Boxguy Tries A Black Olive.

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Project by Boxguy posted 659 days ago 2046 views 9 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured is a jewelry keeper with solid Black Walnut sides and an Olive Ash veneer top. Hence, the name Black Olive. 15X7X7…it features a lift-out tray, and in the lower level a foam ring-keeper with more divided storage. Tray and box each have maple corner splines.

A Modest Proposal:

There are Lumber Jocks like Greg, Andy, Tom, Peter, Roger, and others who can sell boxes as works of art. In fact they are works of art that happen to also be boxes. But, most of us do not fall in that category.

This is my suggestion for Lumber Jocks who want to sell boxes or for those building boxes for personal use or as fun projects.

Build Purpose-Driven Boxes

My niche is that every box I make is purpose-driven. That is to say I make it to do a job…hold tea bags, wedding rings, playing cards, jewelry, a wallet…cell phone…keys, suggestions, a watch collection, pool balls, darts, a marble collection, wine bottles, cremains of animals or people, serving trays, letters for signs, shoe shine materials, TV tuners, knitting supplies, sewing equipment, tools, cloth cutting supplies, handguns, small instruments, glue bottles, sandpaper, sawblades, finish cans and brushes, tissues, children’s toys, shaving supplies, the list is endless, but always they have a purpose. I have made boxes to hold all of these things listed.

I don’t think I have made any boxes just to be pretty objects. In the current economy, I find that patrons are more likely to buy a box that does something, rather than box that just looks pretty. Don’t misunderstand, I am NOT for building ugly boxes. My goal is to craft useful and long-lasting boxes that are a joy to touch, a pleasure to see, and a delight to use.

I design every box from the inside out. I start with what it should hold or do. Then I craft the best looking, longest lasting, box I can make to do the job assigned to it. Well, that is my take on what works for sales and satisfaction for me.

Thanks to all of you who looked at this post. A special thanks to all of you who take the extra time to comment on the box or the commentary. That is the fun of this site. I will try to respond to all questions and comments in batches during the next few days.

Keep boxing and keep posting!

-- Big Al in IN

29 comments so far

View Blackie_'s profile


3376 posts in 1144 days

#1 posted 659 days ago

Big Al what a very nice looking box and I always enjoy your detailed description and write up to go along with them. To bad we are so far apart, I’d really enjoy meeting you in person and get a first hand close look at your work.

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4508 posts in 924 days

#2 posted 659 days ago

Very nicely done. It has certainly been my impression that all of your boxes achieve your stated goal of “cratf(ing) useful and long-lasting boxes that are (a) joy to touch, a pleasure to see, a delight to use.” And, nice write up also.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 1710 days

#3 posted 659 days ago

A lot of thought went into what you posted – and great advice. Mine were not good enough to sell; so I don’t make them any more, but I’d be happy to carve on your boxes though!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View balidoug's profile


363 posts in 1110 days

#4 posted 659 days ago

One of your best, BG. And good advice to boot.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1481 posts in 1736 days

#5 posted 659 days ago

Your thoughts echo some of mine. I find that people usually want a box to have a function. Some do buy because the box will sit in a prominent place and be seen. Most want some function. The size may dictate its use as much as what is inside. I do not have any boxes I made 6 months ago, so somebody found a reason to buy them. Not all had a definite purpose. Maybe I am too lazy to give them one. I have a day job still. I do like your approach and your boxes. They have a very complete and polished look.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and so little time!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14724 posts in 2308 days

#6 posted 659 days ago

Stunningly awesome!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Boxguy's profile


1445 posts in 899 days

#7 posted 659 days ago

Randy, thanks. Perhaps our paths will cross at a wood show or something. You never know.

Shooter, thanks for the compliment and the hint. I edited in the “a.”

Little, thanks for the offer. I may take you up on that. I like your work and enjoy collaborating with others to make boxes. It is especially exciting when two people combine talents to make something together that they could not make working separately.

Doug, thanks. I alway contemplate the Kant quote you chose. I tend to be more optimistic about man.

Robert, enjoy and celebrate your day job. I certainly enjoyed my time as a teacher. Glad your sale of boxes went so well… congratulations. You had some great looking wood in your last post. You’re right I didn’t take size into account as an element.

Topa, thanks. Grandpa projects are some of the most fun things we can do in the shop. This was one of mine. click

-- Big Al in IN

View woodworm's profile


14125 posts in 2222 days

#8 posted 658 days ago

Really beautiful box – and the finish is superb quality!
I have no idea that Olive wood has stunning grain pattern like that. I’ve seen live Olive tree once when I had a short tour in Amman , Jordan. But mostly not more than 8” to 10” in diameter.

To my exitement I like to share a picture of Olive tree belongs to a friend on FW Knots forum. He is a woodworker like us who lives in Israel. Hopefully this tree is still there in his shop’s compound.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View jbschutz's profile


386 posts in 1323 days

#9 posted 658 days ago

Al, I understand your approach and applaud it, but sometimes, I just like to make a unique box and let the customer decide how he can use it. Your boxes are functional, but also works of art and craftsmanship. Being pleasing to the eye and touch are also functions.

-- jbschutz

View Gshepherd's profile


1466 posts in 833 days

#10 posted 658 days ago

Another Stellar Job by the King of Bling….. Beautiful Wood choice…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

463 posts in 807 days

#11 posted 658 days ago

Another beautiful work of art. I admire all your work and will continue checking out all your past and future projects. Like someone else said I like the idea that you share facts and details about your work.
The comments are always appreciated and it sends a good message for those of us that are just beginning our trip down the lumberjock lane.
There will be a time i feel I can stand beside you and show off some fine boxes. Most likely never as great as yours but I set my goal based on your boxes.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Roger's profile


14373 posts in 1436 days

#12 posted 658 days ago

Super nice. Very flashy, and elegant

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2695 days

#13 posted 658 days ago

Man, what figure!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5011 posts in 1940 days

#14 posted 658 days ago

A very nice box Big Al. I hope you have the best of luck with your shows…
I have not run across olive wood before. It is good that you have found your niche market because a person cannot be everything to everyone.
One of the banners I have for my booth has” Boxes for Jewelry, Keepsake and TV Remotes” printed on it and I find it amazing how it sparks the imagination of uses by people who initially walk in the booth and at first say Oh, Jewelry Boxes ….marketing is every bit as important as craftsmanship.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Daiku's profile


197 posts in 1539 days

#15 posted 658 days ago

Big Al

What I hear you saying is that there’s a group that believes in “function following form” whereas you believe in “form following function”. I believe that both groups have achieved their goals in both categories. Don’t sell yourself short, you are selling “Works of art”.

Keep up the great work and thanks for posting,

-- Cal Noguchi

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