It’s all About the Wood: Zebrawood Valet

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll save you reading and just share some pictures of my latest valet. Zebrawood and Black Walnut, my design featuring hand cut, houndstooth dovetails. The tray and dividers are European Beech, and lined with pigskin.

This was a piece of wood that really caught my eye when I went to Woodworkers Source here in Phoenix — just went there to pick up some finishing material and it just jumped out at me and I couldn’t resist! The hinges are solid brass stop hinges from Horton Brasses and accent this project nicely. The finish is platinum shellac and wax.

For me, woodworking is all about the process and as I was working on this project couldn’t help but think about the time required to create this when compared to the relative ease and automated process used in commercial endeavors. As an example, I wanted to elevate how the dividers in the bottom of the box are inserted. When I was a carpenter doing roof framing there is a joint called a “birds mouth“. I thought that would add some interest even knowing many won’t even notice. I began by cutting a V-groove in the side piece. This was more than wide enough for both sides and fit snugly. It was cut to required width and marked so the V-grooves would have the right orientation. Next I needed to make a new “donkey ears” fixture to plane a matching V for the dividers. It was a long and probably boring process to read about so I’ll do a slide show to illustrate it. I enjoy the process and I’m curious to know how many of you fellow woodworkers feel the same way. Do you enjoy the process of figuring something out or do you just want to get it done the quickest way?


About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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3 Responses to It’s all About the Wood: Zebrawood Valet

  1. Lupe Nielsen says:

    Nice work on the box, John!

    What I like of your work is that you pay attention to the little details.
    I have a question/request: Can you please elaborate on the “Donkey Ears” jig or fixture that you made? I don’t think I have seen this before. From the photos I cannot tell how the hand plane is attached to create the fixture to make a precise double bevel on the edge of the wood.

    Hope you are doing well.

    Regards, Lupe


  2. Rob Robertson says:

    John, that is utterly spectacular mate. No wonder you couldn’t pass up that piece of wood 🙂

    But you sure did it justice! Thanks for sharing.


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