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Oak Burl Box

This is another man box. It’s 10 ¼” x 8” x 4 ¼” high, and veneered in oak burl, with a four way book-match on the lid and edged with boxwood. The finish is French polish over Liberon spirit sanding sealer. The side rail hinges are from, and the full mortise lock and escutcheon is from

The substrate is baltic birch ply, MDF, and edged with solid walnut to provide a finished bottom edge. The inset panel in the bottom is covered with the same blue leather as the lining. Small white/;black/white lines border the inside of the lid/base opening to provide a crisp delineation between the veneer edge and the blue leather lining.

I was experimenting here with different, and increasingly complex front shapes. For example, there are fourteen separate pieces of veneer on the front of this box. (plus the edging and inlays) The various converging curves present some unique problems for the veneer matching, joining the edging, and placing the line inlays. The shaped front is unquestionably the most difficult part of this box.
I considered a carved shell or an inlay on the lid, but it seemed to look better without. I chose the simple brass lock escutcheon to complement the period nature of the design. I like to avoid unfinished surfaces anywhere on a box, so the bottom of this one is upholstered with the same blue leather as the lining instead of my usual veneer treatment.

I like to provide pleasant surprises on the interior of a box. To me, an unlined box is, well, unfinished. So I continue to look for new and interesting ways to finish off the interior of a box (though this particular interior is pretty simple). It has only a single tray of Asian satinwood, divided to hold a man’s watches and/or pens. The dividers are secured with decorative brass pins, and the bottom of the tray is veneered in the same oak burl.

I had also been experimenting with embroidered monograms or patterns on the leather lining, and in this case added a Celtic knot to the inside of the lid. Ideally, to my thinking, such decoration should have some significance or meaning, and not just randomly selected. The “endless knot or eternal knot” patterns (there are many) have a very long history extending at least as far back as the Romans, as well as the middle-east and far east. It usually indicates the connectedness of all things.

The idea here, at least, is to continue enriching the viewing experience on into the interior of the box.

Thanks for looking.


Roger, Always admire your work ! Hope life is good – - Merry Christmas

-- Dave Clark

A good example of superb craftsmanship and the beauty certainly carries forward to the inside which is a nice surprise .



We always love looking at your work!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Hey Roger ….. What L/W said. :-)

-- The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Beautiful as always, with the colour inside making this exceptional. This is the first time I have personally seen oak burle in quantity that is so light in colour, then the contrast of the inside makes it a box to remember for me.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

What shipwright said….Outstanding…..

-- MontanaBob

Man thats nice!


-- Steve Tow

Roger as are all your boxes,this is just down right gorgeous .

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker