Walnut heirloom box
This heirloom box was a wedding gift from the bride's parents. Made from fine quality hardwoods throughout (no boards or laminates anywhere) it has been designed to store documents (A4), jewellery and keepsakes, even the fathers' OBE (in the tray compartment top left).
The process starts with discussions concerning likely use, its style/design environment and personal taste concerning woods and general colour tones. Choice of materials will evolve from that and a style board is produced (shown below).
A box like this will take as long to make as a full size cabinet. Ideally I will take several months making one of these, with much of the time spent preparing then conditioning the woods. I fit them in around other work and enjoy doing them - this makes them sensibly affordable.
Wild English walnut, ebony banding
The walnut was chosen for its dramatic grain figuring, and the fact that it had been milled many years ago so was going to be very stable.
The ebony is Madagascar and is reclaimed. I severely restrict my use of 'exotic' timbers these days but some of these woods manage to find a second life.
It starts with a style board
I will often produce a style board - a gathering of key materials in their approximate proportions. This helps me and the client check how things look together, before commiting to the actual piece. Note the inset part of a brass hinge - the metal finish needs considering too.
In this case the boxwood 'string' (at the top) was deleted as being a little over-fussy.
Pippy maple insert tray...
Canadian 'pippy' maple, fine leather tray liners, ebony tray-lifts, engraved brass plaque.
Inspired by a watch...
The tray-lifts are solid ebony, hand-shaped. Their form was inspired by the strap lugs of a 1950s IWC watch, known as bull-horn lugs. (Similar lugs can be found on some Breitlings of the period).
Solid woods throughout
The fine markings of the walnut are partly due to the way it grew (in conditions of high winds or a steep slope), creating compression within some parts of the trunk - that is where these fine ripples come from.
Each opposing face of this box was split from one thicker board, and 'bookmatched' so that the top and bottom were once one - the grain pattern is matched. The same is true of each opposing side.