Box Building and Wood Burning

TwoBoxInsideMy Japanese inspired strong box project is on hold for now. In its place is a series of smaller, simpler containers made for the purpose of  building up my box making skills and giving me a chance to experiment with some new techniques. I never want to admit that a project is outside the range of my skill set but the  strong box project and I were not getting along. It was too ambitious, involved too many unmastered techniques, leading to disappointing results. So taking a step back I have made two single drawer box vs. a complicated chest of drawers.

I also have been looking for a way to incorporate pattern into my woodworking that doesn’t involve carving. The alternative I’m experimenting with is wood burning. That’s right wood burning, I’m trying to find out if  I can take one of the least respected craft techniques and make it cool.


The boxes size and design are based on  hardware found at an estate sale.


Home made wood burning kit assembled from a dimmer switch and battery charger. It won’t charge a car battery anymore but it does start-up some new possibilities for surface treatments in wood.  This supper sized power source supplies enough current to  not only char wood to smoky blackness but also incised the surface to a low relief.


Being new to dovetail joinery means every joint is an adventure in craftsmanship. It’s satisfying to see such drastic improvements in quality from one set of joints to another.


Similar fleur-de-lis patterns taken from the drawer pulls are repeated to create patterns for the boxes interior.


My dovetails have gone from awful to passable over the last few projects. This is also my first successful attempt at half blind dove tales.


Above is the inside drawer layout is traced from a digital print out using carbon paper. The drawers are cut and ready for assembly before the design is burned into the wood.


Drawer bottom slots were cut with a Stanley no. 45.


Feet and keyed joints were made from black walnut  a nice contrast to the cherry boxes.



Drilling the pilot holes for the drawer pulls.






  1. Very Nice!
    How did you make the wood burner? I need one with some burning power.

  2. Dick Hands · · Reply

    Awesome way to F.S.Up!

  3. Andrea Estrada · · Reply

    I am fascinated by the way to build these beautiful objects from scratch. 🙂

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