Marquetry Chart Boxes

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Project by shipwright posted 03-25-2014 12:07 AM 3373 views 41 times favorited 88 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend gave me about a dozen sheets of this veneer a while ago and it immediately reminded me of an old parchment chart, the kind you see in movies about buried pirate treasure. It has been an idea in the back of my mind for about a year but recently I discovered a perfect use for such a marquetry theme. I have acquired the 21st century version of navigational charts and thought this would make a fine motif to go on a box to house them on board Friendship.

The box will carry my iPad, with Bad Elf gps, associated items and a small solar charger to help with battery charging when I’m off the grid.

The box is much like many others I have posted. Please forgive the unfinished hinges. I will glue in the final splines when the box is back home in the moist air of the Pacific coast. I don’t want to have the catch swell up and have no way to open the box. (The hinges are blogged here.)

The marquetry on the one I will use features the only piece of thin sliced veneer (Padauk) that I bought in Paris when I bought my thick, sawn material. It was so pretty I just couldn’t resist. The burl itself is olive and other woods used include Pelin Burl, Ipe, Holly, Koa and a little dyed grey.

The ship and the compass rose are just cut from the olive burl, sand shaded and replaced. You can see the grain running right through them.

I tried an interesting twist on the front of the boxes. As sand shading such small pieces in this thin veneer is so difficult, I did all the shading on these panels with a charcoal pencil. (Thanks Ken) I like the effect and it is much easier on tiny pieces.

The interiors are Pao Ferro on the Padauk box and Pelin Burl on the Ipe box. The bodies are BB plywood and the lapped edges are dyed Poplar.

And oh yes, there is a catch. I will do a blog on it if anyone is interested.

Thanks for looking in.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

88 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5128 posts in 2497 days

#1 posted 03-25-2014 12:12 AM

This is an amazing piece! What an impressive use of the veneer and a phenomenal tie to your history!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View waho6o9's profile


5433 posts in 1361 days

#2 posted 03-25-2014 12:15 AM

Incredible work, just stunning Paul, thanks for sharing.

View rance's profile


4149 posts in 1945 days

#3 posted 03-25-2014 12:18 AM

I should-a known. That is exactly what I was imagining. Well, almost. Fantastic idea, and execution.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Sodabowski's profile


2106 posts in 1617 days

#4 posted 03-25-2014 12:19 AM

Like O M G. That one is awesome Paul!
The padauk was irrestible for sure, I still haven’t figured out what to use it for ;)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View gbear's profile


425 posts in 2884 days

#5 posted 03-25-2014 12:19 AM


-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View mike1950's profile


313 posts in 583 days

#6 posted 03-25-2014 12:23 AM

Very unique use of the veneer. NICE box!!

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View Nicky's profile


636 posts in 2876 days

#7 posted 03-25-2014 12:27 AM

That is incredible work. The detail is outstanding.

-- Nicky

View Tony_S's profile (online now)


481 posts in 1867 days

#8 posted 03-25-2014 12:36 AM

Awesome Paul!
I had the map down no problem, but had no real Idea how you were going to make it all come together.

It looks fantastic.

-- Come Heavy...or don't come at all.

View tinnman65's profile


1190 posts in 2198 days

#9 posted 03-25-2014 12:37 AM

I guess we have come to expect no less than excellence from you Paul and you never let us down. You can real see the movement on the sides of this piece, great job! I really would like to know more about that charcoal pencil trick you learned from Ken. I have tried sand shading small pieces and its nearly impossible not to burn them when your using 1/42 veneer.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View mauibob's profile


182 posts in 1852 days

#10 posted 03-25-2014 12:42 AM

Beautiful, Paul! A true work of art! I really liked the idea of cutting in place, shading and replacing. Terrific idea for such small and delicate pieces.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View Robsshop's profile


843 posts in 1759 days

#11 posted 03-25-2014 12:48 AM

Beautiful display of what can be done with the natural beauty of wood itself ! I hope one day that I can produce something of this caliber. Thanks for sharing what is obviously a passion for You, nice work.

P.S. “If You blog it, they will come”!

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans repurposed wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View kiefer's profile


3458 posts in 1451 days

#12 posted 03-25-2014 12:50 AM

Wow Paul do I ever like this one.
Just a wonderful design and execution is second to none.

-- Kiefer 松

View grizzman's profile


7232 posts in 2088 days

#13 posted 03-25-2014 12:54 AM

these are so beautiful and very classy paul, these would be perfect to be on friendship…

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15255 posts in 2460 days

#14 posted 03-25-2014 12:54 AM

Awesome, over the top, a new standard for LJ!! I should have known a sailor and shipwright would make an map, not an elephant ;-)

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

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

309 posts in 1119 days

#15 posted 03-25-2014 12:55 AM

Outstanding as usual Paul. From the 3d effect on the top to the anchor and chain on the sides

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

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