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Primitive Applewood Box with Holly Hinge and Intarsia

Quite some time ago, we acquired two small pieces of applewood from a regional lumber yard—one live edge and the other not—and pondered what to make of them. Applewood is naturally filled with knots and hairline cracks, which suggested to us that we should plan on creating a rustic piece of some sort from it. Finally, we settled on using a portion of each piece to craft a primitive/folk art style keepsake box. We used a portion of the live edge piece for the lid because it had a natural shape that suggested a lip by which the lid could be raised and a couple of interesting knots that could be embellished with red tinted epoxy. We left the lid as thick as the piece came to us, because we intended to craft deliberately thick finger joints and a decorative hinge-and-intarsia combo that would stand up to the heft of the lid. A delicate slender lid would not do for the box style we had in mind. The body of the box was crafted from the straight edged piece of applewood and features fat, hand carved fingers held together with exposed wooden dowels. The hand made wooden hinge was formed from a small piece of holly into the shape of a branching tree trunk, and this tree motif was then extended around the back, right side, and portion of the front of the box with additional branching and leaves. All of these pieces are done in holly. For one last touch of fun, we added to our ‘tree box’ a small emerald green enameled tree frog, who waits quietly on the underside of the lid to greet you each time you open the box. We finished the wood with a satin, hand rubbed oil finish to further enhance the natural marks and grains of the woods.

This box measures approximately 13” long x 10” deep x 6” tall (subtract 1” of lid and the box on the inside is 5” tall).

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