Medieval / Renaissance Box




Introduction: Medieval / Renaissance Box

hello everybody,

On this instructable, im going to explain to you how i made the reprodution of thi box possible.

Step 1: Create Plans From the Original Box

Before explaination , let's talk about this box :

This box was sold in a auction house in france last year and we found it's image on the web.

The commisaire in charge estimated the box from the XIII th century but the lock is from the XVI th century, at some point , it must have been changed.

The particularity of this box it's that the head is made in one piece of wood

Dimensions from the original :L 32cm x l 23cm x H 21cm

Origin: france

Wood: chestnut

Now , with all of theses elements, i did the plans and lets go for step 2

Step 2: The Head of the Box

So, the original was made in chestnut, but in France today, it's simply impossible to find a piece of chestnut that size, so the idea was to use elm .

This kind of work can only be made by hand:

first step using scisels is to cut out the inside of the head , clean it and sand it.

second step, using hand saw, the outer part of the head was cut.

Voila !!!!

Step 3: Assembling the Box Itself

Now that's the easiest , assembling the box and the head.

step one: cut the board and give them the right angle .

step two: glue all together with wood glue and the box is done

sanding and finishing

Step 4: Dyeing Step

Now it's dyeing time, looking back at the original, the idea is to use tincture, with different try and mix, to approach the color of the original box

Step 5: Creating Templates for the Metals Parts

The idea is to glue the the part of the plans wich corespond with metal part on cardboard (cereal boxes for exemple )

and then once i got the templates, i put it on the metal plaques and spray paint it.

Thickness : 1.5 milimeters

Now start the longest work.....

Step 6: Making Angle Irons and Hinges

after cuting all parts with the metal hand saw ( jewlery hand saw ), all the paterns where made using metal file ( needle file )

and believe me , it take time !!!!!!!

Step 7: Bending All Metal Parts

for this step what you need to know :

In order to have the iron angles at the proper angle , you need to bend it and then re-open it, for that the parts must be heated at each step of the bending.

Step 8: Finishing Hinges, Lock and the Box Handle

All the photos are in the right order, sorry

the handle : after drawing a template or patern , the handle was bend and forge then monted on the iron angle

The lock: actually it's a lock without mecanism for the moment, but it come one day.

all the metal parts were cleaned with metal whool and polish with bee wax

the hinges: bend and monted together

Step 9: Assembling

Now evrerything is done, it's time for assembling

Every metal parts has been mouted with nails, wich have a head like a half ball ( dont know it's name in english )

The box is protected by a plastic film, the same that we have in our kitchen.

The metal parts can be placed at there right place and marked before nailing

Step 10: Box Finished

For making this box i used :

A plan from :

Big piece of Elm

Spare parts of metals

Wood work: 16 hours

Metal work: 30 hours

Thanks for watching, you can follow us on facebook: leplanhisto

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    28 Discussions

    This is a great instructable for a fantastic reproduction. Congratulations on the enormous amount of hand work needed to complete this accurately.

    If you truly want a brown finish for the metal you can use Metal Browning liquid that gunsmiths use. It's like the Bluing liquid but turns the metal a nice brown.

    1 reply

    thanks, it is a really good idea but it is not historical, if i put a product on it it has to be accurate

    A fine piece of art and handcraft, dear sir, which is hard to find these days!!

    Good work!!

    1 reply

    Great work. I like that you carved out the inside of the lid first and then cut the gable on it afterwards. I don't know if that is easier than cutting all the angles and then putting it together but it looks real nice. The metal work is just as great. Good job and good luck in the contest.

    1 reply

    A very nice and detailed instruction.

    Lovely. Needs a real lock

    Thanks you all

    to explain a little our process

    the main idea was to reproduce identicly the original boxe , it is why there is not brass but iron. I agree whith you brass would have been really nice. This box was made to carry precious thins as money, jewlery etc.....

    you can follow our actuality here:

    and you can find the plan here :

    wow it's a stunning rendition of the original, I just asked me Dad and he said the half ball head nails would have been called rivets :-)

    I love what you have done it's a lot of work that's for sure it would look great with either Brass or copper sheeting in place of the metal :-)

    If I had the time I would love to try my hand at it but I have enough hobbies already without adding yet another to the list :-) but if I do find some spare time one day I just might make it as it would be a great box to put Dads ashes in once he joins Mum one day and I can add Mums to his in the one box I think She would have loved it :-)

    Thank you for sharing your Instructable with us :-)

    Beautiful work. 800 years from now they'll find this antique, date it to the XXI century, and remark on the amazing craftsmanship in an age of mass manufacturing.

    Beautifully done Leplanhisto!!!! I was thinking that copper flashing sheets could also be used for the metal parts, and can be lightly hammered, as a different take. :)

    amazing work,,,good job.thanks for sharing.

    Beautiful and skillful reproduction! Thank you for sharing!

    The design has a great deal of resemblance with Kerala Jewel boxes.

    1 reply

    yes indeed ,i ve just discoverered it, very surprisng !! thanks

    I've get out of words. The very idea of doing this work, is a big bet, and show value and knowledge. Congratulations on your work.