Carved Cherry Wood Box





Introduction: Carved Cherry Wood Box

Make a Box Contest

Second Prize in the
Make a Box Contest

My father-in-law loves koi, he has a pond with many huge beautiful fish in it. One year for father's day I decided to make him a keepsake box from some scrap Cherry I had left over from an earlier project for my Mother-in-law. Anyway lets take a look at that I did. It was a basic box with no fancy joinery, but I decided that I would try my hand at carving.

I own Chisels, but they were far to large for the small box I wanted to make. So for under $10 I got a 10 piece 'cheesy' chisel set. true junk I thought until I started using them. They were easy to use and to sharpen with a wet stone or even better some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. That was it.

Step 1: Start Carving

I started with a sharp pencil and started drawing japanese coy using some paintings in an art book for reference.

Then use the chisels to indent and make deep marks on the pencil lines.

Then start to do the relief cutting for depth, and finish off with the details. sound easy enough? it took me 6 weeks doing it anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours a day... lol Some of that time was spent visualizing what it was going to look like or how to cover up a mistake or deciding what to have to eat.

Step 2: Decorate the Lid.

Not sure where the inspiration for this guy came from but I went with it. My projects are rarely planed from start to finish, they grow like a tree with no branch duplicated twice. All my projects, even duplications, are unique just like trees. The grain of the wood lets you know what to do with it, select the grain for your project or let the project be guided by the grain, either way you will be left with a creation of art instead of just a thing.

Step 3:

Added tung oil and urethane and ta da! I hope you like this as much as My Father-in-law does. I was pretty proud of my first carving attempt.



  • Sew Warm Contest 2018

    Sew Warm Contest 2018
  • Paper Contest 2018

    Paper Contest 2018
  • Gluten Free Challenge

    Gluten Free Challenge

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Please be positive and constructive.




Nice carving work on this box. I like that you chose one fish for the lid and used a lot of fish on the sides. Great work. Good luck in the contest.

Good job!
Can you give more details like what chisel you used for the different details of the fish, etc. I like your work, but think if this detail were added it would add to your instructable and may help you towards winning this contest.

Thanks, I'll add that in. :)

Wow! Are you absolutely being truthful that this is your first carving ever?

It is way impressive and very beautiful. I've been messing about with carving for years and have never come close.

By the way it's Koi not Coy and Tung oil not Tongue but with talent like yours who cares about spelling

I've made this a favourite so I can just come back when I'm feeling down

Thanks for sharing...

Yes sir, first time. and I enjoyed it so much I bought more chisels and have done more projects. It is very relaxing. Thanks for the proof read, I really do appreciate it.:) One of my friends was getting married and him and his wife love Celtic art, so I made them a blanket chest for a wedding gift. The blanket chest was my second carving project.

I dont have enough pictures of it to make an Instructable from, but you have inspired me to do a project and record it for this purpose,


I too, need to get off my butt...

I'm not advertising but have you come across a website called
You have to subscribe to it to get full value but it has a members gallery where you can look at other carver's projects. If you do, you will see that you have nothing to stand back for.

Again, wow!

Good tip, thanks! I will check it out.

can you please share a link to the $10 chisels and/or nicer ones you ended up getting please?