little box made of purpleheart

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Project by MichaelT77 posted 01-21-2014 04:26 PM 1083 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Practicing in the basement workshop, I used some purpleheart to make a small box. I have found purpleheart a little difficult to work with (for me, anyway), but I’ve got a few boards, and I’m tired of seeing them just lean against the wall. The wood is hard, and somewhat brittle. Beautiful dark color after it sits for a while. Even the purple shavings are something to see. Of course, when the wood is saw cut, planed, and sanded, it’s just light brown and not much to look at.

I was planning on the lid, so the little doors are completely unnecessary. Nonetheless, I wanted to practice the procedure. The hinged edges of the doors are about 1/8” wider (on each side, of course) and shaped (carefully, with a sharp chisel blade) to fit into holes drilled into the sides (1/4” Forstner). I glued a couple of small stops to the sides for the doors to rest on. The lid is not attached. It just sits on top. A couple of thin strips are glued underneath to keep the lid from moving laterally

The bottom is a piece of poplar. Chamfered with a plane, and fitted into grooves in the sides (1/8” router bit).

The dovetails are hand cut. The box isn’t glued together, yet. I may try to tighten up a couple of the joints. I’m fairly comfortable now with a dozuki saw. Very sharp (quick to draw blood). Very precise dovetails are possible if one is careful and patient.

Speaking of patient, I was a patient in the ER for an hour or two Thursday night. Table saw accident while working on this box. Kickback. No excuse. Careless. Multiple stitches. I hope to feel better soon. Be careful out there.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

4 comments so far

View BubingaBill's profile


290 posts in 1108 days

#1 posted 01-21-2014 06:06 PM

Nice box! My fist attempt at box making was with Purple heart wood.

I hope you are feeling better! Last year My uncle who dabbled in construction/woodworking for decades cut the last digit of his thumb off on his table saw at home. When you get too comfortable with power tools and you don’t pay attention for just a moment you gain stories to tell for life! Normally starting with “guess how I got this scar!”

-- Measure twice and try not to cut your thumbs off!

View Gibsonman's profile


34 posts in 1011 days

#2 posted 01-21-2014 07:04 PM

That is a fine looking box. You did a really good job with the dovetails. I’ve been working on hand cutting dovetails too and have made a few small projects with them although they don’t look as good as yours.

View bazz135uk's profile


579 posts in 1276 days

#3 posted 01-22-2014 05:13 AM

Love ya box ! Looking good :: I also chopped the end of my thumb off with a table saw O boy did I !
This week Ive had a go with purple heart , it has some strange compounds in it, found spray poly gives it a striking finnish.. You have made some neat projects Michael :: BazzA.

-- BAZZ, WINDSOR 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.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1018 days

#4 posted 01-23-2014 09:26 AM

Anybody remember ever seeing a serious woodworker with all his fingers. No matter how careful, shop accidents happen and are often serious. I had a band saw nick my wrist but not too deeply, got a bad 2 finger bite from a table saw and broke a thumb on kickback. I’m old and can’t afford to lose any parts that still function.
Box is a beauty and Purpleheart is a difficult wood to work. Freshly cut, the wood is a dull grey but a day in bright sunlight will bring back the purple.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

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