"Dragon Box"

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Project by Woodhacker posted 05-08-2008 05:33 AM 2969 views 8 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve seen another LJ do a variation of this plan perhaps a month or two ago. It comes from Woodsmith Magazine Vol 29, No. 174. I liked it so much I cut parts for 6 different versions using different combinations of wood. This is one of two that I’ve finished thus far. Each one I plan to use as gifts and make them unique. This one was for my niece, Hannah….thus the “H” inlay in the top. It was a surrprise birthday gift which I shipped to her since we live in different parts of the midwest.. She’s in high school now, but even when she was very young she liked to draw things. Some time ago I asked her mother (my sister) if Hannah had a favorite drawing back from when she was quite young. So one day my sister sat down with her and asked her to go through her drawings and pick out one she really liked for “her mother’s scrapbook”.

My sister then sent me a copy of the “dragon” drawing which she picked out. I woodburned the drawing into the inside of the lid, after duplicating it freehand in pencil.

The top, front and back are curly maple. The front and back are joined to the sides using mortise/tenon joinery (the plan calls for dowels, but that’s no fun). The tenons are approximately ¼ inch by 2 inches by ¼ deep. The sides are African Shedua. The base is hickory and is tongue and grooved into all four sides of the box. The “H” inlay is Caribbean Rosewood. The finish is 10 coats of satin oil/poly blend with progressively finer sanding between each several coats. This filled in nearly all the grain. The last coat was sanded at 1500 grit followed by hand rubbing using Behlens buffer‘s polish.

The thank you voice message I received the next day from Hannah and the picture I was sent later with a huge surprise on her face when she first opened the lid made it all more than worth it.

-- Martin, Kansas

8 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4134 days

#1 posted 05-08-2008 05:40 AM

That’s a great looking box you’ve got there!

The wood and finish are great.

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

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3913 days

#2 posted 05-08-2008 06:26 AM

That is some awesome wood and a great project. Thanks for the post.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4027 posts in 4210 days

#3 posted 05-08-2008 08:29 AM

Beautiful box and a sweet sentiment. Good work, in both senses of the phrase.

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3968 days

#4 posted 05-08-2008 10:12 AM


You built a beautiful box. I love the wood combinations.

Nice job. And thanks for the story behind it.

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

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2131 posts in 3895 days

#5 posted 05-08-2008 07:43 PM

Martin, this exact box from that issue of Woodsmith is the next project on my list. You did a really nice job on it and the story is even better.

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View USCJeff's profile


1064 posts in 4214 days

#6 posted 05-13-2008 02:15 AM

Gotta do this one. Great box for one. And since my 3 year old (see avatar) is also a Hannah, it just seems like a must do. Thanks.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3920 days

#7 posted 05-14-2008 01:38 AM

Very nice looking box. Love the dragon. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3435 days

#8 posted 01-16-2010 12:23 AM

nice box, i like the way the top is shaped

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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