Small Ebony Tool Box

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This is the first of two fitted tool cases. It’s a small box, only 7 × 6” and 3” tall. The exterior is veneered in Macassar ebony with black edging and a decorative W/B/W line. The carcase is 3/8” Baltic birch ply. The dyed black boxwood edging was a gift from fellow LJ Randy Walton. Thanks Randy!

The tools inside consist of the shapely little Lie-Nielsen mini router plane, and the three different size cutting blades and the depth stop. It’s a precise and carefully crafted tool. It looks right at home in a fitted box. And, I confess to having a thing about taking good care of my tools.

While the Dremel with a Stewart-Macdonald router base is normally my weapon of choice for excavating inlays, there are times when it’s not ideal. Hence, this little router plane. (It can reach into sharp corners, for instance.)

The interior is veneered in amboyna burl. The fitted section (tray?) lifts out to reveal the original documents for the tools. The hinges are heavy extruded brass I purchased from a hardware store in Wales. While they needed to be polished, they’re attractive, well made hinges – and perfect for this box.

The catch was purchased from Andrew Crawford, and is the same piece he uses on his beautiful flute cases. (Perhaps these are available here in the states somewhere, but I’ve not seen them.) I’ve had these in my hardware drawer for three or four years waiting for the right project, and here it is. The box is separated at the center line so the lid will lay flat and out of the way when it’s open.

The monogram is for me, of course, since these are my tools. It is made up of maple, ebony and cherry, cut on my chevalet, then assembled and inlaid into the completed lid. Thanks Paul for the cipher idea. I normally avoid personalizing my boxes, as it tends to reduce their future attractiveness. The finish is French polish over Liberon Spirit Sanding Sealer.

Thanks for looking in… No e-book on this one. It’s a relatively straightforward box, pretty much the same process described in the pepperwood burl box e-book at


PS: The second fitted tool box will be along soon. It houses my Steve Latta/Lie-Niesen inlaying tools. It should be completed in a week or so.


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