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Maple and Padauk Box

author-gravatar Timmy2Hands Feb 22, 2022

I started this project in December of 2019 and just as I finished the glue-up I hit a real slump in my motivation to be out in the shop creating or building anything. This box sat in an unfinished state for most of 2020 and all of 2021. I have now decided to dive back into my creativity. Finishing up some older projects seamed to be a good place to start.

The box is 7 3/8" wide, 3 7/8" deep, and 2 3/8" tall.

The front, top, and back panels are highly figured Maple and have been cut from one piece of wood so that the grain wraps up and over to the back. African Padauk was chosen for the sides because the contrasts in color and grain works so well with the Maple. The ends are glued to the front and back panels and are also pinned in place with 1/8" round brass rod. The brass rod is also used to hinge the lid. The thumb lift is made from Ebony and is 1/8" x 1/8" square stock used for inlay banding. The interior of the box is lined with padded black suede panels.

#Box #Boxmaking #Maple #FiguredMaple #Padauk #AfricanPadauk

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Photos will never do justice the amount of movement you get or the depth of the figure in this Maple.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

This is a 4' long 10" wide piece of 4/4 (actually 1 1/8") luthier grade figured Maple I came across while buying some other lumber from a fellow woodworker who was getting out of the hobby. He said he had been sitting on this piece for around 25 years and just couldn't bring himself to cut it up. It was truly stunning, and while I did pay for the other lumber he gave me this piece as a gift.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Why is it that the part you want to use is never on the end of the board? It's always right in the middle of the board.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Well, here goes nothing.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Cleaning up the face with a hand plane really shows just how much chatoiance is in this board.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Squaring one edge for resawing

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The Laguna 14-Twelve had no problems resawing this wide of a cut

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The resaw cut was made at 3/8" and after cleaning up the faces it came out to 5/16" and left me plenty more of this beautiful grain in the off-cut for another project. The off-cut piece is thick enough to resaw again and make a nice bookmatch for something like a door panel.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

I really like the tight straight grain of this African Padauk to go with the Maple. 

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

I cut the maple into three pieces for the front, lid, and back panels. The bottom panel will be 3/8" Baltic Birch plywood and will be glued in place to give the box a 1/8" lift. The exposed plywood edge will be blackened with Arm-R-Seal gel stain.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

This is my set-up for a tail vise.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Cutting rabbets

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

I used a cross-cut saw to establish the endgrain rabbets

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The waste is popped off with a chisel.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

A router plane is used to maintain consistency.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Cross-cut sleds aren't just for the tablesaw.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Now that the pieces are seperated the last two rabbets are cut.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The lid and bottom panels can now be fitted.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Time for glue and clamps.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The lid is now taped in place and tape is added to the ends to assist in marking out the hole locations for the brass pins.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Once the holes are cut the tape is removed.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

This pin location will allow the pin to work as a hinge for the lid. It was critical to remember not to drill all the way through the hole location at the front of the lid. A dummy pin will go in that location for aesthetics.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The pins were cut a little longer than needed.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The inside corner of the lid panel is rounded over to allow the lid to open.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

It is adjusted until the lid opens just past 90 degrees.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

the other pins are glued in place with CA glue.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

They can now be filed flush.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

This is the codition the box sat in for the next two years

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself and kicked myself back into gear I got out the smoothing plane and flushed up all sides of this box. The end panels were done on sandpaper glued to glass because of the brass pins.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

I have another box project that you will see later that I used this 1/8" x 1/8" Ebony banding on all of the corners.

I just grabbed a piece of scrap and cut to an appropriate length. I don't know the legth, I just eyeballed it. I used the sandpaper on glass to smooth the edges and round the ends.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

The thumb lift is glued in place with Tite-bond hide glue.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Card scrapers and sanding blocks are used for final finish prep and softening of the edges and corners.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Three coats of Arm-R-Seal Satin topcoat with 24 hours and a light 400 grit sanding between coats.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Three days after the final coat I applied Alfie Shine Hard Wax Polish and buffed it out with a shoe shine brush.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

While the box was curing I took a trip to Tandy Leather and picked up a nice piece of black pig skin suede for the interior of the box.

Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box
Photo of Maple and Padauk Box

Thanks for following along I hope you enjoyed it.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I'll be happy to answer as best I can.

-Tim McCoy

Timmy2Hands

6 comments

That is a beautiful box, Tim! I love the figure! I'm happy to see you out there building and sharing your work again. Welcome back!

Nice work! I love flame-maple! I like how you wrapped the leather before putting it in the box. Is that glued in as well or just friction fit? I try to make all of my interiors friction fit. And I'm in the same boat trying to get motivated to do something. I have a couple projects that need finishing. It is this Corona! It's got everyone just "blah". 

@WoodGate 

A lot of the time I will use carpet tape to lock in the leather panels but this time they are just friction fit. It's nice to know I can just pull them out to clean them if nothing else and replace them if somehow they get damaged.

Terrific box!!  Love the woods, particularly the  flame maple.  Great  how you wrapped it around the box.  I my newbie eyes, this is a really top job!  Glad you finished.  What grit did you sand from/too?  The finishing is so important and I have a lot to learn….Cheers Robyn

@KiwiRobyn  Thanks.

I'm a hand tool guy and I try my best to avoid sandpaper all together It's hand planes and card scrapers for me, I do use 220 grit to soften edges and corners before I apply the finish. When I do use sandpaper I will go 150 grit to 220 and if I'm using a highly figured wood I'll go up to 320 and maybe even 400 grit.

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