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I once came across an antique desk, all busted up, waiting for the garbage truck. It was sad to see it there because I could tell it was once very nice. By searching desks that looked just like it I figured it was made in the late 1800's or early 1900's. I reclaimed a couple of the drawers and made this jewelry box. The box itself is no longer an antique but at least the materials are.

To go inside it I made this pendant. The bezel is made from nickel while the stone is black granite. The granite came from the construction site of a Las Vegas casino.

This is what I love about handmade gifts. It’s more than investing your time, effort, and creativity into an object. It’s creating a story to accompany your gift. Both these items are headed to Germany. It's part of a gift exchange with one of my instructables friends.

 
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Step 1: Make a Box

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The design of this box is fairly simple. Six sides, one of which hinges with the help of coat hanger wire. I used GridWorks (actually regular old graph paper and pencil) to draw up an exploded view. Because the wood I used had hardware already in it I had to make sure my cutting kept it centered.

Step 2: Polish the Hardware

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This part was pretty nerve racking. I carefully removed the the screws and tapped out the locks and key holes with a screw driver. The whole time I was worried about ruining it all. It came out without any issue though. I couldn't polish the hardware installed because the polishing compound would black up the wood. After some time on the buffing wheel all the brass was shining bright.

Step 3: Sand

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I have no clue what kind of wood this is so I took care not to breath in the dust. Of course you shouldn't breath wood dust to begin with but some species will make you feel like your breathing sand paper; if not kill you (coco bola).

Step 4: Apply the Finish

This was the fun part. With a clean cloth I applied a couple coats of oil following the directions on the can. When that was dry I took a common white candle and rubbed it all over the box. I followed that up with a heat gun. This causes the wax to melt into the wood. After doing this a few times I took another clean cloth and buffed the wax until the cloth would glide freely over the surface.

Step 5: Reassemble

A refitting is a reversal of the removal. Which basically means I put everything back on the way I took it off. I installed a couple additions to the box to include a catch for the lid and felt for the floor and feet. To match it correctly I did a mock up with card stock.

The catch was made from brass rod. In order to avoid using screws which are "out of period" for the box I installed the anchor points by perforating the wood with a tack and then flaring the eye hooks so they pressure fit.

Step 6: Make the Bezel Maker

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This is the easiest way, I know, to make a bezel and much less effort then the clamp and socket method. I'm using two 5/8" washers taped together with electrical tape. It's that simple.

Also needed is a malleable metal cylinder. For this I melted some silver solder and poured it into a 1/2" spacer.

Step 7: Press Form the Bezel

It's important to soften (anneal) the metal to make it easier to work. I did this with a pair of pliers and a stove flame. After the nickel had an even glow I quenched it in water.

Center the nickel over the hole of the washer. Place the silver solder blank centered over the nickel. Give it a few blows; centering everything again each time. Eventually you'll end up with a small bowl looking thing.

Now you can start filing this into your pendant or you can give it more of a cup shape by moving on to a vise. To square the edge I placed the bezel over a 9mm 1/2" socket and clamped it in. I hammered the edge of the bezel until it was flush with the socket; rotating it as I went along.

Step 8: Shape and Polish

Don't be fooled by the fancy looking lathe. This can be done by hand. I've done it before but you can sure save a lot of time by having something that spins.

I soldered the bezel to a bolt and spun it round. Using a file I made it the shape I wanted.

While the bezel was still mounted in the lathe I began polishing with 800 grit sand paper. The rest of the polishing was done on a buffing wheel with polishing compound.

Step 9: Jump Ring

The jump ring is also made from nickel. I cut a strip out, hammered it flat, and bent the strip over the handle of a file to make it round. Don't forget to anneal that too.

Step 10: The Stone

So far I've worked with raw opal, a granite rock I found on a mountain side, this black granite, amethyst, and rose quartz. I listed them in the order of difficulty to work with (my opinion) to give you an idea.

I cut a piece out using a small diamond disc. From there it was a back and forth effort between grinding, sanding, and more cutting. Eventually I got to the shape I wanted and buffed it on a buffing wheel. For the final polish I used candle wax just like on the box.

Before l glued in the stone I took it outside and found the best position to place the stone.

Thanks for reading.

Being a antique geek I have to say i love the antique 'look' you have created on the jewelry box, a lot of care and time taken and you should be proud of the end result.

SayntCigol2 years ago
This is beautiful work, thanks for sharing it.
spylock2 years ago
Love the box,nice to see someone go outside the norm. when building something,its really nice when it comes together the way yours did.Nice job.
dozer7892 years ago
Congrats on winning 1st place in the Holiday Contest!! Very nice instructable!!
Mrballeng (author)  dozer7892 years ago
Thanks!
Your welcome!
shazni2 years ago
Congratulations on winning the Grand Prize... Your stuff r amazing as usual!
Mrballeng (author)  shazni2 years ago
Thank you. I'm freaking out over here.
I know the feeling! I freaked out when I won the chainsaw! :-D
anything for Valentines???
the_anykey2 years ago
Congrats on winning the big prize! Your german friend is lucky to receive your project :-)
Mrballeng (author)  the_anykey2 years ago
Thanks! It turned out to be a real fun gift exchange. I'll surely do it again this year.
Congrats on the win! This one definately deserves it!
Mrballeng (author)  SlickSqueegie2 years ago
I'm really excited about it. Thanks!
BrittLiv2 years ago
Wow, congrats on winning! You deserve it, the pendant is awesome and I'm wearing it with pride!
Mrballeng (author)  BrittLiv2 years ago
Thanks! Everyone I show the gifts you made me are just as impressed as I am.
This is an awesome instructable! Outstanding!
ehudwill2 years ago
Great work with the box. I love a good box.
Mrballeng (author)  ehudwill2 years ago
Thanks
Both of these are just beautiful! I am a little confused. Is there a key hole in the front and the back of the box?
Mrballeng (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
Yes, it's made from antique desk drawers. So they used to serve a purpose but now it's decorative. Thanks.
Oh I see! I was just wondering, I thought I was missing some secret compartment!
Just gave it a shot. I'll never be as good as you but i wouldn't say its too bad. awesome instructable as always.
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Mrballeng (author)  mr.mountaineer2 years ago
Looks great! You did an especially good job on polishing which is often the hardest part on a first try. Thanks for posting a photo.
Thanks! this is the first time I've ever done anything with stone. it ain't great but not too bad i guess, but I'm gonna have to find some better looking stone (this one is a random pick from the creek) maybe i can find a big enough piece of rose quarts, i think that would look pretty good.
Mrballeng (author)  mr.mountaineer2 years ago
Just keep in mind you need a diamond wheel to work with rose quartz. You can find them in the same isle they sell dremel bits.
thanks for the tip. the first stone i used was soft enough to work on an aluminum-oxide grinding wheel on a bench grinder, but i don't think anything harder would work very well.
nicely done
PitStoP2 years ago
Really nice work! Where did the wood originally come from?
Mrballeng (author)  PitStoP2 years ago
An old desk. Thanks
Lorddrake2 years ago
amazing work as always mr. B.
^what he said!^
BrittLiv2 years ago
Wow, this is what I get? I am amazed! Still not telling you what you get, though ;-)