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Kumiko Box

author-gravatar joelav Feb 19, 2019

Cherry box with mitered corners and a kumiko design in the lid

I really like making these lift-lid boxes with kumiko panels. This one is a bit different as I added some padauk banding around the lid edges. It's easier than I thought it would be    

The first step is always breaking down long stock to smaller stock on my low sawhorses. This is some nice cherry here. After it's rough lengths, I'll flatten and mill the faces 

Then I joint an edge

and rip it to final width at the tablesaw

Here is the banding. I cut a 1/8" groove in the top of each board at the router table before I cut the miters. 

Then I glued a 1/8" strip of padauk, and ripped it again at the tablesaw to flush it up 

Came out perfectly

Then I cut the miters

The miters are cut and the banding lines up

I glued it together, inserting both the top and bottom plywood panels. The panels are painted on both sides with black milk paint and a flat waterborne finish. I don't use clamps. Painters tape works fine 

I add splines being careful to put one in the lid section that will be removed after 

I flush cut the splines 

Then true up the outside of the box. After it was trued up, I cut the lid off on the bandsaw

The box has a maple liner. Here I am rough cutting some maple

Making the dividers which will be lap jointed into the maple liner

Cutting the joints for the dividers 

Test fit looks good. This method keeps the dividers in the box without having to worry about gluing them to the bottom

Pre-finishing the dividers and liner with shellac and wax

The tray - another mitered box. Cherry, cherry splines, maple divider, plywood bottom

Now to work on the kumiko. I get one vertical and one horizontal strip fit perfectly and use those as masters 

cutting the half lap joints for the kumiko. Many do this with a tablesaw, I prefer to do it with hand tools 

The pieces for the gridwork 

Once it's rigid enough, I like to test the fit. This will go with some percussive persuasion 

getting the rest of the pattern cut 

With everything cut, it's time to assemble it


Finish is oil and shellac 

box and tray 


This is such a great box, and not just because I have vested interest in it. I like how the inclusion of something so seemingly insignificant like a spline of padauk can change the look so much.

If I didn't already own one of your boxes this one would find a new home. You are killing it my friend. Beautiful box! 👍

Well done brother, well done.

Your designs are excellent and your work is always top notch.

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