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A couple of years ago, Mark Bennett, who is a furniture maker in Malton, Yorkshire, with a genius for discovering beautiful and unusual wood, gave me this remarkable piece of willow. I knew that willow sometimes exhibits an attractive figure because I’d seen it in the backs of baroque cellos, which are sometimes made in that wood, but I’d never encountered anything quite as striking as this.



I wondered for a long time about how best to use it, toying with the idea that it might work as a guitar headstock. But willow is light and soft and I doubted that it would be strong enough. In the end, it seemed safer, if less imaginative, to use it to make a box.



It’s a simple rectangular design (10½ x 5¼ x 3½ inches) with a single tray in sycamore. The lid is a piece of wildly figured ash, hinged on brass pintles. It’s finished in clear French polish.



Larger photographs available by clicking on the thumbnails.



  1. Nicely done. Is there a ledge or a stop to keep the tray from sliding all the way to the bottom?

  2. Sweet.

    What keeps the tray from going to the floor of the box?

    • Christopher Martyn
    • Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Thanks for your kind comments. There are 4 ‘matchsticks’, triangular in section, glued into the inside corners of the box to keep the tray in position. It’s just possible to make them out in the back corners in the 2 photographs where the box is open and the tray has been removed.

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