Boxguy says,"This Music Gives Me Butterflies."

  • Advertise with us
Project by Boxguy posted 07-14-2012 08:34 PM 3670 views 9 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured is an American Walnut music box with corner splines and small rim around the top painting made of movingui. The top painting is done on White Oak and the lift out tray is White Oak with walnut corner splines. It is 16” long, 7” wide, and 4 3/4” tall.

The music works is a Sanyo 50 note movement that plays Pachelbel’s Cannon in D. I couldn’t resist playing it while I took these pictures. If you know this tune you will understand why it goes with butterflies. The melody was part of my daughter’s wedding…and she loves butterflies. This is her Christmas present.

The original art work was done by my friend Nancy. First each butterfly outline was burned-in with a hot, pointed iron pen then she painted the colors within the outlines. The top is inset in the walnut sides, but the thin frame-rim of movingui makes the yellow colors really pop.

Music box construction has some special demands. Everything in the box must be solidly glued. You don’t want to hear a buzz from vibration when the music plays. You need some kind of feet on the box to raise the bottom so the sound can get out. To ensure the movement lasts, it should be sealed off from dust and touching. I used plexiglass in this case. I wanted to be able to push a button on the front to actuate the music movement. (So my grandson can push this button at night just before he goes to sleep.) I fashioned my button from the interworkings of a “click-in, click-out” ink pen. It is better to buy the movement first and then size the box to that.

Thanks: As always, thank you for looking and a special thanks to those in Lumber Land who take the time to make comments or suggestions. I read and consider all you say.

-- Big Al in IN

23 comments so far

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2830 days

#1 posted 07-14-2012 08:45 PM

Very nice I love the mixed mediums. I think it’s great that you combine work from other artist with your own work. It really makes for a special project.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View croquetman's profile


136 posts in 3526 days

#2 posted 07-14-2012 08:59 PM

That’s great. You are lucky to have a talented friend to share your work with.

-- Whatever

View Woodwrecker's profile


4201 posts in 3780 days

#3 posted 07-14-2012 08:59 PM

Great job Al.
That came out beautifully.
I have an old movement that I would like to do something similar to this with.
Thank you for the tips on gluing & feet and such.

View dustyal's profile


1299 posts in 3679 days

#4 posted 07-14-2012 11:37 PM

Quite an heirloom for your daughter… the 50 note movement is impressive—the box is very worthy of it.

Your friend Nancy is quite the artist… well done.

BTW: any success with links?

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3508 days

#5 posted 07-14-2012 11:38 PM

what a beauty al, the art work is superb…and the box is equal to it..your daughter will enjoy this the rest of her life, and she will see this box and always remember how much dad loves his daughter…for sure…....thanks for always sharing your works of art…ive got a box coming next week, so stay tuned for the grizz,

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Hawaiilad's profile


3294 posts in 3225 days

#6 posted 07-14-2012 11:54 PM

Al you WoWed us once again with your beautiful music box…your friend did a lovely painting job on the butterflies as well.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View shipwright's profile (online now)


8166 posts in 3002 days

#7 posted 07-14-2012 11:57 PM

Very Nice Al.

I’m going to have to get you interested in marquetry. You would excel at it.
As a side note because I know you are looking into hide glue, one of the reasons musical instrument makers use it is because it dries to a hard crystal and doesn’t dampen sound. That would make it a great choice for music boxes.
I also love the recycled pen movement. .... Sweet.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2894 days

#8 posted 07-15-2012 12:31 AM

That is one of my favorites of all your posts. Your daughter will love it.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2765 posts in 2472 days

#9 posted 07-15-2012 12:46 AM

Joey, Croquer, and Larry: I recommend working with others as a way to keep your work fresh and interesting. When I see some work that I especially like at a craft fair, I just ask if they would be interested in combining talents to make a box or two. We combine our prices for the work done and offer the box for sale. Sometimes I will take one to the gallery and my teammate will take one to sell at a craft fair. I have worked with artists like Nancy, carvers, stained glass artists, weavers, basket weavers, and potters. It is fun to see who sells their box first.

Eric, music boxes are fun to make. Good luck on yours. You can get inexpensive 18 note movements at flea markets by scrapping the existing plastic or ceramic covers and making your own box. Makes a nice present for kids, and if they break the spring, just replace the movement with another 2 to 6 dollar movement.

Grizz, I am very lucky to have a loving daughter to give such things to.

Paul, my research proves you’re correct. Hide glue (your favorite) is the best transmitter of sound and is used on musical instruments almost exclusively.

Andy, thanks for the compliment. Give it a shot!

-- Big Al in IN

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3323 days

#10 posted 07-15-2012 01:39 AM

Nice Box Al, Your variety in box styles always keeps things interesting, that’s a great idea for aquiring movements at a good price, wonderful artwork on this one and a box to match, Great job, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3008 days

#11 posted 07-15-2012 01:51 AM

Really nice Big Al. Where did you wind up getting the music workings from? Thnx in advance.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2717 days

#12 posted 07-15-2012 02:26 AM

so Al what store did you buy this box at again? :) Ok I couldn’t resist got to have some humor every now and then. :)

What an awesome box! I like it and I know your daughter will too. That is beautiful, my mom would really love that box she has a thing for butterflies.

I just completed the build I had mentioned to you in a comment on one of my boxes, once I get the finish on it and flocked I’ll post it, it’s going to have a ring drawer, a neckless pull-out drawer and of course my hidden drawer 7 drawers total, I made it out of alder, Walnut and spalted hackberry. I was inspired to build this box after seeing a box my mom had on her dresser it also plays a tune when pulling out the bottom drawer, she’s had it 58 years, a wedding gift on hers and my dads marrage and yes they will have 58 years together this coming March.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Boxguy's profile


2765 posts in 2472 days

#13 posted 07-15-2012 02:29 AM

Mick, you are welcome and give music boxes.

Roger, I ordered this movement on line from “” The website is good because you can hear a section of the tune you are ordering. This movement had a small scratch and was sold at a discount as a second. The site also has some nice hints about installing these movements. Rockler’s price for the same thing is significantly higher.

All that said… is pretty rotten to deal with on the phone. Their response to my phone questions after I had already made my purchase were rude and insulting, and then they hung up. Apparently tech. support is not what they do well.

Blackie, I am looking forward to seeing your next post, and it is nice that you have parents who are setting such a good example.

-- Big Al in IN

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3270 posts in 3917 days

#14 posted 07-15-2012 03:34 AM


The music box is exquisite! The combination of music, art, and woodworking should be well received by your daughter. Thanks for sharing details so we can learn, too.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Gumnut's profile


95 posts in 2362 days

#15 posted 07-15-2012 03:36 AM

Stunning work Al,
It really pops out with the glow in the wood.
Good choice when thinking of the tune as well.

-- Peter, member of the Fine Woodwork Association

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics