Gethyn and I are fortunate to have six lovely granddaughters, two here in southeastern North Carolina, two in Connecticut and two way out in Oakland, CA. In September, as I usually do, I began thinking about making something for some or all of the girls for Christmas. After searching around for quite a bit, I settled upon jewelry boxes, even though three of the girls were as yet too young for such a gift.
The design came from a site I found on the net, Jeff Greef Woodworking. This is the design and construction page. I found the plans and instructions more then adequate, although my construction methods varied considerably from theirs due to differences in available tools.
I went to Anchor Hardwoods intending to purchase six or seven board feet of Black Walnut, and walked out with that amount of African Padauk, a species I had never heard of, let alone worked with. I was sold by the beauty of the wood, it’s lovely grain, and, of course, the color. I found it fairly easy to work, as it’s fairly hard (very forgiving) and yet not demanding on tools like some species of Oak and other hardwoods. Although the dust is toxic, I enjoyed working with it.
One of the sites I referenced recommended the use of water-based stain or varnish for this wood, so I found what I believe is the only manufacturer of water-based polyurethane, Hydrocote, and purchased their product Polyshield from Hood Products.
The hardware was the hardest to find. Oh, you can find inexpensive brass hinges and clasps at any hardware store, but I wanted something that would last. An article in Fine Woodworking led me to Lee Valley Tools, where I purchased the hinges and a tiny roll-top lockset for the boxes.
Here are a couple of pictures of a finished box, I wish I had taken more care with the pictures, but I was kind of in a hurry at that point. I made three of the boxes, and plan to make three more for the remaining granddaughters. Or, perhaps I’ll make them something else as I seldom revisit a project I have already done. It never seems to come out as well the second time!