"Race of Life" Jewelry Box

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Project by Tennessee posted 10-27-2012 02:03 PM 2186 views 9 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my rare artistic endeavors. A look, using wood, into how the species of the earth mingle and race for dominance, be they insects or humans.
The outside body walls are waves of alternating walnut and maple. The handles are redheart. The inner sections are old growth cedar and pine, 80 and 150 years old respectively. The base is a raw edged plank of walnut.

The walnut-maple waves represent the species as they move forward, trying to multiply and gain ground on this earth. The R shape is meant to look like speed.
The redheart handles represent the heartbreak and strife we all suffer in our lives.
The hidden drawers, notice the handles are shaped like spermatazoa, reflecting our efforts to hide our reproductive natures.
The base is a raw edged plank of walnut, reflecting the earth we live on.

This box is about 10-11 inches high, and about 12-13 inches long.

Since I’m not an intarsia or marquetry guy, I know someone will ask how I achieved the rolling waves of walnut and maple, and maintain the neat edges on glueup. The breadboard people should know this trick, it’s actually an old one.
Here it is:
Cut strips of two contrasting woods, (in this case walnut and maple), and cut them double the length you think you might need. They can be any thickness, but they must be the same width. You will need an odd number, for example five walnut and four maple. You can go as many as you like, but fewer look plain. I used eleven total.
Glue them up alternating, Walnut, Maple, etc. forming a long board the width of all your planks together. Mine came out 24 inches long, about eleven inches wide, and 3/4” thick.
After glueup, you might want to plane or sand off all the glue, and ensure the entire board is the same thickness, either with hand planes or running it through your planer.
Cut the board in half, making two half length boards. You now have board A and B. Mine now were two boards, each 12 inches long.
Take board B, reverse it 180’ and put A directly on top of B, so you should now have a dark board first on board A, and under it, a light board starting on board B. The planks are running in the same direction, obviously.
Take double back sticky tape and put enough inbetween the two to hold them together, but a small enough amount that you can seperate the boards later. Don’t worry so much about tape glue sticking, you can remove it with lacquer thinner or Goo Gone later. Ensure they are directly on top of each other, now with dark-light-dark etc. on top, and light-dark-light etc. on the bottom.
Using your bandsaw with a smaller blade tensioned as tight as possible to help with good cuts, (I used a 3/8”), and using a high TPI blade, cut up the boards along the length, letting it wave around and through the colors. You will want to create at least four or five pieces. You want to put in lots of waves going away and towards each other, but the more acute the angle of the wave against the run of the strips, the harder the final glueup will be later on. Do NOT cross over a previous cut. Make crazy looking strips.
Keeping things oriented after cutting, take apart all the A/B pieces, remove the tape, and lay them back in order on top of each other.
Now, taking every other cut, take the A piece, and switch it with the corresponding B board underneath. You should now see something like I have on the front and back of my jewelry box.
Glue them back up, forming new planks using the newly cut A/B/A/B pieces, which will go back together beautifully if you cut them neatly and don’t have a lot of saw marks on the cuts. Plane them each to the same thickness, removing all glue and small movements that may have occured during glueup.

The result will be two planks, like the front and back of my jewelry box. This technique has been around for a long time. I “rediscovered” it while thumbing through a 12-14 year old wood magazine I had in my attic.
I had thought about making a guitar like this, but a little worried about the stress on a guitar. I currently want to do one with three colors, bigger, to see how that turns out. I want to pick crazy woods, like redheart, purpleheart, yellowheart, and see how it looks. You can also take regular domestics and stain them any color you want before initial glueup, to create a crazy patchwork of colors waving in and out.
Thanks for looking!!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

10 comments so far

View rmoore's profile


325 posts in 2871 days

#1 posted 10-27-2012 03:20 PM

Show off!! LOL As if your guitars aren’t awesome enough, you show another side of yourself. I like it. A lot of thought in this.

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30133 posts in 2574 days

#2 posted 10-27-2012 04:15 PM

Wow Paul, that’s beautiful

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Grumpymike's profile


2355 posts in 2551 days

#3 posted 10-27-2012 05:49 PM

Thanks for the how-to Paul, I really like the uniqueness of the bandsaw box.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Diggerjacks's profile


2290 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 10-27-2012 05:54 PM

Hello Tennessee

This is the most very creative BS box I’ve never seen

Thanks for all the explications

Just a question : What is the used of the vertical drawer ?

Thanks for sharing a nice idea for the future ( in my favorite immediatly)

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2750 days

#5 posted 10-27-2012 05:58 PM

If you look closely at one picture of the vertical box removed from the main box, you see the wooden hook system, to hold up to five bracelets. It is not tall enough for necklaces, unless you would coil them up some in that drawer.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3261 days

#6 posted 10-27-2012 05:59 PM

Great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Diggerjacks's profile


2290 posts in 3375 days

#7 posted 10-27-2012 06:02 PM

Thanks for the response

Again and again and again this is a very nicely BS box

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3040 days

#8 posted 10-27-2012 08:47 PM

Fantastic! Wow, I really like em. Like em all

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2926 days

#9 posted 10-28-2012 01:39 AM

Very artistic! I like the story that goes with it as well. The live edge base adds a nice touch and I may have to steal that idea as I’m getting back into doing some bandsaw boxes.

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

View bazz135uk's profile


717 posts in 2088 days

#10 posted 07-08-2013 10:48 PM


-- BAZZ, LIVERPOOL UK A workshop is not a luxury . We need it to preserve our sanity in this frantic world we live in. A place to be at peace.

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