Leopardwood Jewelry Box

This is one of my favorite pieces.

Leopardwood is kind of a mystery wood, but it's one of the prettiest woods I've come across. I've been unable to pin down the scientific name of the wood. It resembles lacewood in it's quartersawn figure, but it'd much denser. I've been told it comes from Brazil.

I've made a few jewlery boxes out of it. This one I consider one of my best pieces. I had some fairly thick wood, so I was able to curve the edges a fair amount. The curves on the top add to the slightly oriental look of the piece and at the same time make the top lighter. The box, nevertheless, ended up being pretty solid.

This box and a similar one sold pretty quickly, which doesn't happen too often. When I displayed it at a demonstration I gave, a woman in the audience called it "sensual".
Made my day.

The handle on the top is hand carved from walnut. The dovetails, as always, are handcut. I used a French polish shellac finish that I built up to a fairly high gloss. Leopardwood is very difficult to work with especially when quartersawn like this. The spots or stripes from the medullary rays are softer than the surrounding wood and easily tearout when using a handplane. Because of this and all the curves, I ended up doing a lot of sanding on this piece.


The light lines around the dovetails are not glue from sloppy fits, I swear. I made the box in the dead of winter and sanded the pins and tails absolutely flush. With warmer weather the wood expanded unevenly and when I waxed it some wax accumulated in the slight depressions in the joints. The picture made me notice it and I corrected it before selling the box.



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