Hugh’s Walnut Keepsake Box

Viewer Project - By Hugh Reeves from Birmingham, AL
Added on February 15, 2012

This is a box I built for my new baby nephew. He is the first child of my only brother and I wanted to do something special.

Before I go into any further details about the box, I want to express my sincere thanks to TWW. I discovered woodworking about 6 months ago and this box is my first real project. Marc’s videos (in conjunction with Rob Bois’s blog) have been pretty much the sum of my woodworking education. Perhaps the most striking feature of this box is the inlay of my nephew’s initials and I learned every single step of the process from Marc’s video on router-based inlays. So from myself, my brother and his wife, and my tiny new nephew, thank you so much for this incredible resource!

The box was made from some short walnut scraps sold on sale at my lumberyard. I think if I had had a little more experience, I would have chosen different (likely straighter) grain for the sides of the box. The dovetails are handcut with a super cheap saw and my homemade 1:8 dovetail marking gauge. I took full advantage of the sawdust/glue combo to hide gaps. Actually, after doing the inlay and seeing how wood-like the gaps were after adding a drop of CA glue, I did this for all the sawdust-filled gaps around my dovetails. It made for a LOT of CA glue sanding, but I thought it looked better afterwards. The top is two pieces glued together then run through my planer. I tried to slide my boards around to find color and grain pattern that looked relatively matched. The bottom is attached by brad nails and features wedged through-tenon feet that are pretty much a straight rip-off of Rob Bois’ Bible-box project (which this project was obviously heavily influenced by). The hinges were bought at my local woodcraft (perhaps my 3rd major source of knowledge). The inlay was cut out of hard maple using a cheap Ryobi scroll saw.

This box was incredibly fun to build and a MAJOR learning opportunity for me. I made several mistakes most of which I think I was able to conceal, but you can be the judge. Thank you again for this amazing resource that has made my nephew’s gift possible.