A little prototype box with "bow ties" and inlaid dovetails

Al Navas

Between St Joseph and Savannah, MO
If you have already seen this elsewhere, please ignore. Thanks for looking! ---------- Al

This project started as a prototype for another project. Long story short: I was contacted by Leigh Industries to ask if I would be interested in having photos of this little box displayed in their Inlaid Dovetails Gallery (NOTE: That is a link to their web site). I agreed, and you can now view it there :) . I am glad that it turned out this way - I thank LOML, who helped tremendously with the final look and feel of this prototype. I will be using the end-on-end dovetail ideas for a much larger box project, to be done when I finish the current WIP, the changing bed/chest-of-drawers for our daughter.

Now on to this prototype box -----

The design developed as I went, in close consultation with LOML. She made suggestions that improved the overall appearance a whole bunch!

The main idea was to play the thin inlay color against the much larger bow ties, and have both play against the base. I believe we achieved the objective. However, I put it up here for this tough audience. Please feel free to comment.

This little treasure box went to a very special client in New York City: My favorite aunt. It was stuffed with chocolates and other special goodies for Christmas.

It is made of plain-sawn sycamore, with walnut for the base and all the inlays. Both trees came from our property. There is some evidence of quarter-sawn sycamore on some of the boards - I wish I had had all of QS for this little box.

The finishing schedule was as follows, using Target Coatings' waterborne materials - only wax was applied to the inside walls:

1. HSF5100 grain filler, to ensure a smooth surface on the walnut. Two applications.
2. Two coats of blonde shellac (Oxford UltraSeal-WB)
3. Six coats of lacquer (Oxford Ultima Spray Lacquer)
4. Renaissance wax (next week)

The Brusso hardware consists of two 10-mm barrel hinges, and one 1/2-inch lid stay mortised into the left-hand side of the box.

I applied Renaissance wax to finish the finish.

Thanks for looking! ------------ Al

First, the headliner - bow ties & dovetails:


Bow ties:


Inlaid dovetails - walnut accents:

View from the back:


Lid stay and one of two barrel hinges:

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Morning Al.

The workmanship is far better than I could. Joints have been my nemisis, that's one reason why I turn.

Please take this as trying to be constructive. I find the lid distracting. It appears that the grain is running left to right on half and right to left on the other half. If you could have bookmatched to pieces, it would be just that much more pleasing to the eye.

Just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

I dunno, for me the Lid is what really made this piece pop. Reminds me of Photo 101 back in college, critiques are always subjective. I see your point though about the grain flow, but personally don't find it objectionable.
Al, very nice box! The bow tie detail is a nice contrast to the flow of the wood grain. To me though, I feel that the box sides are a bit thick.

I checked out your website and see that you and Sandy are a fine team indeed. I wish you had more of your worked published there, but I trust you will keep us posted.

The link in your signature line should be: https://www.sandal-woods.com

Welcome and thanks, Al!
Hi Al, :wave:
It is obvious as to why they wanted to use that box, it is beautiful and the workmanship is part of it's beauty. Thanks for sharing all the photos :thumb: with comments. So valuable to us, "THE VIEWERS"...:D :D
Thank you all for your comments. It is your comments that can only help us improve in future projects. Thanks for looking! ------- Al

I will address some of your comments individually:

Frank - I agree that the sides ARE thick. I felt I needed them that way to ensure that I developed the technique for the end-on-end dovetails in the lid, without risking blowing the panel during assembly. The focus was entirely on technique, rather than on the wood itself. For a larger project I will undertake with the end-on-end dovetails, I think I now know how to handle the thinner panels. Thanks for catching my typo in the URL to our web site; I corrected it as soon as I read your comment.

Bruce: Thanks! Book matching is exactly what I have in mind for a project. This is the prototype for that project. I must say that I actually learned the techniques required to make the next, much larger project. As Ned already mentioned, people will see the same item and will differ in opinions - it is exactly what makes design so exciting and interesting.

Ned & Robert - Thanks for your nice words. I NEVER expected the prototype to go as far as it has ;) . I believe the bow ties turned out to be quite innovative, and are the main reason for now finding the box photos in a Gallery.

I was asleep at the wheel and hadn't seen this thread until tonight, Al. All I can say is if that's the prototype/test bed, I'll be really looking forward to seeing the finished project. I can relate to the enjoyment of having something that started out as an experiment turn out better than expected. :thumb: