Last year my wife got me one of the best birthday presents I've ever gotten. I was looking for a nice watch box at the time, and I couldn't find anything that that I liked very much, so she found a woodworker locally to make me a custom box. I met with him a few times over the course of a few months and described what I wanted. I picked out hardware and the type of wood, and gave him a couple of specific features that I wanted, and after about 11 months, I picked it up yesterday. Here are some photos of the finished product:
The box is mainly made of Cocobolo. The inlay on the top is rosewood burl, surrounded by a thin border of hickory and ebony.
There are spaces for four watches when you open the lid, and a large tray for miscellaneous items. There's another burl inlay on the inside of the lid and my initials are inlayed within that panel in the lower, right corner.
The top compartments are lined with a gold brocade fabric that really matches the wood well. I still need to get some pillows that fit the four watch compartments better.
There's a drawer in the bottom for straps and tools. The inside of the drawer is made of quilted maple.
The dovetail joints were all done by hand with antique tools.
The next picture shows one of the coolest features of my box, and requires a little bit of background... When I was a kid, my parents took me to the museum in Daniel Boone's former home in Missouri. The thing that I remember the most about that trip is that he had secret compartments in all of his furniture to hold important documents that he didn't want to fall into the wrong hands. I thought that was really cool, and I've always wanted a piece of furniture that has a secret compartment. So the first time I met with the woodworker, I asked him if it would be possible to add a secret compartment to my box. He was really into the idea, and told me that he had a friend who had spent a lot of time studying the construction of secret compartments in antique furniture. He consulted with his friend, and came up with a few ideas. He ended up putting a shallow tray under the main tray in the top of the box (behind the watch compartments). To access the compartment, you remove the drawer and apply pressure to two wood springs in the outside walls of the box. A tray drops down, and you slide it out of the space usually occupied by the drawer.
Yes, I realize that I've just told the internet exactly how to access the "secret" compartment in my box. Please just keep this between us.
As you can see, I've got some very important items in the tray . About $12 worth of foreign currency, and a woven bracelet that I got in Peru a few years ago. The tray is also made of quilted maple:
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed looking at my photos. It really was a fun process watching this master craftsman turn a few boards into this beautiful box. I'm stunned every time I look at it. I just can't believe it turned out so well.