Sewing Box

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Project by wheresmytools posted 2325 days ago 2761 views 17 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My oldest daughter likes to sew and for her 10th birthday I decided to make a sewing box for her. She had been given one of those fabric ones, but it couldn’t contain all the stuff she wanted to keep together. So I searched high and low for a neat design and saw an old Dutch sewing box for sale on Ebay. No, I didn’t buy it; we’re lumberjocks, so I said “I can make that”. I didn’t know about Sketchup then, so I drew it up in Visio. It was a lot of trial and error trying to get the expanding part working right where the boxes opened up enough, but still have enough support from the box below. The whole box is 15”(w) x 9”(d) x 12”(h), not including the handle; which extends about 2” above the box.

Box Opened

After I got the design down, I looked for the right wood. I had a bit of cherry lumber from a friend’s farm and some cool wenge for the corner splines. I was able to find a real show piece of crotch cherry from an east TN lumber mill. I decided to make the boxes 1/2” thick to absorb the abuse kids would give it. 3/8” probably would have been just as sturdy and a lot lighter.

The mitered boxes were made and glued up and then the splines were cut in a jig on the table saw. The splines are just a kerf thick, cut thin on the table saw and then planed by hand to the proper thickness.

The handle and bun feet were turned from tulip wood (she likes it because it’s pink). The finish is pure tung oil cut with orange solvent. I inserted thin nylon washers between the box and the extending arms to make the operation easier and not scuff the cherry.

My wife likes it so much, I have to make another. This one will be tiger maple with wenge splines, turned extending wenge arms, feet and handle.

I’ve posted a pdf version of the design here. The first page is the sizing and hole locations, the second is a cutting plan and the third is a chip carving design that I was going to use until I got my hands on the figured cherry top. The plan does not show however, the 1/4” x 1/4” dadoe to receive the 1/4” plywood bottom, the dadoe is 1/4” up from the bottom of the boxes. The plan also doesn’t show the chamfer that I added to the top outside lip of the boxes to make it easier to lift and gives each seperate box a little neater profile.

-- Charlie in TN, looking for his tools...

11 comments so far

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2127 posts in 2382 days

#1 posted 2325 days ago

Very nice. Similar in concept to one my wife has had for 20+ years (store bought). I’m sure your daughter will enjoy this for a very long time.

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View CharlieM1958's profile


15691 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 2325 days ago

Great litle engineering marvel there!

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

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2621 days

#3 posted 2325 days ago

Great idea there! Nice job.

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

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 2432 days

#4 posted 2325 days ago

really nice.. my daughter would be jealous

-- making sawdust....

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 2407 days

#5 posted 2325 days ago

Beautiful sewing box and you did a great job on it. I am sure your daughter loved it. Thanks for posting.

God bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 2567 days

#6 posted 2324 days ago

This is cool! I can see a lot of different applications for the same concept. Thanks for sharing!

-- Robb

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2455 days

#7 posted 2324 days ago

This is both a well engineered and well constructed box. And it is beautiful as well. I am sure that your daughter really appreciates it.

Thanks for the post.

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

View Brigham's profile


9 posts in 2323 days

#8 posted 2304 days ago

I’m interested in making this or something similar for my mother. Any advice vis a vis design or the workload?

View mcoyfrog's profile


3055 posts in 2227 days

#9 posted 1955 days ago

wow that looks complicated

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View jeanlowry's profile


27 posts in 2102 days

#10 posted 1329 days ago

Great sewing box. If you don’t mind me asking, how are you attaching the arms used to swing the boxes out? This question even sounds weird to me, but I hope you understand what I am asking.

-- Jean, Colorado, find time to make some dust!

View bigike's profile


4031 posts in 1922 days

#11 posted 1329 days ago

very nice job.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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