Small Jewelry Box Gift (December 24th, 2010)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
But out in my workshop all covered in dust
worked I, for building mom's present was a must.

Hmm. Maybe there's a reason why I'm not a poet. Regardless, this project ended up being one of my mom's 2010 Christmas presents. I usually make her a tree ornament, but this year I was feeling particularly adventurous so I went with a small box.

It all started about two or three years ago when I cut down a small Eastern Juniper tree for a neighbor. He lives on the water and this tree was blocking his view so he had me cut it down. He didn't want the tree so I put the branches on his trash pile and kept the trunk for myself. I took it home and cut it into boards about 3/8" thick with my band saw. Most of the boards ended up being about 2 inches wide by about 15 inches long. Nothing major, but big enough for small projects and I thought the heartwood was pretty.

After sawing the boards, I put them under my bed for around eight months. After they had acclimated to the house's environment (and I remembered about them) I ran them through my planer and took them down to about 1/4" to give them a smooth consistent surface. Then I returned them under my bed and kind of forgot about them until recently.

Juniper Boards
The red part is the heartwood and white is sapwood

At 1:30pm Christmas Eve I finally decided it was time to get cracking on my gift. I didn't have much of an idea except for some kind of box made from my juniper. Out in the shop I looked over my available pieces and figured I had enough good material for a 2" x 4" box. I then cut the pieces to length and cut the box joints with my table saw. I really should make a jig for those, because doing it by hand is a pain and not as accurate as it could be. Next I glued the four sides together and started making the top. The edges are recessed so the middle of the lid slips into the box about 1/8". Next was the bottom. If I had been thinking about it better, I would have put it in with a rabbet joint. However, I had already assembled the sides, so I simply glued the bottom in and secured it with four dowels. Next I rounded over the square edges and wrapped it up.

Finished Juniper Jewelry Box

I was pretty amazed at how well this project went. I've never seriously tried box joints before, but these came out pretty good. Nothing was cut wrong or wasted, and I was done in about three hours. It does need some felt on the inside, but I'll let my mom pick out a good color.