Wooden Engagement Ring Box

This by far is one of the most personal and meaningful projects I have ever done. Let’s begin by saying I never do anything “simple.” If there is anything that can be over complicated or taken to the next level then that is where I take it.

Last summer (2018), I knew it was going to be the year to propose to my then fiancé. So as I went around to the different jewelry stores shopping for an engagement ring, there was something in my gut telling me I had to build a ring box. I mean I make things so this was kind of obvious.

I spent many sleepless nights lying awake designing and re-designing in my head the perfect ring box. (Side note, many of the projects I come up with get designed in my head late at night before they are sketched out on paper). A box with four sides and a lid was just too simple, so back to the late night drawing board.

Alas, the time was drawing near. I was on vacation from my full time job and I had a date in my mind that I was going to propose. I had began making some different iterations of the perfect ring box. As the date was drawing near I had the idea of what I wanted to build. A tall skinny, square box. I wanted the side to slide out and that piece hold the ring. I wanted to somehow incorporate a sliding dovetail. I had the perfect image in my mind and made plenty of firewood getting the perfect fit. The next concern was is the ring going to fit? (I had not bought the ring yet.)

Yes. I came home with the ring and hurried out to the shop. Last minute finishing touches and the ring fit.

The next day all the pieces were falling together and off to Chicago we went, me, a beautiful ring box, and an unsuspecting girlfriend soon to be fiancé. It was a freezing cold rainy October day in Chicago. Good thing I’m better at making things than planning them because I should have know Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park would be a dead garden, not the most romantic backdrop. After I got down on one knee, I pulled out the ring box and to her surprise I asked her to marry me. She said “maybe” (which was a yes!) and we started laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole day as we made our way to a taxi, teeth chattering and all.

This was a project that brought me so much joy and was so fun and rewarding to build. Seeing the look on her face was priceless and we both agreed, of course I would have built an engagement ring box. So the rest is history, we attempted to plan a more traditional wedding but ultimately decided to elope and I have an amazing wife who has a pretty awesome ring box and we have a ridiculous story.

Christmas Ornament Gifts

In May of this year (2019), my then fiancé and I hopped on a plane and traveled to Italy. Mission: get married. (Long story of how we ended up eloping to Rome, we will just say lots of drawbridges). When we decided to elope to Rome, one of the first things we needed to find was a photographer. So with the help of Google, we found a photographer to capture our big day. (Rochelle Cheever)

Little did we know how absolutely incredible Rochelle would be. She was one of, if not the key factor, in making our big day as close to perfect as it could have been.

While stopping around Rome for pictures, Rochelle would pull out a light meter and just rave at how beautiful the light was. This led to us (me-Joe), to giving Rochelle a hard time all day long about the beautiful light. Luckily for us Rochelle had an awesome sense of humor and this made for an inside joke that will last forever.A

A month or so after our wedding Rochelle sent us our thumb drive with our pictures, a cool little ring dish, and a note that said not to forget the light meter. Super thoughtful and awesome surprise. So we wanted to send a thank you gift back to show her our appreciation.

It has started to become a tradition with some of our past customers to add a little something extra with their order, an ornament of our home state (Indiana) and one of theirs. To the CNC I went. I had some cherry left over and made ornaments of Indiana, California, and Italy. But this wasn’t enough. I had to find a way to make something that resembled a light meter. I custom designed a light meter ornament from cherry with walnut inlays. Now every Christmas, Rochelle will look at her tree and say how beautiful it is.

This was one of the most fun and meaningful projects. I got to up my CNC game and designed something completely from scratch. If I had to bet, I think there will be more Christmas ornaments on the horizon.

Sliding Dovetail Wine Box

This was a commissioned piece from a customer who wanted a custom wine box for a birthday present. She gave me an idea of a wine box that she had seen that had a piece come off the side, a key, and that allowed the inner box to slide out. After thinking about it, I had an idea come to mind that involved a sliding dovetail as the key. I set out building this project with just a vision in my head. As the build progressed the more inspired I felt seeing the finished product come together. The inner box is made from aspen and the outer box is made from cherry with black walnut for the feet and sliding dovetail. Our customer said the person receiving the gift really liked lions and we were able to incorporate some lion heads as handles and a pull to pull the inner box out.

I really like starting projects with an idea and setting out to see if I can turn the idea into reality. Sometimes you have to be flexible and be willing to adapt and change but almost all the time the finished product turns out better than expected.