A couple weddings came up and I wanted gifts for them. Thought a handmade wooden keepsake box would be fun to make. Designed it in a 3D program, Sketchup. Inspired by an old timey leather travel box with some rivets. Made with some good figured maple wood. Real hardwoods and easy to work with. Accented with Walnut, another good hardwood. Featuring all wooden hinge and locking latch.
Even though the joinery won’t be seen, I still chose to use finger joints (aka box joints). It’s super strong. It’s too bad, because they look nice.
Lots of clamps to hold the walls together while the wood glue sets.
All trim and accents are made from walnut.
For the lid, I chose a ‘jail’ type. Just for laughs. haha Guess this was too easy a metaphor.
Holes drilled for the wooden dowels.
All accent trim cut. Making 2 boxes at the same time sure does save time.
Cutting/separating the lid from the box on the table saw.
more glue ups.
These blocks of walnut will eventually be cut into smaller pieces of corner trim
It’s a subtle detail, but all the corner details have a slight angle. Each are custom cut to the corners to match mating sides. A lot of work, but worth it.
Each and every piece of trim accent was custom cut with a hand saw. To ensure a seamless fitting. Measure. Cut. Glue. Clamp. Repeat. ~50x. For each box.
Hinges made from wood. At the start, it seems like a really hard thing to do. But, once you break it down, it’s pretty simple. Starts out with cutting out ‘fingers’. The same type as the finger joints.
I was able to get 4 sets from a small chunk of walnut.
Rounded the ‘fingers’ on my belt sander. Drilled through with a long 1/8” drill bit.
Used a 1/8” brass bar as a temp pin.
This was mostly decorative.
Ready to mount
With a brad point drill bit in the hole, I hit it lightly with a hammer. this gave me a centre punch to drill into the maple...
For the locking latch on the front of the box, it’s the same technique as the hinges. only difference is that i cut off some thickness for a thinner profile. Used a table saw for this.
Again, I used a brass bar to hold the hinge together while I sanded the fingers to a nice round shape.
(back side)... coming along....
more details on the front latch.
For a “riveted” look, i chose to just use a 1/8” wooden dowel in drilled holes. Simple and cool looking.
Made a whole bunch of the dowels. Hand cut. and glued in. Here i decided to try 1 box that’s flush cut (with a flush cut hand saw) and one that I let the ‘rivets’ protrude slightly. Spaced it out with a washer.
I cut a small piece of dowel, threw it into my cordless chuck. Found a rock and just ground the tip until i had a small concave end. And just used the wooden dowel to burnish all the little wooden rivets. To give it a nice rounded edge. The process gave it a nice polish too! BONUS! haha
This looks hardcore.
Here are some simple feet for the box. beveled the sides on the belt sander.
For the finish, I decided to try 2 different finishes. One box, I used Circa 1850 Antique Paste Varnish and the second box, I used Tung ’N Teak oil. Both applies easily.
I need some hardware to keep the lid from rotating too far back. It will break the wooden hinge. This and the brass pins are the only things that weren’t wood on this project.