Since finishing the guitar build (I have decided that that model will be the Deuce, so that particular guitar is a Butternut Deuce), I started on building a cabinet to house my planes, so I could get a rust inhibiter in amongst them. (The humidity this year has been brutal!) I will talk more about that in the next post.

I had to interrupt that build to work on a birthday present for my sister. This was an important one, so I knew it had to be something nice. She had been wanting a box for her earrings, and I dithered over the design. I didn’t want to do something boring, I wanted it to be different, and I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before. I finally decided to use an 8/4 spalted maple board that had varying widths for a curved lid. I would do a cove cut on the table saw, something I’ve never done. Picking out a suitable section, I cut it longer than I needed and made some rough angled cuts on the table saw to prepare the top of it for a curve. Then I did some straight rips on the underside to remove as much material as I could while still letting it lie flat to the table saw. I didn’t want to tax my 1 1/2 hp contractor’s saw too much trying to take big bites from the hard maple. (Really must upgrade to a cabinet saw one of these years.) After figuring out the right approach angle, I clamped a long piece of plywood down to the saw and started making 1/8″ passes. To ensure that I was getting a symmetrical cove, I did two passes at every blade height, using both edges against the straight edge. In no time it was done. I cleaned it up with a curved sole plane and sandpaper, and then planed and sanded the top to match the curve on the bottom, leaving it a little thicker towards the back where the hinge pins will go.

The rest of the box is made out of a cherry scrap board, resawn to 3/8″ for the sides, and 1/8″ for the dividers. Basic mortise and tenon construction here, leaving the side to extend a bit forward of the front and back, and tall enough to scribe the lid’s curve to them. The dividers are made with stock the exact thickness of the saw kerf, using lap joints, and fitted to the box (for the lower ones) and the tray. The tray was made with rabbit joints. I didn’t want any decorative joinery, and its not going to be under too much stress.

After everything had been glued, sanded and finished (with an oil/varnish), I laid a black felt on the bottom of the box and tray. The dividers were left loose (but tightly fitting), so that I could use just one large pice of felt, rather than trying to stick on 30 small pieces. Finally, I turned a handle from African Blackwood to lift the tray out. The lid overhangs on the front so it doesn’t need a handle. Some 3/16″ brass rod going through the sides into the lid for the hinge.

(More pics on its page.) That isn’t sapwood on the bottom of the side, by the way, its just the way the light is hitting it.

I won’t say how old she is, let’s just say the apogee has been reached. Happy B-Day!

2 Responses to “Milestone”

  1. Beautiful box! I really like the small lip that exists at each joint – makes me want to touch each surface.

    I had never thought of making straight kerfs to lessen the work for the angled cove cuts, but that is brilliant. Kinda like using a straight bit to hog out material before cutting a sliding dovetail dado.

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