Construction

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Initially I look for grain patterns that I think are appropriate for the four sides of the box. Open grained species such as ash, oak and elm have very strong grain patterns so I pay particular attention when using these timbers. The grain on timbers like pear and maple are a lot less pronounced so distracting grain lines aren't so much of an issue.

Some boxes are glued-up complete and the lid cut off afterwards. This ensures grain continuity between the lid and the box carcase. Others have a separate lid fitted after the box is made.

Jewellery box dovetail joints before glue-up

My boxes are jointed with hand-cut dovetails. This is the strongest joint to use where two pieces of wood meet at right angles, ensuring a box that will stand the test of time.

I take time setting out dovetails on paper and only when I am happy with their layout do I begin to cut wood. The dovetailed corners of my boxes are a strong design feature so it is important to get the detail right.

Carving on underside of lid, burr walnut veneer leaf
From a sound base of four dovetailed sides there are numerous design possibilities. The box can have straight lines or a curved top or sides. It can have drawers or pull-out trays, or a combination of both. It can also have marquetry or carved detail.

For the tops I often use burr veneers or solid wood if I have a piece with interesting grain. I also decorate the underside of the lid sometimes.

I usually construct the trays with rebates to sit inside each other. A gap is left between tray and box side so that you don't have to push against escaping air when you replace the trays.

Turned handle for a maple jewellery box

A box is generally a small object and every detail is important, none more so than the means for lifting up a lid, or pulling out a drawer. Sometimes a slight indent in an appropriate place for a finger purchase is all that is required. I also carve some handles or turn them on the lathe, or leave the box without handles.

For a more in depth look at how one design of jewellery box is made see to make a box.

Marking out pins
Boxes for sale up to £250
Boxes for sale £250 to £550
Boxes for sale £550 to £1000
Boxes for sale over £1000
Testimonials
Home
Profile
Commissioning
Construction
Personal boxes
Gallery
Dovetails
Workshop news
The work bench
Jewellery trays
Hinges
Handles
Veneering
Drawers
Glossary
Wood
To make a box (1)
To make a box (2)
To make a box (3)
Resources
Contact

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