So this box started out with an idea for the top. Something I had never tried before, but that I liked the look of. As you can see from the picture, it is a parquet top made from many small pieces of solid cherry, assembled together. There are three different sizes to the pieces – the long verticals, the medium sized middle sections and the shorter side pieces. All are the same thickness and width. Rather than try for a perfectly smooth top, I decided to add a small chamfer to the top four edges of each piece to accentuate the pattern. The pattern itself is resting on a solid base that makes up the lid of the box. I made the top first, and then sized the box to match the lid. For me, that was an easier and more reliable approach than the math to size all the pieces perfectly in an existing opening.
The construction began with 4/4 rough lumber that was cut and milled to a final size of about 3/4″ thick maple panels. The cherry pieces followed suit, though I think they started as off cuts from previous projects. The parquet top was assembled and glued down to a plywood base, and then I made the maple sides with a dado to accept the top panel. For added strength and to provide some visual interest, I also added a cherry spline to the miters at each corner. You can see them from the top, and when the lid is raised. A rabbet was added to the bottom of the panels to make room for the box bottom, and then the whole box could be assembled. Once that was complete, I ran the solid box through the table saw to separate the top and bottom sections creating the lid.
With the box/lid assembled, i now had exact dimensions to work from to complete the trays for the inside. The very bottom section has two dividers made from maple that give the trays something to rest on, and create three oversized sections for larger items. The trays themselves are made of maple, with cherry dowels at the corners to reinforce the miter joints. The dividers are maple, with half laps at the crossings, and laid out to offer a variety of sizes for each little section. All the wood was sanded smooth, finished with multiple coats of tung oil and paste wax, and given plenty of time to air out.
The bottoms of the trays, the inside bottom of the box, and the inside of the lid are all covered in velvet, or maybe it is velour. I consider myself a woodworker and not a tailor, the fabric was selected by feel, and color – not by type. It is very soft and it has enough of a pile to leave tracks when you rub it with your fingers. The color is blue-ish, but looks black in the photos. I added Soss brand hinges – they are pretty much invisible when the box is closed and more than sturdy enough to hold the lid securely.
This box was a gift to my Mom probably 25 years or so ago. She still uses it today, it looks as good as new. It is one of my favorite projects. I still love the way the top looks, and how the whole project came together. I really like this one.