Walnut Roll Top Jewelry Box

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Introduction: Walnut Roll Top Jewelry Box

About: Just an average guy. husband, father of four, grandpa, civil engineer turned cabinetmaker, jack of all trades master of a few. Enjoys, golf, curling, woodworking, creativity & making things.

My first born granddaughter is nearly two years old now and I wanted to make her a keepsake. I know she's a little young for a jewelry box right now, but it won't be long before she's grown.

The neat thing about this jewelry box is that the roll top is opened by pulling the lower drawer out.

I thought this would also be a good project for the "One Board Contest". The parameters of the contest are to use only one 2'' x 4'' x 96'' which is equal to 5.3 board feet, the piece of walnut that I used measured 1'' x 8'' x 96" also equal to 5.3 board feet.

When I started I thought I would have plenty of material for such a small project, but it turned out a little closer than I thought.

Supplies

  • One board measuring rough cut 1'' x 7'' x 96'' ( I used black walnut )
  • carpenters glue
  • sand paper
  • scrap piece of 1/4'' mdf for templates
  • shop tools .table saw, chop saw, planer, bandsaw, plunge router and bits
  • finishing materials

Step 1: Template for Ends

I don't have access to a CNC to cut and machine the ends therefore, a router template was my only option.

I used 1/4'' mdf for my template material, first draw out ( full size ) the sides of the box three times roughly 12'' apart, all in a row on the mdf. ( along the same center line )

Drill a 1/8'' hole at the center of each drawing, this will be your reference point for each part of the template. The first part of the template will be used to router the outside of the circle. The second part of the template will be used to router out the track for the tambour, and the third part will be to router out the three fixed shelves.

For the first part of the template, I used a plunge router that's set up to router circles with a 1/8 center pin. Set the radius to 4 1/8'' ( center pin to center of a 3/8'' diameter flute bit ). Router through your template leaving around 1/4 of the circle still attached at the bottom. Be sure to have scrap material below as not to router into your bench.

On the second template set the radius to 3 5/8'' and router your track as per the drawing. Then using a straight edge, router the straight section of track that connects to the outside round track at the bottom. Using a small file round the corner for the tambour to roll around.( see 2nd last picture )

On the third template use a straight edge ( clamped down ), to router the dados for the three fixed shelves one at a time.

Step 2: Breaking Out the Board

Cut the 96'' long board in pieces as per the drawing. one @ 33 1/2'' one @ 31'' and two @ 15 3/4''

Cut the boards into slices using your table saw ( with a thin kerf ripping blade ) or a band saw according to the drawing.

Plane down the rough cut slices to the finished sizes. ( Note: the dimensions on the drawing are the finished thicknesses )

Step 3: Plaining, Routering

After slicing the boards into rough cut thicknesses, run them through a planer to bring them to finished sizes.

Using your plunge router with a 3/8'' outside diameter collet ( that fits exactly into the routered out grooves in your template ) and a 1/4'' flute bit in the plunge router, run a test of your template on a scrap piece ( use a 1/8'' drill bit to line up your templates and then clamp them down before routing )

If all is good proceed to router your sides using the same process. For the outside of your circle make a few passes, lowering the bit a little each time - but do not router all the way thru, leave at least a 1/16''.

For the tambour track and shelves router to a depth of 3/16''.

***Remember that you have a right and a left side so you will have to flip the template over to do one of each.

Step 4: Machining Parts, Ends and Fixed Shelves

Before cutting your sides free this is a good time to face sand and sand the track. Once sanded cut the remaining 1/16" of material on a band saw, then using a flush cut router bit clean the outside of the circles. Clamp the two ends together and sand the outside, unclamp and using a 1/16'' round over bit round over the inside and outside of circle.

Cut three pieces of the ( 1/4'' thick x 6 - 3/4'' wide pieces) to 14'' long for the three fixed shelves, then rip the bottom to 5 3/8'' wide, the middle to 6 9/16 '' wide and the top to 4 7/8'' wide.

On the bottom shelf set your table saw to 3/16'' to the outside of the blade ( same depth as your dados in the sides ) and cut in 3/4'' on both ends and remove. This allows the shelf to come farther ahead than the cut dado in the sides.

From your off cut strips cut two pieces to the same length as the face edge length of the bottom shelf, These will be used for the front and back of the top shelf.

Cut a 15 degree angle on the face edge of the top shelf and the same on one of the previous off cuts( 3/4'' wide ). Cut another 3/4'' strip for the back of the shelf, then glue both pieces to the top shelf as per the picture.

Note: I put a 1/8'' round over on all visible edges of the 1/4'' shelves, and on the drawer sides later on.

Determine the center of your shelves an cut a 1/8'' wide x 1/8'' deep saw cut on the underside of the top shelf and one on the top side of the middle shelf ( this is for the divider that separates the two top drawers ).

Step 5: Assembly of Main Box & Curved Drawer Fronts

Once you have everything cut to size, pre sand your shelves, apply glue to the dados and assemble the box using clamps.

