Old Jewelry Box Becomes Young Again

I was cleaning out my shop not long ago and came across an old jewelry box I began years ago. It's been sitting in a corner waiting for me to acknowledge it.

The problem is that the joinery was sloppy. It was one of my early attempts at box joints, before I knew about using a backing board. Lots of tear-out. I had also gone cheap for the back and it was ugly 1/4" ply.

My first thought was to toss it in the burn pile, but then I took another look and decided to do what I could to revive it.

I started by sanding out all the tear-out. That was a chore, but once done it looked much better. Then I worked on the back, gluing up strips of 1/8" cherry to make a solid looking panel for the back.

I don't have a before photo, but here it is with the new back.

back of jewlery armoire

I glued the strips to the back one at a time, using masking tape as a "clamp." That allowed me to trim the final strip to fit. Once the were all glued and taped I put a heavy weight on it and left it overnight to dry.

My next step was to add some feet to the case to get it off the ground and add some visual interest.

I like the way the grain wrapped around the legs.

walnut legs

I added a cherry and walnut top. It was so-so. Nothing special.


Then one of my students made a great suggestion and presto, the curved top was born (thanks to Ellen K. for her design ideas).




jewelry armoire in progress

Next I added some drawers. After all the space was there for them.

At last, it's no longer looking like an old jewelry box, but is beginning to come alive again.

Now that the basics are done, it's time to add doors and drawer fronts.

I used some resawn walnut for the door panels.    I like the matching grains.

unfinished jewelry armoire

Now that the outside is done it's time to work on the details.

Check out the link to see what I did on the inside of this old jewelry box.

I have jewelry boxes and other woodwork for sale if you are interested, or feel free to contact me about custom work.
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