Opening Pandora’s Box

I always seem to leave my run very late, but seeminly managed to kick off a project this weekend just in time. My wife tends not to read this blog, so if you happen to do so, and also know her, best to not mention this post at all!

With her 40th approaching (in a couple of weeks), I’m wanting to make a bit of a jewellery box that is specifically designed for her collection of Pandora bracelets, necklace and spare charms.

It is getting designed as I build it, so I don’t know what the final item will look like yet- each step reveals a little more detail.

To start, I’ve taken a length of Silky Oak off the woodrack. It was really twisted, so rather waste a huge amount of the timber trying to get it flat, it was easier to rip it down the middle.This worked out ok anyway, as the resulting boards were about the height of the sides I envisaged I’d need. These were run through the jointer/planer to get one flat side, then using that side as a reference, run through some more passes to get an edge at 90o to that side.

From there to the thicknesser, running both boards through to ensure a uniform thickness, then finally back to the tablesaw to set the final box side height, then docking the boards to length.


Next, it was over to the router table, where once again I utilised the Gifkins dovetail jig to create the joints I wanted. As always, it didn’t take long, and the resulting dovetails were perfect.


Changing over to a small slot cutting router bit (one with a bearing, limiting the depth of cut to 5mm), and temporarily assembling the sides with clamps to hold the box together, a groove was cut all around the inside of the box, about 5mm up from the bottom.

Instead of wasting another piece of Silky Oak, (especially considering I am planning on covering both sides with felt), I took a piece of crapiata (Pine), and cut a base for the box, 10mm larger in each dimension than the inside dimensions of the box.

Back to the router table, and a groove was cut all round (also 5mm deep) to create the lip that will fit the groove in the box sides. Over to the thicknesser, and the extra thickness was removed leaving a board around 10mm thick, so that when it is in the slot of the box sides, it is flush with the bottom.


Later on in the build, I will cover this with some felt.

Turning the box upside down and pulling off one side, you can see how the base engages with the box side. The sides are then glued together, leaving the base unglued but captive.


My final job for the day was to experiment a bit with the dividers that will be used to separate each of the bracelets, and create cells for each of the loose charms. I will create two trays that fit inside the box, each with a different arrangement of dividers. To get the dividers, I took a block of jarrah, and cut it into thin strips, about 2.5mm thick on the bandsaw.


It was only a small block to start with, but that is the benefit of the bandsaw- resawing, and a very thin blade kerf wasting a minimum of timber.


Using my recently-created thin stock carrier for the drum sander, the strips were passed through to get them to a required finish and uniform thickness. I wanted to cut slots using a thin-kerf tablesaw blade, so sized the strips down to match that.


Ripped once more to the final desired height, that one small piece of jarrah yielded a fair collection of dividers!


There wasn’t enough time to do much more, other than a quick test of the dividers.


Next time, I will create a couple of trays, fit the dividers in, and sort out the lid and hinges.

At least I have made a start!

4 Responses

  1. Just make sure the box fits in the safe – given that each pandora bracelet is worth about 5 table saws and a router table – they are easy pickings for Break and Enter merchants – and women always leave jewellery on the dresser or in the wardrobe etc.

    • Heh – good point. Perhaps it’d be better if the outside was disguised using rough-sawn timber, so the box doesn’t look like a jewellery box!

  2. […] those following along, I opened Pandora’s Box about 2 weeks ago, and have been pushing to get it completed in time for my wife’s […]

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