A box with carved lid

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    This started as a quick Sellers style chisel box for my daughter from recycled material, then I decided to add a lid. If there’s a lid, why not carve it? But my basswood was a bit on the small side, so I fabricated some moulding with a lip to bring it to size and to hide any gaps that may develop if the lid twists over time.

    The lid is pushing the envelope a bit and may fail. It is on the thin side and may twist, which is one reason for the lip. The moulding makes the lid look thicker than it is (see the photo from the back), which was a deliberate design decision. This keeps the lid light while being visually balanced. The lid is a bit on the wide side to just butt-join the long-grain moulding to the short-grain end of the lid with glue. We’ll see.

    The main design in the center was drawn by my carving teacher. I added the border around it, the corner elements, and the layout composition to relate it to the lid and give it some punctuation and definition.

    Top is basswood laminated from two pieces plus basswood moulding. The dovetailed box sides are mystery wood recycled from a drawer. Reddish hue and soft. The bottom is pine laminated from two pieces. Finish is water based dye with a single, light wipe of oil based finish as a barrier coat, then water based satin finish to build the topcoat. The lid, though, is a spray oil-based poly because of the carving.


    By the way, I’d be glad to have critique and ideas for how to improve the design or execution. My self-critique is that the bottom is too heavy relative to the top and somewhat incompatible in shape. The photography needs a lot of work and makes me feel like the box is rising from a misty crypt.

    Salko Safic

    Your carving is impressive Ed

    The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK
    (Hand tool only woodworking magazine)


    Very nice one day I might get the courage to do some carving.


    Thanks, Salko. I must say, I’m fascinated by your work. The pattern work is inspiring.

    flametamer- Give it a try! Chip carving doesn’t take very much. Wayne Barton’s DVD is definitely adequate to get you going. That’s how I started, and then took a few classes with him.

    Je Lee

    What a beauty!

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I see now that the central part has the form of an eye. Was it intentional? An “eye-lid”!!

    Frankfurt, Germany

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Je Lee.

    @jelee, sorry, I didn’t notice your question until now. Not sure how to answer…the shape is intentional, although looking like an eye wasn’t the goal. I was trying to balance positive and negative space in an interesting way.

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