Box Guy and Greer Keep Trying

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Project by Boxguy posted 09-29-2012 04:51 AM 6528 views 47 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: a jewelry box made from one solid piece of redwood burl. It is 12 1/2 inches tall, and an equilateral triangle with 8 1/2 inches on each of three sides. The finish is 4 coats of wipe-on poly applied with a one inch foam brush and carefully sanded with 800 grit paper after each coat. Then finished with Johnson’s Paste Wax applied with steel wool. The bark inclusions were filled with black epoxy and ground up alabaster then sanded.

Story: This box is a true collaboration. Most of the ideas were Greer’s a few were mine. We talked through the problems and concepts and methods of working as we went. Greer did almost all of the actual cutting in my shop and all of the sanding and finishing at his home. Making boxes with friends can teach you more than just woodworking. Working with Greer taught me that having buddies build boxes in my shop adds to the fun and is a great way to share learning.

Greer came across this wonderful burl in the course of his job as a veneer expert. It is a “core” left over after the veneer has been turned off the outside. There was a large bark inclusion in one side, and a crack or check in another area. Those flaws led us to the triangular shape as a way of salvaging the sound wood in the piece.

That shape in turn led us to the idea of spinning the sliced-up piece to get to the jewelry storage area. On a romantic note, Greer gave this jewelry box to the love of his life with an engagement ring inside. She accepted, and they are now a very happily married couple.

Construction Notes: You need a very definate sequence of steps in making this. It works a lot like making a band saw box.

1. Cut the three sides using a plywood pattern screwed onto each of the two ends. The plywood slides along on an extended bandsaw table clamped to the regular table.
2. Drill the long rod hole NOW almost the entire length of the piece so when you re-assemble the wood everything will line up perfectly. Stop a little short of drilling through the top of the box.
3. Slice off the top and bottom.
4. Slice off the back.
5. With the triangular “drawer” section still in one piece, round off the pivoting corner of the triangle.
6. Slice your “drawer” sections into drawers.
7. Use a Fostner bit to drill out the drawer storage section.
8. Insert a tight-fitting metal rod threaded at each end and draw up the drawers tightly with nuts before sanding anything.
9. We used a wide nylon washer between each drawer and tightened the nuts on each end of the rod pretty tightly, and it works very, very smoothly as the drawers glide and turn in and out.
10. Trim one of the end drawers a bit thinner to let the spacer-washers and fit-ups work out with the length of the back board.
11. We used screws in the bottom so we could take it apart and fit it together as we worked out the spacers and the top and bottom.

Thanks: to everyone who takes time to look at this. A special thanks to all who take time to make comments or offer advice. As always keep boxing and keep posting.

P. S. Greer asked me to thank all of you for your support and comments.

-- Big Al in IN

45 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3512 days

#1 posted 09-29-2012 05:26 AM

That is an absolutely awesome box.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30064 posts in 2542 days

#2 posted 09-29-2012 05:26 AM

Very very nice

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


8725 posts in 3046 days

#3 posted 09-29-2012 05:43 AM

Art in a box! A wow piece. Nice job guys!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SebLolo's profile


65 posts in 2420 days

#4 posted 09-29-2012 06:31 AM

Very very nice Job ! And amazing result ! Congratulations.
I think, I’ll do one for my lovely wife when I’ll have time. Thx for her boxguy.


View murch's profile


1380 posts in 2828 days

#5 posted 09-29-2012 07:37 AM

Looks wonderful. I love the bird in pic 2.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View michelletwo's profile


2767 posts in 3219 days

#6 posted 09-29-2012 09:57 AM


View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3008 days

#7 posted 09-29-2012 10:23 AM

Outstanding!! and Wow, of coarse. Way kool. Gr8 collaboration

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

View Boxguy's profile


2765 posts in 2471 days

#8 posted 09-29-2012 10:32 AM

Responses to night owls and international viewers.

Greg, Hope your sales are going well. Your work keeps evolving in small, but significant ways.

Monte and Doc, thanks…always nice to hear from you guys.

Sheb, glad to hear from the French contingent. The key chains were fun to see. If I can help…ask. Keep to the sequence.

Murch, I liked your ash bowls dried in the microwave…nice forms. We can’t claim credit for the wonderful things we find hidden in the souls of trees…but the bird form was a real surprise.

Michelle, your router/lathe creations are really fun forms to see…what wild colors!

Roger, good morning. Looks like you have gone pen turning wild.

-- Big Al in IN

View TimWood's profile


196 posts in 2445 days

#9 posted 09-29-2012 11:01 AM

Al….you know that crowd you’re running with have gotten you doing some strange things. I don’t want to see my little Al get all MESSED UP with these people working on these equilateral new art deco projects!!! Come home little Al….we love you….show us a box….you know you wanna make one ….ANDY….KENT….JOEY….please try to reason with our friend….it’s those kids he’s hanging with…..... :)

-- Tim Harrelson

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2379 days

#10 posted 09-29-2012 11:32 AM

By far this is one of the finest Pieces that I can recall seeing on LJ. Every day brings better and more beautiful work of art from members of this site. You have done your share of art work in your boxes. Keep up the great work and I want to thank you for the advice you have given me and posting of how to make the straps to keep our boxes square.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2476 days

#11 posted 09-29-2012 11:43 AM

Big Al,

‘Thinking Outside the Box’, and beautifully done.

The Bark Inclusion, IMHO, is a natural jewel in this piece.

Very nicely done. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2718 days

#12 posted 09-29-2012 01:02 PM

This is a true piece of art where the builders let the wood drive the project. Taking the triangle section as the best salvagable piece was great, and it made for a wonderful design that I’m sure will become an heirloom for someone!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 4011 days

#13 posted 09-29-2012 01:06 PM

Has ‘cool factor.’

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2394 days

#14 posted 09-29-2012 01:15 PM


-- Marty.Athens,AL

View dclark1943's profile


270 posts in 2391 days

#15 posted 09-29-2012 01:21 PM

you do wonderful work, and a good job of explaining your process’s as well. Keep up the great work!

-- Dave, Kansas City

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