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A Hand Dovetailed Black Walnut Jewelry Box

Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.
Albert Einstein, Theoretical physicist…1879 – 1955.

Black walnut Jewelry Box with dovetails

Black walnut jewelry box with dovetails

One weekend a while back while in the shop I came across a few pieces of scrap black walnut that had some beautiful grain patterns. Before long I began to think about how I could maximize the amount of material that was available. The walnut was just over 3/4″ thick and the next thing I knew I was ripping the wood to a thickness of about 7/16″ on the band saw. For some reason I ran the pieces through the planer just to see how the grain looked and to my amazement I started to get more involved with this wonderfully beautiful black walnut.

After squaring a few ends I found myself laying out dovetails. I figured it would be a good practice and so I grabbed my dovetail saw and then before long I had my chisels paring away walnut for the fitting of tails and pins. To tell you the truth I had no idea that I was beginning to build another jewelry box. It’s as if one step of the process was leading me towards the next step. It was an unconscious act tho and I was going along for the ride. The next thing I knew I had the four corners dovetailed.

Jewelry Box of black walnut with handmade dovetails

Jewelry Box of black walnut with handmade dovetails

In the scrap bin I found some black walnut that was veneered to 1/4″ MDF on both sides. It would serve as the base of what was becoming a jewelry box. I now rabbeted dovetailed walls to glue and let in the base.

Finding another scrap of black walnut I sized a lid for the wooden box and then created a decorative profile on the router table. Now, I just needed a handle for the lid and I was a bit concerned because I was running short on the black walnut material. I suppose I could always accent the box with a different wood however, I really wanted it to be just black walnut.

As luck would have it I found a practice piece from woodturning and it became the jewelry box handle. I had previously turned a black walnut disk with a rim on the circumference. As you can see in the photos I cut the disk and then face glued it to form an arching handle. Next I installed the supports to house the lid. The final steps were applying various coats of shellac and then applying Liberon fine paste wax.

This 6-1/2″ x 12″ x 3-1/4″ box simply evolved in the workshop as I was just fascinated by the beauty of the grain. One thing led to the next and suddenly it took shape. So, now the jewelry box is in the hallway where I pass by it quite often. For some reason this black walnut hand dovetailed box continues to hold my attention.

Watch the Let’s Build a Jewelry Box videos.

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