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Lacewood Jewelry Box


Lacewood Box

Wood: Lacewood and Curly Maple

Dimensions (front)
Length: 11 1/2"
Height: 4"
Depth: 6 1/2"



This is the type of project that just cries for your best figured wood. In my case, I had a nice piece of 6/4 curly maple that had this project written all over it. For the top and legs I used a beautiful piece of lacewood.

Top, Bottom and Legs
The top, bottom and legs are made from lacewood. This wood is more difficult than average to work. The wood will splinter very easily. I made the mistake of running my hand the wrong way on a rough cut side. Nothing a tweezers can't handle, but unpleasant nevertheless. Although it's not exceptionally hard, it is more difficult to cut because the wood really seems almost sticky when cut. Resawing this to make the top and bottom took more time that I would have expected.

I cut the leg taper on my table saw with the use of a jig made specifically for this task. I would never cut such a small piece on the table saw unless it was secured to a jig. Free handing something that small is just not safe.

The sides of this box are made from resawn curly maple. I tend to hoard my curly maple and use it for my best projects. Since the sides of this box are all 1/2" thick, there is little waste after resawing the 6/4 board. Had I used 4/4 stock, I would have had to plane it down from 7/8" all the way to 1/2". I tend to think planing down figured wood is a big woodworking sin. A sin I only perpetrate when absolutely needed.

I try to use hand tools on my projects when at all practical. This box is no exception. All the edges were rounded over with planes or spokeshaves. Using a spokeshave to remove the bandsaw marks on the bottom of the sides was snap. If I were to sand those areas it would have taken twice as long and filled my shop full of dust.

The hinges for this box are brass rods I purchased at a local hobby store. On a simple box like this, I didn't like the idea of exposed hinges so brass rods drilled into the case and the top worked well. In fact, I was surprised at how well it worked. The rods I used were 3/32". While this sounds rather thin, it works well for a box this small. I would only use this for a box that sees only delicate hands. This is meant to be a jewelry box, not a toy box.

This box is finished with linseed oil from Tried and True. The oil really brings out the curl in the maple. However, I've found the oil tends to make the lacewood appear to be more uniform in color. I might recommend using an oil on the curly maple before assembly and then finishing the whole project in shellac or laquer. That technique should bring out the curl but not obscure the beautiful rays of the lacewood.

To learn how to make boxes like this, I suggest you purchase the book Box-Making Basics: Design, Technique, Projects by David Freedman. There are many boxes in this book that I've modified to meet my needs. My box is very similar to the box on the cover of the book.


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