On a recent visit to Woodcraft (formerly Midwest Woodworking) in Omaha, I discovered a new addition to the outstanding selection of wood carried by the store. Among several nice pieces of lacewood, I found one with a section near the midpoint with some extraordinary figure. Although the wood was still a little rough, the chatoyance was obvious. I immediately saw potential for a gorgeous box with an awesome lid. My wife encouraged me to buy it, and I happily obliged!
This marks my first project with lacewood, although I have used other woods that were similar. I found it a little easier to use than the others, since it seemed a bit softer and hand planed better — leaving me a smoother surface and little tear out.
A truly troubling problem was selecting a piece of wood for the handle. If you look back through other boxes I have made in this style, I typically used contrasting woods. I shaped several different types of wood, but none went well with the color and grain of this box. My wife’s suggestion of using the same wood eventually was the obvious choice, and taking advantage of the end grain across the front it looks good from all angles.
This box includes a lift out tray of the same wood. In the photo showing the tray sitting in front, the various grain patterns from a single 4 feet of wood show the great variations in this one board. Depending upon the angle of the light and camera, the patterns on the top and inside of the lid change like some of those 3D images that you come across from time to time. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to appreciate that in these photographs.
With the tray in the box, there remains an inch of clearance under the tray for additional items. If the box ever ends up in the possession of a lady, they will have room for a variety of jewelry. At the moment, I plan to keep the box for myself. After making many boxes, I had yet to keep one. However, the way my wife keeps fawning over it, she might find a way to move her things into it before my stuff gets too familiar.
Unlike my other boxes, this one is finished with rattle can lacquer. The sheen is satin finish, and all rubbed down with a mild abrasive fabric. Rather than go for the ‘plastic’ look, the box definitely shows off the fact that it is made of wood. I have grown to enjoy letting the pores of the wood be exposed enough that you can tell it is real wood.
The dimensions of this box are 10 x 5 x 3 inches.