For the bottom curved drawer front rip a strip ( from 1'' stock ) to be the same width as the distance from the top of the bottom shelf to the middle of the middle shelf.

For the upper curved drawer front rip a strip ( from 1'' stock ) to be the same width as the distance from the middle of the middle shelf to the bottom of the dado for the tambour.

Cut a small 1/8'' x 1/4'' saw cut on both pieces to allow for the front of the middle fixed shelf. Then cut a 3/4'' piece off the end of both pieces.

These two small pieces will be used to make a template to match the curve of the side. Sand and shape to the required curve on the two pieces, then glue the pieces back onto the end of your strips.

Now you have something to follow as you use your table saw, tilting the blade and making repeated cuts to round the face of the drawers. Place the two lengths on the table and hand sand to make a smooth curve.

Step 6: Drawers

For the drawer sides rip down some 1/4'' thick pieces to the required width to fit in the box. Cut to length, two pieces for the bottom drawer and four for the middle drawer. Using a 1/4'' dado blade cut a 1/4'' wide x 1/8'' deep rabbet along the bottom of all the sides.

Tape the six drawer sides together and put the same rabbet on the front of the drawer sides. Tape the four top drawers together and cut the 1/4'' dado for the back, do the same for the bottom drawer sides.

Cut the front and back pieces of the drawer so that the finished size of the drawer is 1/16'' narrower than the inside width of the box, cut the bottom to fit and glue the drawers together. Repeat for the two top drawers.

Cut your bottom drawer face the same length as your drawer box and glue it to face of drawer, repeat for the top drawers but remember that the fronts have to extend a little in the middle to cover the center divider, but they are still flush to the outside of the two top drawers.

Step 7: Roll Top

Slice the remaining piece of 1/2'' thick stock ( off cut from the sides ) into 3/16'' thick, then rip enough 3/8'' strips to make a top around 13'' wide.

To sand the sides, stack all strips on edge, tape together and sand the other side, then tape the side you just sanded and sand the other side.

Once the edges are sanded lay the strips out flat ( good side up ) and tape together on the face. Flip over and using a square draw two lines across the tambour strips the inside width of the box minus 1/4''. Place masking tape along these lines and cover remaining tambour.

Cut a piece of fabric ( I used a fabric shopping bag ) big enough to cover the exposed tambour. Using aerosol contact cement, spray the tambour and the fabric, let dry and apply to the back. Using the tape you first applied to the tambour as a straight line, cut the fabric along this line and remove tape.

Cut the tambour to width allowing a little less than 1/8'' clearance, sand the face of the tambour and break the edges that go into the tracks.

Step 8: Roll Top Installation and Handles

The tambour needs to attach to the back of the bottom drawer so glue a 3/4'' strip to the back of the drawer just above the dado for the tambour to attach to.

Put the bottom drawer in. Install the tambour, pushing it all the way in. Determine if you have to remove any strips of tambour, then cut the last three pieces of tambour a 1/2'' shorter on both sides ( this allows the tambour to swing in and come into contact with the strip on the back of the drawer. Pre drill two small screw holes and screw the tambour to the drawer.

The handles were made using a few leftover strips, For gluing the handles in place I used masking tape as an edge to align the handles.

Step 9: Bonus Trinket Trays & Finishing

With some of the left over pieces I was able to make two 4 1/2'' x 8'' x 1'' deep trinket trays. Using the 1/8'' thick piece cut two pieces 8'' x 4 1/2" and then cut a small 45 degree corner on all four corners.

Using 1 1/4'' wide strips with a 1/8'' x 1/8'' dados down the length ( saw blade cut ), cut the sides to fit around the bottom ( 22 1/2 degree angles ),

When gluing together use masking tape to hold the small pieces in a line. Router and sand the top and bottom edges.

When it's time to finish, disassemble and make sure everything is sanded and smooth. I used a clear, water based, lacquer finish so I sanded everything to a 220 grit. If you plan on staining, sand to a max of 180 grit - otherwise the staining might turn out blotchy. ( the smoother the surface the harder for a stain to penetrate into the wood )

I sprayed three coats of clear lacquer on all surfaces ( sanding in-between coats ) and let it dry overnight before final assembly.

Note: rub a bit of candle wax on the edges of the tambour that goes into the track to help it slide smoothly.

Step 10: Conclusion

My hope as a grandfather is that someday, when my granddaughter is all grown up, that she'll pass it on to her daughter :)

You will note that there are no dividers inside the drawers, once I get the final instructions from my daughter as to what she would like, I will make removable dividers with some of the material I have left.

I hope you liked the project! If you have any questions please feel free let me know by asking them in the comments.

