For all box makers, Boxes, Boxes, Boxes... what purpose do your boxes serve?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 03-22-2013 08:15 PM 1924 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2481 days

03-22-2013 08:15 PM

For all of you box makers and marketers out there, I’d like to know what purpose, or title name you build your box for on a consumer stand point.

Now that I’m on a starting track of marketing my boxes, I’m coming to the conclusion that a small 2 to 5 drawer bandsaw box is pretty much nothing but a dust collector or a very nice expensive show piece, really has no use, women of today have gobs of jewelry and large pieces to boot in which require very large jewelry boxes, more then what my boxes are able to handle, I had lunch with my mom and sister today and they brought this to my attention as being a guy I was unaware of this, I’d like to have your thoughts on this? When it comes to men’s boxes I know that I’m on the right track on the valet boxes that I make, no worries there but I am thinking of dropping the jewelry box title unless I can make something of mass storage, once again thoughts?

I see a lot of box makers here on lumberjocks showing their vendor booth displays and the ones that I’ve seen recently are pretty much awesome very nice looking mitered joint featherd corners, and lift out trays works of art but what purpose do they serve for the consumer?

I’m just trying to get a feel of what other artist display there product as what sells and what doesn’t.

Thanks for reading, look forward to the answers.


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

23 replies so far

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2450 days

#1 posted 03-22-2013 08:25 PM

High end boxes are exceptionally nice and many members build way beyond that level here. I’m a hobby wood worker and never had any problems giving my boxes away. Free seems to work for my skill level.

I’d be interested in finding out what does sell and ideal box sizes for both women and men.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2455 days

#2 posted 03-22-2013 08:37 PM

I’ll answer you off-line, maybe we can both make some money, LOL.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Sodabowski's profile


2373 posts in 2801 days

#3 posted 03-22-2013 09:09 PM

Hmmm … looks like the point I had mentionned some time ago strikes back.
Why not ask the ladies to actually draw and dimension what they would consider the ideal SWSU?

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3929 days

#4 posted 03-22-2013 09:48 PM

I don’t do bandsawn boxes, but well crafted std. box builds seem to be well received.
I kinda think about BS boxes same as pens. Kinda nice, show some craftsmanship, but don’t get a price for the effort. Sure. Give ‘em as gifts, but I wouldn’t wanna bet my income on ‘em.


View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2481 days

#5 posted 03-22-2013 10:08 PM

Actually Bill, my BS boxes aren’t your average BS boxes at least that’s what I’ve been told many times and many of them are hybrids, a mixture of BS and standard mixed together but there are several made from logs then there are the theme boxes, but I do agree on a typical BS box not getting the points that’s why I’ve been slowly moving from them and or mixing the two together.

I do a lot of hidden compartments and false bottoms, they are neat yes but I don’t think that’s enough, I think it’s all about ample storage.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4060 days

#6 posted 03-22-2013 10:40 PM

I’ve done a few band-saw boxes. Uses include guitar pick holders, small rolls of thread.

I’ve build boxes that hold index cards, deck of cards and poker chips, cigar boxes and many jewelry boxes. I’ve done a few for my wife, one that holds her pearls, one that holds rings etc…

I don’t sell my work, its a hobby. I’ve done most boxes by request.

-- Nicky

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10370 posts in 3397 days

#7 posted 03-22-2013 10:57 PM

All the boxes I’ve made are gone. I have no problem getting rid of them as most were paid for before I built them. A few were gifts.
About half of the sales were presentation boxes, built to hold pistols and/or knives.
Like Nicky suggests, try single purpose boxes.
Whatever you do, don’t expect to make a bunch of $ by building on spec.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2648 posts in 2890 days

#8 posted 03-22-2013 10:58 PM

I make and sell over 330 Cedar boxes a year. I make them 7 3/4” x 11” x 2 1/4” deep. Unfinished inside to preserve the smell of the cedar. (Ladies love that smell) The size is determined by the widest cedar boards I can get. I inlay various images into the hinged lids using soft maple. Some folks call them jewelery boxes some “what-not” boxes and some gun boxes. I make some for children some for men and some for women. I make a lot of these boxes with a cross on the lid and folks use them as bible boxes. I make a lot of boxes with the Masons logo on them. (For the men). Mine are simple boxes with a nice finish and I make them about twenty at a time so I can keep the sales price low. I do make some oak boxes also and I flock the inside of those. I have a display rack that allows me to display over 80 boxes inside a ten foot by ten foot tent with room to display some of my intarsia and plaques.

