Build a Jewelry Box on YouTube, Part 1

I often get asked How-to” questions from my woodworking friends and acquaintances. So I thought I would try to put together some information to share. This is my first attempt, so take it with that understanding in mind. If you find it useful, let me know as I am planning on continuing. If you have suggestions or questions, let me know as well. My objective is not to tell you THE way, but just one of MY ways that might come in handy. If you’re interested, CLICK HERE to access the video on YouTube.

Modified drawer front profile

For years I had a full miter on box drawer fronts. The objective was to have a relatively seamless transition from front to box side. The downside, was that it was so easy to damage that sharp edge, and if damaged, next to impossible to repair. So now I have modified the fit between drawer and side, but putting an approximately 1/8″ x 1/8″ flat on the drawer ends.   I first create the flat on the box side, using a mortising bit. Need to sneak up on it as any incursion on the box body above or below the drawer will show in the finished piece. I tend to clean out the last 1/32″ or so with a chisel. The drawer profile is done with a modified Whiteside chamfer bit that has the bearing removed. (I had this modification done by Whiteside).  I sneak up on the final depth of cut to ensure a good fit. The finished edge is not very noticeable and the drawer is no longer subject to edge damage.


Original sharp-edged drawer profile

Box side flat created with a mortising bit

Edge profiled with the modified chamfer bit

Finished drawer to side interface

Proposed modification and bit that was modified


Box Legs

I have been asked a few times about making the legs that I use on a few of my boxes. Here is a brief description of the process along with a link to an attachment with a few dimensions and templates.

leg closeup


I start with a length or two of 7/8″ square stock. 16″ will yield 4 legs (assuming no “oops”).  With a flat top blade in the table saw, I set the fence to between 3/16″ and 1/4″ from the blade, and set the blade height the same. Run a test piece or 2 until you can make two passes over the blade to result in a right angled piece with a clean inside corner. (see the linked drawing).

Now cut the piece into the finished length for each leg.

Next, mark, on the inside of the piece, the widest point of the leg, also shown on the template. Then connect the top and bottom inside of the side, to the wide point. (Shown in red on the linked drawing). Using a handsaw, bandsaw or disk sander, cut away the excess to create the tapered sides.

Finally, I take each leg to the spindle sander, (could also do with the scroll saw or coping saw), and create the curved top section of each side as shown on the linked drawing with the dotted line.

Hope this is understandable!

And now….for something a bit different!

My 9 year old grandson Jeremy has always been interested in tools, and making/fixing things. This year his birthday present was a woodworking class with Grandpa. Each Tuesday we get together and work on projects. His first was an adjustable book holder.  At the same time, we started working on building him a workbench. Last week we just about finished that. Every project is a team effort. Grandpa does some work with the large power tools. Jeremy is a wiz at the drill press, doing glue ups, and using a centering rule, tape measure, clamps and his own tri-square. He also used the portable electric drill to drill for and drive the screws for the lower bench shelf. Next project is a tool tote box.

Profiled Sides Technique for Jewelry Boxes

Many jewelry boxes have multiple levels….incorporating one or more trays or other inserts. Often these are supported by additional pieces glued into the box sides to provide a rail, or rail pieces inserted into dados along the sides. I never liked those approaches for many reasons. If the box is made of 3/4″ stock, then at typical dimensions, it is way too “bulky” at the joint between the top and bottom of the box. So then one must plane down the stock, but then turn around and add more in to create the rails. Instead, I cut profiles into the box sides which creates integral rails, thins out the stock for better esthetics at the joint, and results is a very solid construction. In the typical box I shoot for a stock thickness at the top-bottom joint of between 1/2″ and 5/8″ depending upon the overall size of the box. The profiled rails are approximately 1/8″ each. If you are interested in some representative dimensions for profiles on different types of boxes, check the downloadable pdf files in the download section of this blog.


profiled sides doc

Can’t live without my Incra Gauge(s)

Forget the stackable brass bars, forget the digital gauges with batteries that always die at the wrong time, this little tool that has been around for over 20 years, runs circles around them all! I have two in my shop, and one in fact is at least 15 years old. Nothing to wear out, no batteries to die. I am still finding new ways to use them as well. Check it out. Here’s a brief write up with pics that I did on this great tool.

A technique for making ring bars

Sometimes it can’t be avoided… need to add ring bars, those fabric covered foam strips between which rings are wedged into a jewelry box. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use the same high quality fabric, in the same color as you used for the rest of the box lining? I’ve tried many techniques I’ve seen illustrated in the past, and none really worked well. So I came up with my own. Still not fun, but the end result delivers on what I need. If you are interested in checking it out, I’ve put together an illustrated pdf guide here.   Making ring bars.  Check it out.


The Shop

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Here are a few photos of my shop, (taken right after a bit of floor sweeping). It’s long and narrow, but after decades in really cramped corners of basements, who am I to complain?  There is about 900 square feet, … Continue reading