Kyle and Kris' Box

My friends Kyle and Kris got married on July 6, 2003. For their wedding present, I decided to carve them a jewelry box, which they actually used to hold the rings during the wedding. I've done a jewelry box before... for my friend Fred's wedding I also carved a box. This one's a bit different, though. Primarily, the box itself is made entirely out of one piece of wood.

I took pictures of the whole process. Here's the photo record, and a description of just what it took to put this thing together. I don't imagine I'll do anything quite like it again, and if I do I'll certainly do it differently, but hey, what the hell.

Unfortunately I don't have any pics of the REALLY early stages. First, I worked on the main body of the box. The box proper is made out of koa wood, from a block I picked up on Maui. The first order of business was to cut off a piece that was relatively rhomboidal. I accomplished this with my coping saw and my newly-acquired palm sander (which is why the thing isn't quite rhomboidal). Then I used a 1 1/4" wood boring bit (driven by my new Milwaukee drill) to drill the hole, and then I used a Dremel router attachment to lower the top of the box -- everything but the pegs.

The wood boring bit had a nasty side effect of leaving a pointy hole in the center much deeper than the surrounding wood. I should have used one of those expensive cylindrical bits. Anyway, I tried to even things out, but the bottom of the hole ended up looking all nasty and pitted. More on my solution to that later.

Next, I attacked the lid. The lid is made of myrtlewood, a rather hard wood for this kind of work. I started by carving an Inuit-style salmon eye design on to the myrtlewood:

I decided to do the carving first, rather than cut out the piece first, because I figured there was a bigger chance that I'd screw up the carving, so I didn't want to invest too much effort until I'd done it. Not sure if I still think that was a good idea.

Next, I used both my newly-acquired Sawzall and a coping saw to cut the lid into the proper ellipsish shape.

Then, I used my drill to punch a couple holes for the pegs in the lid and used my dremel to make everything fit all nice:

One really tough bit was getting the lid to sit solidly on the top of the box. Those pegs turned out not to be such a hot idea after all -- they made it nearly impossible to smooth out the top.

Next, I sanded the whole thing down, using my palm sander, my dremel, and good old 220-grit sandpaper:

As I mentioned earlier, the bottom of the hole was pretty darn rough. Asking around, I found that no one I knew had a good way to smooth it out! One choice I considered was covering the bottom in some kind of level-drying epoxy. However, in the end I decided the hole could survive being a little more shallow, and I went with an all-wood approach: I carved a small disk of cocobolo to cover the bottom of the hole. A prettier solution anyway, I think.

Here's the box, unfinished in its component parts:

Finally, I put 2 coats of linseed oil on the whole darn thing. After that, it looks like this: