Wenge And Black Limba Kumiko Box
I wanted to make my wife something special for our fifth anniversary. After toying with a few different ideas, I settled on a kumiko box to hold her watches. Instead of using the usual basswood for the kumiko, I wanted to have a wenge frame and black limba diagonal pieces. (Okay, I also tried to see if I could use wenge for everything, but it was a splintery mess with no compression at all making it almost impossible to fit.) The final product lacks that uniform geometric beauty of a traditional asa no ha pattern with all basswood, but I find all the little variations pretty mesmerizing in person.
Notching the wenge pieces for the grid. I used a sacrificial plywood fence, cut a kerf with my 1/4 dado stack to 1/8 high, moved the fence down by the width of one grid square and cut a small piece to hold the board for next cut. Similar to the method for a box joint. Ripped these to 1/4 wide, had to disregard a few pieces because the twisted horribly after the rip cuts.
My finished grid. Next time I would trim the ends of the grid pieces to length before assembling the full panel, lots of anxiety getting those trimmed after all the work was done.
Progress shot of cutting the black limba gridwork. The wood was actually great to work with.
Fully assembled panel. Next time I would make the wenge grid 1/8 wide like the limba (or just use all black limba for the kumiko panel, but honestly I like the contrast).
Miter box with a 1/4 (plus my narrowest shim to give a little play) dado to hold the kumiko panel. A single blade kerf on the bottom to hold a 1/8” thick black limba bottom panel.
I didn’t trust my bandsaw to separate the lid from the bottom of the box, so I had to use my table saw with a thin kerf blade. So nerve wracking.
The results were pretty remarkable, I barely had anything to clean up.
Inserting the black limba lining. Lots of tedious measuring and trimming to get it to fit. Sits slightly proud of the bottom to hold the lid in place.
Top view of the finished box.
Finished with a few coats of shellac, 0000 steel wool in between coats.
The box in its final home.