Pepperwood Writing Box

Pepperwood Writing Box
Pepperwood Writing Box
Pepperwood Writing Box
Pepperwood Writing Box
Pepperwood Writing Box

This box will hold writing supplies, paper, envelopes, and perhaps a few pens and other writing materials. After a series of curved lid, shaped front boxes, this one returned to a straightforward rectangular shape at 13 1/8 × 8 3/4 × 4 1/4”. Like most of my boxes it’s pretty traditional in appearance.

The substrate is Baltic birch ply, veneered with pepperwood burl (also known, I understand, as Oregon myrtle or California laurel.) The edging is boxwood, bordered with a black-black/white/black line. The lid is a four-way book-match and the sides are a two-way match. The exterior lift is African blackwood. I veneered the underside of the lid in pepperwood, and added an accent banding of Asian satinwood. The box bottom, and tray bottom, are veneered in cherry to fit the general color of the rest of the box.

The hinges are smartHinges from Andrew Crawford, with a matching full mortise lock. The tray, tray pedestals, and interior partitions are canarywood, as are the partitions that keep the little Jacaranda box in place. The interior surfaces are lined with chocolate brown pig suede leather. The Jacaranda box lift is turned from ebonite (a high end fountain pen material) with a betel nut inlay. The finish is French polish.

Fixing problems: There is a sidebar story to this box, in that the veneer, while beautiful, was riddled with defects. I chose to use it, despite the challenges, and saw the opportunity to test various methods of filling and repairing all the holes. There were over 200 holes and defects (yes, 200!) in the box surface! One hole was larger than a nickel. I decided if it didn’t work out, I could always strip off this veneer and redo it in something else. Actually, it turned out to be a valuable experiment. I learned a lot I didn’t know about repairing defects with the materials commonly available.

I always try to fix the defects I find (or create) so I used this opportunity to test out several different fillers and ways to use them. Also, re-creating the grain patterns trying to create virtually invisible repairs. I think most will agree that it’s possible to make repairs that will satisfy even the most demanding observer. It’s harder to actually do it. You can judge the result.

I don’t like letting mistakes or defects pass. Not that I’ve never done it (…but I don’t respect myself in the morning.) When all is said and done, we’re remembered by what we do, not what we intended to do. The box is not perfect …they never are, but perfection is always worth trying for. :-)

In any event, this is the result.

BTW: I did an eBook showing just how I made this box, and all the veneer repairs. This one(vol. 2) is available for download at

Many thanks for taking a look.



Nice Box. The pepperwood is nice. The defects must be typical because I had some and it had a lot of defects. Repairs look good.

Hey Roger, I’m off the forum for a few days over Christmas and I miss three boxes! You may consider this a heartfelt “attaboy” for all three. If I had to pick, I think my favourite would have to be ….. ahhh …… nope, I just can’t pick, I like ’em all. :-)
Have a great new year.

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

Oh man!
The veneer is terrific. It’s very hard to chose between all your box.
It seems you got your technique down to a science.
In my opinion fixing mistakes is more difficult than building the project itself.
I must admit I hate myself in the morning and evening as well. LOL.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA


We never tire of seeing your works of art!

While we don’t use exotic burls, we have had considerable experience filling holes. Much of the oak milled off our property has oak wilt and we don’t necessarily like the appearance of distressed furniture and cabinetry so we’ve learned to fill the worm holes so they aren’t visible (at least not to us old folks with poor vision).


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

Ah, Roger, I just plain love your boxes. And I love hearing your stories about their construction. It’s hard to believe you’re still learning new things on box-making. I thought you knew it all! That’s the beauty of woodworking, isn’t it.

Might As Well Dance :

As with all of your work, this is not just a box but a work of art,spectacular work.

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