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Hexagonal Keepsake Box

author-gravatar hampshirewoodworks Jan 01, 2021

This year really disrupted life in my shop. Working at home really turned my hobby time into work time, so I didn't seem to do much of anything between now and last year, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from making a box for my annual Reddit Secret Santa. For some reason I always end up doing something different, and this year was no exception when I saw these hexagonal boxes Clark Kellogg featured in Fine Woodworking. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, so much so that there are three more waiting to get done on my bench.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I started with an offcut from the cherry I used for my bedframe. At the time I figured it would be handy to keep for this kind of occasion. This does not help my hoarding tendencies. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I was able to get 4 pieces out of this, each with a jointed face on one side. I cut them around a fat 3/8", as I knew they'd be better on the lean side considering the size of the box.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I originally thought I'd be making a single big box out of these, but later opted to make a smaller one with an additional three to give to others. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Sliced up with the first proof of concept.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Labeling joints to make sure I don't make some parallelograms.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I really should have made a sled for these, but due to expedience I opted to use the miter gauge. It did a decent job, but there was enough goofiness that I was not 100% satisfied. I wrestled a lot of it out in the glue up.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I can see why those hexagonal shelves are so in right now. Pretty neat the way they all nest.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

For the top and bottom I'm also drawing from the bedframe offcut pile. This time it's a piece of curly maple that I couldn't stand to let go. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Normally when I resaw I just get it where I think it should be and let it fly. This time I was sawing something actually close to a veneer, so I wanted some reassurance. I grabbed this piece of Alaskan Cedar and it turned out fantastic for a first shot. I've kept this around because it's so straight, but the smell is really something else. I don't want to ruin a box interior with some wacky smelling cedar.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Never cut anything this thin before.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Looks even enough.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I chose the less risky move first. These are for the interior parquetry, which isn't ideal with the curve in the grain, but it will do.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

They turned out pretty even!

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I was too zoned in with the maple to stop and take a photo, but they turned out fantastic.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

This stuff really is out of this world.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I traced out rough triangles on the slips of walnut then used the shooting board with a 60 degree insert to trim them to final size.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

In true walnut fashion, it was a little splintery at times. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Preview of what to expect in the inserts.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

IT looks perfect, but I glued them up in stages and trued them after each one. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

First I glued up each half.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Then I would shoot each side straight and glue them together. I didn't get a perfect rotational symmetry on these, but it was close enough for a first try that you can't tell when looking from far away.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Wood sandwich with some 1/4" BB at the core.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Thankfully I saved the small veneer press from last year's box. I followed Sean's instructions on this one.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Parchment paper to make sure I'm not making unintentionally thick lids. :)

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Good bond.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

After a decent attempt at flattening with a ROS as I have no drum sander on hand.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box
Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

One side shot, looking like I had good adhesion.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Enter the sketchiest router table without a router table setup you'll see this year.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Looking like it works.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Lid and bottom rabbets.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box
Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Utilizing the shooting board to trim this to fit each side.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Fits exactly in place.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Looks good on the inside as well.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I should have used the veneer press to press these in, but this worked out well enough.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Following the same process for fitting the trim around the lid and base.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Blue tape doing work. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Only undershot 1 or two of the trim pieces.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

"Clamps"

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Looking good, no gaps.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Always the worst part. It takes so much confidence to cut your newly completed box straight in half. Thankfully it went well.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Removing the saw marks from each side, not too bad with a sheet of 220.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Just thought it looked fun.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Fit well enough you can hardly see the lid line.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I was in a rush to get this box out the door, so I failed to document the liner, but it was the same process as the sides: resaw and plane to thickness and tablesaw to cut the bevels

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

I glued them in place with a small dab of liquid hide on the backs of each one as I slid them into place.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Two swipes with my LN 101 to break the sharp edge of the lid and body joint.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Chamfers on the liner for comfort.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

In standard fashion, I was two days late at this point so the only finish to go with was shellac. 5 coats in a few hours. Nothing fancy, buffed with white scotchbrite when I was done to give it a matte sheen.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Looking FIIIIIIINE.

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Interior came out good too!

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

Another year, another box. Using "veneer" has been fun. So much that I'm considering a few projects this year to try it out a little more in depth. 

Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box
Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box
Photo of Hexagonal Keepsake Box

4 comments

Wow really most impressive! I like details like the interior sleeves which I also do. It makes the box stand out that much more. There are quite a few boxes on my list to make this year and I might just have to try a version of this one! 

Great work Scott, really beautiful piece. All my favorite woods too.

That cherry will darken a little too and add even more contrast to the Maple.

You killed it, Scott! I hope you start to sell these because I want one! Damn fine work, man.

Wow, this is beautiful! Great job!

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