Sycamore and teak box

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Project by Steve O posted 729 days ago 1803 views 17 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I remodeled my house a few years ago and had to remove an American sycamore tree. This was my first attempt at going from tree to finished project. Unfortunately, some of the wood developed staining from my ignorance about drying wood. But some of the pieces had intriguing patterns that I just couldn’t throw away. This is one of the boxes from that learning experience.

The top is book matched then mitered at the front edge for a “waterfall” effect, and reinforced with a gusset. The knob is oil-rubbed bronze in a vaguely contemporary/Asian style that I got at Chown Hardware in Portland, OR.

The box itself is from a scrap of teak I found in my father’s shop when we were cleaning it out after he passed away. So, while I’ve had a couple of offers for it, there’s a sentimental value that overwhelms any desire to sell it or give it away.

-- Steve O in Oregon

17 comments so far

View woodpezzer's profile


123 posts in 791 days

#1 posted 729 days ago

Nice waterfall effect. I like the way you built the lid. Very unique. It’s a keeper for sure. Really nice craftmanship here! Great job!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

12978 posts in 925 days

#2 posted 729 days ago

Like the concept for the lid. Nice looking. The staining or spalting is what makes unique.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View NedB's profile


658 posts in 2152 days

#3 posted 729 days ago

Handsome Box, that waterfall effect is very appealing! added to my favorites

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1838 days

#4 posted 729 days ago

Very cool. I like the lid design as well.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 836 days

#5 posted 729 days ago

Great design, I like how you incorporated the waterfall effect very much. Great job!

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View MisterBill's profile


337 posts in 838 days

#6 posted 729 days ago

How did you hinge the box? Wood, metal?

View ShaneA's profile


5212 posts in 1185 days

#7 posted 729 days ago

Beautiful. The wood looks amazing.

View blackcherry's profile


3145 posts in 2410 days

#8 posted 729 days ago

Nice design concept on this one…thanks for posting BC

View tomd's profile


1719 posts in 2357 days

#9 posted 729 days ago

Beautiful grain and color, great box.

-- Tom D

View gfadvm's profile


10438 posts in 1277 days

#10 posted 729 days ago

Cool design with the front/top both hinged together. The waterfall effect with the sycamore makes this project very unique. That is some of the darkest teak I have seen. Does it darken this much with age?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile (online now)


1401 posts in 854 days

#11 posted 728 days ago


This design is all about the lid, and you have really capitalized on showing off the grain in the top piece. The flow of the grain across the top and down the front is a real eye grabber. Nice work.

The gusset is a necessary evil to re-enforce both the book matched joint and miter, but it meant you had to chamfer the front of your top tray. Did you consider shaping your gusset more like a traditional quarter round? Putting a triangle at each end would work too, but the gusset you have used is much more mechanically sound and more straight forward. The exposed lock joint at the bottom is another interesting choice.

Thanks for posting your work. You have created a beautiful box and it has several unique design features. I especially liked the story of the wood. Have you considered writing that down and putting it inside the box?

-- Big Al in IN

View Tootles's profile


674 posts in 1088 days

#12 posted 728 days ago

That’s a great box! I love the way the lid works to allow the top tray to slide out rather than be lifted.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View kiefer's profile


2937 posts in 1254 days

#13 posted 728 days ago

Gorgeous box .
A wonderful design right down to the knob and
the sources and history of the materials adds a lot of value .

-- Kiefer 松

View DBoltz's profile


122 posts in 966 days

#14 posted 728 days ago

Nice box, indeed. It sure is a beauty to look at which is a sweet bonus to the sentimental value it has for you.

-- Dan, Virginia Beach

View Steve O's profile

Steve O

21 posts in 783 days

#15 posted 728 days ago

Thanks to all of you for the kind comments. I feel honored to be a part of this group and to have so many of my peers react so warmly to my work.

As to the details…

MisterBill – The hinges are brass pins, concealed with plugs. I used small plastic washers to maintain the consistent gap between the lid and the box. Originally the gap between the box and the square top/back edge of the lid acted as a stop, but with use the gap proved to be a little too big and it now goes all the way back. I haven’t yet figured out a solution that doesn’t look “clunky” or detract from the design. Any ideas?

gfadvm – I don’t know where the wood came from but it has some worm hole “damage” so I’m thinking it may have been in the water for a while.

-- Steve O in Oregon

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