The "We" box design started after seeing a call for art by the Wharton Esherick Museum.  Every year they hold a woodworking competition and I always hoped to have a piece in it.  The call asked for work that involved the use of wood and another material...I chose stone.


I started with a large piece of spalted maple that I harvested from a tree that came down in the neighborhood I used to live in.  The log, that the piece came from, sat in my garage for over 5 years and then another 3 years at my current house.  The limestone rock came from my parents property up in Wisconsin.    I hammer drilled into the limestone and then epoxied in aluminum pins.  I drill corresponding holes in the maple so I can slide it onto the pins.  The end result is the stone fully supports the maple.  The side of the limestone that the box is on was fractured and I carved the maple to fit perfectly into the fracture.  I carve it so the wood is a direct extension of the stone.  After this step I am able to level everything off and start the box portion.  There was a drying split in the maple so I placed a black walnut bowtie into the front to stop it from cracking further.


The main body of the box is made from more of that spalted maple.  The sides of the box are not parallel or at the same height so that upped the difficulty level.  Fun to figure out though.  The top and back of the box body are made from black walnut.  The shape flows with the stone.  The entire top had to be shaped with spoke shaves, rasps and scrapers.  The curves to it also blend perfectly with the front of the drawer.


The drawer is made from curly maple.  It has a black walnut front and a lid made from Cocobolo and Gaboon Ebony.  it is lined with deer leather.  the drawer front is also inset into the base.


The tray on the other side of the limestone is carved from more of that spalted maple.  I made a fixture to route the inset area.  After that I started the process of carving it so it sat perfectly into the limestone and flowed with the lines.  It is also held in place by two aluminum pins.


"We" is approximately 16" x 12" x 5.75".  It is finished with four coats of Danish oil with 0000 steel wool sanding in between each coat.  This was topped with two buffings of BriWax.


The WE box is in a private collection.




Jeff Baenen Boxes

Kenosha, WI



Tel: 847 331 0756