You deserve it, you cnc and vectric work is exceptional. I have yet to cut
my Sea Salt box. It’s been really hot here and with the forest fires we’ve been kind of busy here in
Fort Collins. Nice job.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View peteg's profile


2865 posts in 1457 days

#14 posted 789 days ago

fabulous work again Steve, & congratulations on your Case Study selection, well deserved :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View CharlieM1958's profile


15691 posts in 2852 days

#15 posted 789 days ago

Very, very impressive, Steve. You’ve taken the combination of woodworking and technology to a new level!

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

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