Treasure Box II – Making of

After 2 years we can now present our Treasure box II

Patrick Edwards and I started this project 2 years ago after completing our first series of 4 treasure Box.

The series II was inspired by an antique from an auction house

We created a new design and concept using the original layout that we really liked.

For our creations a re-creations we use sawn veneer mostly imported from Les FILS DE J. GEORGE in Paris

But we also started to re-saw our own

And even dye them as the dyed veneer seems to be less and less available

First step in marquetry after making the design is to cut and organize the patterns

One drawer for each sides

2 drawers also for each of the inside pictures, and for the top, being pretty busy, we used 4 drawers just for it. Patrick had organized all our veneer packs to create our palette and choose the woods. We are making 4 boxes so all our pack will be 4 layers of veneer thick to create simultaneously 4 exact same pieces in one cut.

The first marquetry panels to be cut had to be the inside pictures. Once the color have been chosen they are numbered on a guide and each piece of pattern is glued accordingly to the packs.

All our pieces are cut on the marquetry chevalet

The pieces cut are then placed in an exploded lay out in a tray

Then they are all shaded in hot sand following a rough guide. Deeping and spooning are the main techniques used.

Time to cut the 2 backgrounds. The panels for the inside of the lid will have a more elaborate banding so I cut notches to give me the main lines of cut lines.

In piece by piece background cutting we use what we call “bridges”. They are small uncut parts that will keep the background islands in place and help you build your panels with more accuracy and less trouble.

Opening the background packs an putting the pictures together is next

My station is ready in front of the glue pot, my tray on the side

If you are interested, I did a video on putting one of those panel together

In the meantime the full blind dovetails for the boxes and the veneering of the inside with bloodwood sawn veneer has been done. The first marquetry are now being glued on the inside bottom panels and adjusted

Partitions in solid bloodwood are made

and adjusted

And the frisage (parquetry) of the inside panel is done

While progress is made on the box itself, the guide for the outside marquetry panels has to be made

Each piece is numbered with its wood from our list, in yellow the white bone, in green, the green bone and in blue the background islands.

Also cut on the chevalet

4 sides

and a top

And again, shading

As ebony is very brittle, I paperbacked my background veneers

Again, cut on the marquetry chevalet

Open and put together

The top has been a bit tricky to figure out. The problem was that I had pieces that looked like wrapping around the bone inlay oval. So I decided to cut the background in 2 steps, first the bone inlay, then rebuild the pack and finally cut the background. To do so, I needed a way to rebuild the pack exactly and realign perfectly the second design in order to have my bone inlays at the right place as good as possible. The solution we found was to build the first pack and draw axes lines

Do the same line on the next drawing but with notches, align is as good as possible, clamp it on the first pack and drill a small hole in the 4 corners, in what will be waste.

After unclamping the second drawing, the bone inlay cavity was then cut

The bone purflings previously soaked and ebony inlay were then installed on a light paper assembly board.

The pack was then rebuild using the small hole to realign the inside parts and the second drawing as close to perfect as possible using veneer nails.

Then the 3 pound pack was cut on the chevalet

Setting up the station for inlaying the top. My assembly board in front of the glue pot, and 4 trays around with all my pieces

If anybody knows how to do a morphing with multiple pictures, let me know as I have multiple pictures building this panel and I would like to morph them into one small movie. 

We finally found at that point a solution to dye the bones all the way through

So it is time to cut the bone leaves

And have them dyed

Inlay them and apply saw dust and hide glue mastic

The sides are glued to the box

Hinges recess for the secret mechanism are installed on the inside panel

The hinges and lock recess are made

The inside of the box needs to be polished before glueing, as it is impossible to do nice french polish corners otherwise.

Do not be afraid to ruin your pad web on pore filling

This is how I like my pore filling to look like

Finish the polishing

Hinges are installed on the inside panels. The moving part will be the action for the 

The box is glued using the Liquid Hide Glue Old Brown Glue.

Next day the excess glue is still a bit gummy and can be cleaned with cold water. Once dried you have a perfect french polished corner

Now that we have 4 glued boxes we can make the bloodwood secret trays to fit.

The tray has a 2mm recess to install a leather.

It is also time to build the base on which the box will be screwed on, the mechanism will be installed and the tray will slide on.

Time to get busy on the lid. The inside picture is build using the marquetry panels prepared couple months ago and kept on paper.

Then when all material was ready we glued the to sides on our lid. We did a video on that part to demonstrate veneering with Hot Hide Glue in a hot press to answer a question from one of our fellow lumberjockers 😉 Do not hesitate to ask question it helps us to chose topic for videos on our youtube channel

My favorite part, cleaning the paper ans see the picture for the first time appearing little by little.

It is also the first time when almost everything is veneered that you can see if it looks like you envisioned it.

While I am glueing the edges of the lid with sawn ebony

I am preparing the bandings that will finish the boxes

This banding will go around each panel, top and sides

The tray is “hidden” in the banding

Hinges and lock are set

And while I am doing the sanding

Patrick is installing the secret mechanism hardware

We did a video with our prototype of the system. We are actually out of springs, but as guys are still asking for it, we may order another bunch.

Time to pore fill. I started with the top and the inside of the lid, but more particularly the tray that we needed to send to LA to get the leather installed.
Once both sides of the lids were pore filled I polished the inside first so I could install the hinges and the lock latch.

And use them to be able to polish the outside without having anything touching my inside polish

At this time the trays were back

And the pore filling was done on the sides.

Couple days (week or weeks) to finish the polish. We did a video on french polishing that people seems to like, so if you want to watch it, please remember that there will be no need to tell me the sound is terrible, it has been commented countless times.

Putting the box together, and checking that everything works good.

And it was already time (2 years of work) to take pictures.

Patrick wanted to do a picture of us 2 so we borrowed a box from the first series for that purpose.

Hope you enjoyed the process Patrice Lejeune

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