Cheers

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    61 Comments

    0
    Matthew Yang
    Matthew Yang

    3 months ago

    Nice. Going to make this for some future summer fishing trips that I'm planning to go on with my teacher, Stevenson Cease. It could hold the fishing rod, the hooks, the fishing line, fishing bait and your own supplies. The bottom drawer would be good for the fishing rod, the line, and the hooks. The left drawer could carry tupperware filled with live bait. The right drawer could carry rubber fishing lures. The roll top could carry the supplies that you consume, such as food and water! However, Mr. Cease has a huge appetite and I might accidentally overfill it with his food!:)

    0
    PeterD93
    PeterD93

    3 months ago

    I really like this design and I’m attempting to duplicate, but I’m very confused by the dimensions.
    For Step 1, it says to drill the hole as a center point, but not how far up. So I tried adding up the dimensions on the side to find this distance, but because it’s a picture of a drawing, I can’t read many of them. From the bottom I think they are 5/16, 3/8, 1 3/4 adding up to 2 7/16 to the center of the middle shelf dado. But the pin seems to be centered at the top edge of that 1/4 dado, so adding that 1:8 distance, 2 9/16 up from the bottom for the pin?
    (I should add, I’m working from the pdf. I just realized if I click on the picture on the website and zoom in the numbers are easier to read.)
    I have the same problem with Step 2 of not being able to read the side numbers. It also isn’t clear which boards are coming from which sections. Then there are 2 boards at the bottom with what I think are 3-16 thickness, but no label as to what they are for.
    Again, I appreciate the design and plan attempt, but with the hand drawn labels and some confusing instructions (and pictures with no captions, at least on the pdf) I’m having a very hard time sorting this out. Any help is greatly appreciated, and perhaps we can work together l to clarify the instructions.

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Sorry I did not mean for the drawings to be confusing and yes its a lot easier to see the dimensions on the computer as opposed to the PDF. You are correct the center pin is 2 9/16'' up from the bottom. If you haven't already I suggest you draw the whole thing out on a piece of paper first to make sure everything lines up. You are correct I should have labeled the board breakout a little better and I will look for my original, to change it. but up until I do the two 3/16'' pieces are for making the tambour that come from the remaining 1/2'' thick piece that was used for the sides. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other question

    0
    PeterD93
    PeterD93

    Reply 3 months ago

    Appreciate the response. I did end up drawing all the layout lines direct on the board. I don’t have bushings so I routed directly onto the final board rather than using templates. It took a while to lay everything out but I agree that it helped quite a bit and avoided confusion while routing. I’ll update again once done with any other issues that come up. I appreciate all the work you’ve put in!

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Looks great and Well done !!! I hope you had fun making it. Thanks for letting me see the finished product.
    Cheers :)

    0
    connal308876
    connal308876

    3 months ago

    I love this. However I would like to use on a cnc. Can you tell me what size the ends are? I cannot tell to draw radius circle

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    In step 2 ( Template For Ends )of the instructable, first picture is a drawing with all the dimensions and radiuses. Have fun and Cheers :)

    0
    dennispainting
    dennispainting

    3 months ago

    Lovely piece of work, definitely one to be added to my list of projects.

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks, and If you do get a opportunity to make one send pics. Cheers

    0
    AndiCologne
    AndiCologne

    3 months ago

    Very nice! Great Work!

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you :) Cheers

    0
    Rickangel666
    Rickangel666

    3 months ago

    I love the fact you didnt use a CNC, since most people don't have one. great job!

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    True woodworker should not need a computer to help them make the parts for a project, in my opinion, sure they speed the process up, but anything worth doing takes time. Cheers

    0
    PeterNLewis
    PeterNLewis

    Reply 3 months ago

    Speaking as someone who is not a “true woodworker” by any stretch, but who has access to a CNC machine, if I was to attempt this project I would certainly use it to have any chance at success.

    0
    drewscreen
    drewscreen

    Reply 3 months ago

    You have indeed crafted a beautiful heirloom, complimented by very clear instructions on how to achieve it. A "true woodworker" should acknowledge however that CNC is only a stage of production, not that different from following a template with a router. Maybe you should try to redo this project without the table saw, planer, bandsaw, and router.

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Fair enough , you’re right It is just a step . I just feel that it makes some projects to easy when all you might have to do is sand and assemble like a puzzle. And I know my project would be almost impossible to do without power tools but your using those tools to work the wood, where as with a cnc you’re not really working the wood the computer is. And like I said a Cnc is great if you’re doing mass production . I prefer to use hand tools, plus I don’t have access to a cnc, probably like 90% of the wood worker’s out there. Thanks for your opinion on the subject and thanks for the compliment. Cheers:)

    0
    Nick70587
    Nick70587

    3 months ago

    This is beautiful. This reminds me of the full sized roll top secretary desk we had when I was a child. Also, your hand drawn plans are works of art on their own. Drafting was always my favorite part of learning my trade back when I was an apprentice. I appreciate the old(er) ways. Good job.

    0
    neslo63
    neslo63

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for your kind comment. I still do a lot of old school drafting at my present job and still enjoy doing it. When ever I receive a comment I like to go to their page to see what kind of things they do, and I must say your leather working skills are amazing ! I still remember the green adventure bag you did a couple of years ago, so well done :) Cheers