Boxguy's Colleague's Holey Box

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Project by Boxguy posted 11-12-2012 05:10 AM 2515 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: Derrick’s jewelry keeper that he made features a sliding tray, dividers, ring holders, 1/8 inch paired corner splines, inset top, 5 coats of hand rubbed finish, mortised piano hinge, and an elongated finger lift. It is made from local woods. The sides are Black Cherry and the top is a knotty section of White Oak. At 14×6x6, it is sized to hold the customer’s most frequently used jewelry and accessories.

Story: Now that Derrick and his wife have started their family, his time is more limited so Derrick joins me in the shop most Wednesday evenings. Derrick and I have been working together for over 5 years. At first I was the mentor, now I am just as likely to learn from what he can teach me. On Wednesday’s we float around the shop working independently, stopping now and then to compare notes and ask opinions of one another about designs and techniques. It is fun for both of us. Derrick has begun to build his own shop and to teach one of his friends about making boxes…so the cycle continues. Derrick sells his boxes in a gallery located near to him and has begun to develop his own following and clientele. He sold three boxes just this month and has orders for more.

Style: Derrick has developed his own sense of style. He loves knots and the grain that flows around them, prefers paired narrow corner splines, and has an elongated lift that he likes to use. I wanted to post this design so that fellow Lumber Jocks could see his work and perhaps have some new takes on their own designs. I think he is a real craftsman and has an excellent eye for what works in wood.

Thanks: As always Derrick and I thank you for taking time to look and a special thanks to all of you who make the extra effort to comment and ask questions. Critiques and suggestions are always welcome. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

9 comments so far

View NoSlivers's profile


210 posts in 3231 days

#1 posted 11-12-2012 08:38 AM

Great looking box. I think incorporating knots and inclusions gives each project a naturally imperfect feel that openly defies the mainstream. An interesting rather than uniform appearance. I also know that something needs to limit the range of the lid’s opening, since the characteristic brass screws might hold the hinge in place but can’t be counted on for much more than that. I don’t want to sound critical since the box looks awesome, but I think the use of a steel chain takes away from the overall appearance. Perhaps a short length of braided cable/wire in a subdued color, or a chain with an bronzed/antiqued finish?

I have tried working around tabs and knobs for opening lids, and I just keep forgetting about finger lifts. I guess I get caught up in “adding to” and just don’t think about how “taking away” can fulfill the same purpose. Hopefully this project will help me remember in the future. Thanks.

And out of curiosity, are the splines wenge?

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

View Boxguy's profile


2737 posts in 2409 days

#2 posted 11-12-2012 03:16 PM

Noslivers, The corner splines are quarter sawn oak. They come off darker here because the open pours seem to soak up light in the photographs.

Thank you for the thoughtful response and comments. About the chain…I have looked for a more subdued color but short of recoating it myself I can’t find a solution. Since Derrick and I are making boxes to market in the $200 range, spending 40 to 70 dollars on die cast hinges isn’t really an option. If you have some source of braided cable or wire in an antique finish I would be happy to hear about it.

As to the lifts. Derrick cuts his on a router table with stops. I sand mine out with a spindle sander.

I liked the boxes you made for your grand daughters with the hidden compartments. nice design there. I especially liked the rounded corners and the look that gave the joinery.

-- Big Al in IN

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3445 days

#3 posted 11-12-2012 03:29 PM

well you know me, im mr rustic, it looks mighty pretty to me…holes fit in just fine, especially when they are natural holes…good job as usual…

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

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 11-12-2012 05:06 PM

That is just a very superb piece! Great choice of wood and finish . I like the design , really fantastic and the hinges look great too.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View DocSavage45's profile


8697 posts in 2984 days

#5 posted 11-12-2012 06:52 PM

Big Al,

What a great story! I was wondering about costs and returns. Thanks. have youever considered auctioning off some of your work for charity? Don’t know if you remember Stumpy and Charles Neil competition? charles put the box (bombey style) on ebay and donated proceeds to “Wounded Warrior Project”

Good PR and it might give you an idea of the value of your work. Greg the Box Sculptorwas saying that people in the shows he goes to have disposable income.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3008 days

#6 posted 11-12-2012 07:31 PM

He did a fine job on this box. It’s very impressive.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2737 posts in 2409 days

#7 posted 11-12-2012 09:24 PM

Grizz, thanks for the compliment. Derrick’s motto is waste not want knot.

Surf, thanks for the kind words.

Doc, I give away a box or two a year to auctions at church and to a cancer group.

Wreck, on behalf of Derrick, thanks. I agree he does good work.

-- Big Al in IN

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2945 days

#8 posted 11-14-2012 01:43 PM

Way kool BigAl. This has got lotsa character. Very nice

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

View NoSlivers's profile


210 posts in 3231 days

#9 posted 11-18-2012 06:57 AM sells brass plated jack chain. I have occasionally have found short lengths of antique bronzed finished chain through various woodworkers supply shops

Braided cable is most commonly found used for motorcycle throttle cable, but that’ll probably be more rigid than what you want it for. I have also found braided cable used as speaker wire.

Hope it helps. Once again, beautiful box

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

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