-- Website is

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2481 days

#9 posted 03-22-2013 11:06 PM

Jim, do you leave all of your cedar boxes unfinished on the inside? I heard, not sure how accurate that unfinished woods including cedar, the oils from the wood if not finished can damage jewelry?

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Boxguy's profile


2618 posts in 2236 days

#10 posted 03-23-2013 04:09 AM

Blackie, my best sellers are tea boxes, card boxes, jewelry boxes, valets, and urns. In about that order. What I hear from customers is that a larger footprint takes up too much room on the dresser. I suggest they use this box for only their most frequently used items so they will be close at hand. Many women have a great deal of jewelry that works for special outfits or occasions, but they wear the same few favorite items over and over.

I include removable padded storage for rings and earrings, and removable dividers for the tray and sometimes the bottom. Most dividers I see posted are far too massive and deep. They are built to hold something big and heavy. It is for jewelry…not bolts.

-- Big Al in IN

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1872 days

#11 posted 03-23-2013 04:58 AM

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3277 days

#12 posted 03-23-2013 05:16 AM

Randy…I feel that what sells is as varied as much as what kind of people come to the shows, their personal likes and dislikes, their financial situation and what type of shows we each choose to participate in as a craftsperson..

My boxes have been purchased for jewelry, keepsake, TV/DVD remotes, guns, keys, wallets and people saying the just like the way it looks. This niche’ market has been very good because of the carving, sculpting and use of unusual woods…and people saying they have not seen work like my style before.

This limits the number of people who will spend $400+ up for my work… but thus far it has been successful. I am also expanding with some plain boxes and simpler designs for under $200 to fill my price range gaps.
We put together a spreadsheet of shows that includes numerous details…such as show dates, location, application fees, booth costs, # of days for the show, application deadlines and out personal thoughts about the quality of the show and quality of merchandise being sold. The only requirement for many shows is paying a booth fee…and we decided against these shows.

We have just been participating in shows for about 2 years now…but when we started we made the decision that we would only apply to juried shows.

I have had conversations with other artists doing other mediums that sold only high end creations ranging from $300-$10,000 and while not divulging their sales amounts I have noticed that they have been doing these shows for many years…so there are definitely many people with considerable disposable income who buy what catches their attention…I have several as repeat clients… Even doing a high-end juried show does not guarantee results…but for us it has been financially rewarding so far.

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 1966 days

#13 posted 03-23-2013 09:39 AM

I made my wife a nice little box for valentine’s day and filled it with candy. I am not sure the box was responsible for it but the story does have a happy ending :-)

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View Robert_T's profile


10 posts in 1904 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 12:55 PM

Actually, jewelry boxes come in all shapes and sizes. There are three reasons to buy anything that a woodworker makes. They can buy it for the function, you can buy it for the aesthetics, or for artistic value. Function wise, china probably can make and sell anything we make cheaper then we can build it. For some it maybe a novelty, but for others it could be consider craftsmanship or art.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3253 days

#15 posted 03-23-2013 01:00 PM

I think Greg really hit the nail on the head; My boxes have been purchased for jewelry, keepsake, TV/DVD remotes, guns, keys, wallets and people saying the just like the way it looks. This niche’ market has been very good because of the carving, sculpting and use of unusual woods…and people saying they have not seen work like my style before.

Sometimes you have to get the customer to think “outside the box” and not just look at your boxes as simply a jewelry box. Most of the small boxes I’ve sold have been band saw boxes and like it was mentioned earlier, they are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine…...but I’ve sold a lot of them!!

Why? Most were bought because they were unique and the customer wanted to have it more for the look and feel of it then the actual function. Most of my boxes were bought for a gift for someone special and they were looking for that “one of a kind” gift. ($200 – $400 range for me).

And as Greg mentioned, you will have to sort out and find the shows that attract that sort of customer….and that will always be the hardest part.

The biggest thing I see when I go to shows as a customer is how many of the vendors are just sitting there with their arms folded waiting for someone to ask them to sell them something.

Being able to sell is just as important as having a great product to sell; not as a used car salesman or a carnival worker type selling, but simply talking with the crowd, getting the prospective customers involved, giving ideas how your boxes would make that special gift for someone, etc. Suggest why others have purchased your boxes and how they used them.

Smile alot and act like you are having fun. If you’re excited about being there, it’s easy to get the people around you excited.

At the end of a show you should be tired of talking, your voice should be horse (sound like you have a frog in your throat) and when you go home, your wife and kids will love you because not only did you have a good show but you won’t want to talk to anyone for a couple days so they can have piece and quiet! LOL

-- John @

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics