Asian-Inspired Jewelry Box

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Use contrasting woods to create a distinctive treasure chest

Jewelry boxes are fun to design and satisfying to build. If there’s a nicer way to make use of small pieces of precious wood, I haven’t discovered it yet. The design for this box began as a discussion about alternatives to corners that feature dovetail or miter joinery. I was also interested in creating visual interest by using contrasting wood tones and grain patterns. Eventually the design evolved into what you see here–a composition of bocote, wenge, maple and 1⁄8" plywood that has an oriental flair. I added a curved, shop-made handle to build on this theme.

The box contains two jewelry trays designed to hold a velvet ring insert and cardboard tray liners covered with velvet (inset photos). A project like this lends itself well to a spray lacquer finish, and that’s what I used (see Buyer’s Guide, page 66). A pair of brass hinges is the only hardware required. When building your own version of this project, keep in mind that many other contrasting wood combinations are possible. Since a couple of jigs are needed for tapering the legs and routing hinge mortises, I recommend gathering enough stock to make more than one box.

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