Purpleheart Jewelry Box

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Project by Freddo posted 09-03-2008 11:17 PM 4400 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last fall my six year old and I went to Woodcraft in PA and while I was there I purchased a piece of purpleheart lumber. Eric wanted a jewelry box so I got around to building it for him Labor Day weekend. There’s one boo-boo but I didn’t mention it to him (he’s now seven but may find it himself – no big deal; the hinge mortises on the box itself are too wide – oops). This was the first “fine” box I built and I found it pays to read a lot, watch podcasts, buy Doug Stowe’s books and DVD, be a member of LJ’s and PRACTICE. The finish is Danish oil (two coats).

After planing the wood it wasn’t so purple anymore (it was brownish-purple). I didn’t know that would happen!!! After much surfing the Internet Sunday night for guidance, it seemed that the box needed some sunlight. The box and lid spent the day in the sun on Monday and sure enough, the purple returned. Yeah! If you think the wood will be in the sun after you finish it, consider a UV sealer. From what I’ve read, the UV’s will darken the wood over time.


-- God bless! Freddo (Northern - NJ) Our Creator designed us to create - so use WOOD!

14 comments so far

View corey cyr's profile

corey cyr

44 posts in 3687 days

#1 posted 09-04-2008 12:49 AM

nice box, what was your choice of wood for the bottom?

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3736 days

#2 posted 09-04-2008 01:17 AM

Nicely done!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Freddo's profile


85 posts in 3719 days

#3 posted 09-04-2008 02:27 AM

Hi Corey,

The bottom is a made from some luan ply or birch ply I had laying around. I liked the grain pattern and included it even though it’ll rarely be seen…

-- God bless! Freddo (Northern - NJ) Our Creator designed us to create - so use WOOD!

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3710 days

#4 posted 09-04-2008 04:25 AM

Very nice ! I haven’t had much luck getting the purple to come back for me yet on my project wood after milling it . Yours turned out great though : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3685 days

#5 posted 09-04-2008 07:15 AM

Nice box. I really like purple heart except for all the splinters it like to give me. Nice job

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3754 days

#6 posted 09-04-2008 12:08 PM

Very nice box! Thanks for sharing.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3896 days

#7 posted 09-04-2008 12:30 PM

Nice! I see a project coming on…, my wife’s favorite color is purple.

View woodyone's profile


231 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 09-04-2008 04:10 PM

Very neat, Well done.


-- Woody, UK

View pokieone's profile


96 posts in 3640 days

#9 posted 09-04-2008 09:38 PM

Beautiful build! I made a jewellery box with purpleheart and found it to be a troublesome wood to work with. Just curious, what was your experience working with purpleheart?


-- I will not preach, nor will I be silent.

View Freddo's profile


85 posts in 3719 days

#10 posted 09-04-2008 09:51 PM

Hi Mike,

Actually this was my very first experience with an exotic wood other than mahogany. I made the cuts slowly (both the table saw and router slots). I resawed the stock 3/4” lumber to just under 1/2” using a Freud thin kerf rip blade and then planed the parts to 3/8” (sides) and 1/8” for the dividers on my DeWalt planner. The original stock was 3/4” x 4” x 36” long. I did find the purpleheart brittle but I worked slow and meticulously (no extra stock laying around in case of a mistake). I suppose the extra sharp bits and blades make a big difference. I used an 1/8” diameter down spiral bit for the divider slots and the hinge mortises to avoid tearout. I’d be happy to answer any other questions!

-- God bless! Freddo (Northern - NJ) Our Creator designed us to create - so use WOOD!

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3702 days

#11 posted 09-05-2008 10:37 PM

Nice box & great tip for purple heart users. It’s one of my favorite woods and have found myself getting frustrated at time with the purple looking darker after working with it.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3826 days

#12 posted 09-06-2008 05:33 AM

Enviable jewelry box with attractive colour because of the choice of wood.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3896 days

#13 posted 09-07-2008 05:59 PM

This is a nice box. I like how you kept the design clean and simple. That purple heart will become a nice deep, rich purple over time as it ages.

-- Happy woodworking!

View throttle's profile


46 posts in 3609 days

#14 posted 10-23-2008 08:04 PM

Just wanted to return some of the “props”, Great Job! I am definately still learning patience with tedious small projects. There is no where to hide your mistakes.

Share your hobby with as many people possible….......


-- "Throttle"

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