Update #1 Rob Clark Furniture is interested in your CustomMade project


What a fantastic idea! Your friend will be very delighted to receive such a gift. You have also stoked my creative juices and whether I make this for you or not I will be exploring it further.

The technical challenge will be the vaulted lid and the most meticulous portion the carving on the inside. The rest of the box should be fairly straightforward.

I have attached a quick sketch that I did with a possible design for the outside of the box. My idea was to subtly hint at the cathedral arch on the inside without giving it away until the lid is opened. Or you could just go with a very straightforward and plain exterior as in the 2nd drawing. What do you think? Or perhaps you have some different ideas about the look of the exterior?

Have you thought at all about the type of wood to use? Basswood is the easiest to carve and leaves very clean crisp lines so might be the best choice for the inside of the lid. I have attached a sample carving in basswood so as to give you an idea of how it looks. Walnut for the rest of the wood would go very well with the basswood. You can see the color of finished walnut in the carved box posted in my portfolio. Again, you may have very different ideas. I am just exploring possibilities.

Finally, a box of this complexity is quite a stretch for the budget you have indicated. How much wiggle room do you have in an upwards direction?

I look forwards to hearing from you to see if we might colloborate on the creation of what promises to be a very beautiful box.



posted on Jul 25th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #2 Laura has sent you a message

Hello, Rob, and thanks so much for replying.

Let's see, I really like the first drawing hinting at buttresses. I was thinking that maybe the vault could have only a pair of opposed fans, so that it would be as wide as the spread fan and as long as the opposed pair longitudinally (the base/root of the fan before spreading from the pillar would kind of coincide with the end of the buttress outside. Does that make any sense? What size you think it would be doable? I wouldn't want it to be very big, as I said, as a book tops, but I understand that means a sacrifize in the level of detail.

Basswood looks perfect for what I was looking for, although for the outside of the box I envisioned something darker or more red-ish, like in the picture attached (this said, I obviously have no idea about the kind of wood what would be). Some engravings on the outside can be discussed, just for it not to be plain, but I'd like to keep that simple.

Please let me know you estimate for this job. I could consider it up to 600-700 USD.

Thanks again, Rob.

Best regards,


posted on Jul 26th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #3 Laura has sent you a message

Hi Rob,

I've decided to go with you on this project :). I still think a vaulted lid would look much better considering the type of ceiling effect aimed at. As for the level of detail, King's College at Cambridge (which was the first picture I attached) is certainly breathtaking, but I could settle for a simpler pattern like the one in the picture attached (that's Bath), using the same fanning vaulting style but a little less ornated.

Regarding size I would maybe prefer having it slightly smaller (5,1"x7,8", per 3" high, for instance. Sorry about the silly figures, I'm converting from centimetres 13x20). I think it would still look good and it would be less flat-looking.

Regarding the wood, after browsing the site you mentioned, paduk is the tone my friend would like the most. I've seen some cherrywood images that look very much as red as paduk, but not the cherry displayed on the site (so I'm not sure if it depends on the supplier). In any case, please use the most cost-sentitive option of the two, as long as it is really red looking.

Leather-lining is perfect, but I won't be needing a grid.

I think this is all I had to consider at this point.

I checked the proposal box. I look forward to hearing from you.



posted on Jul 31st 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #4 Progress on the Box


I'm very pleased to be able to tell you that work on the box has begun. I have cataloged each step of the construction so far with pictures and videos. I am not quite sure how to string them together here so that you get a good chronological overview, but I will do my best.

posted on Oct 16th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #5 Continued Progress on the box

I tried to put all the pictures and text and videos in one update, but it just bogged the system down. So here goes one or two at a time.

posted on Oct 16th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

  • In this short clip I am cutting the blank for the box lid into sections so that I can profile each section with the curve of the finished lid.

Update #8 Cutting the wood block so I can make the arced curve in the top

posted on Oct 19th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #13 Sides veneered and question on the box lid?


I veneered the sides of the box today and will glue on the veneer for the box top next. I have a question on the choice of pattern for the top. See below for details.

posted on Nov 16th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #14 Beautiful Red Shavings


This afternoon I planed the veneers down on the box sides. I thought you would enjoy seeing the beautiful pile of red shavings. Nothing is quite so satisfying in the life of a fine furniture builder as using the hand plane. The shavings come off so thin and the surface that is left is glass smooth.

Also, I ended up with a pattern for the veneer on the lid that was not any of the patterns I showed you. It is my favorite of all the options and I think you will really like it. Should I send you a picture or leave it as a surprise?

posted on Nov 19th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #15 Progress on Carving


I am carving a sample pattern just to work through any carving issues before I cut into the actual box lid which already has a good deal of time invested in it. Can you look at the attached photos and tell me if things are moving in the direction that you envisioned. Keep in mind that what you see is not finished yet. Lines will be thinned down and refined. The arched lowered so they are not as prominent and everything will be smoothed up. The important question at this point is whether this is what you had in mind for the carving?

posted on Dec 04th 2012 by Rob Clark Furniture

Update #16 You have a new message

Hello Rob, and happy new year! (again, and this time in 2013 for real)

As promised, here you have the few pictures I took (I'm in one, nice to meet you). The box was in perfect condition and it was awesome. Really, very beautiful, smooth and elegant. I loved it and my friend did too. Thanks again for you hard work. His words actually were "you can see it's made with love and care and how he loves his job". I think that too :)

Although the box is no longer in my possession so to speak, I still have access to it, so if you ever want further or more specific pictures, let me know. I will also contact you if we have any doubt.

Warm regards,


PS: I'll be sending the pictures in separate messages due to their size.

posted on Jan 01st 2013 by Rob Clark Furniture

Carved Wooden Box

Rob Clark Furniture in California being made for Laura byRob Clark Furniture

This Maker is currently

Laura submitted:

“Hello, I'm Laura, from Barcelona (Spain). I'm looking for some wood artisan able to build a wooden box/chest for me. It would have to be custom, since I would need the inner side of the lid to be chiseled/carved approximately like the vault of the chapel attached. It would be a gift, and the person I want it for loved the fan vault of king's college chapel (Cambridge), so I'd like to try to have something similar (independently from the outer aspect of the box). More images of similar vaults with more level of detail are available simply by googling images for "fan vault". Since I'm a little lost with the request and how possible it would be, please let me know if you could be interested or if you know of someone else who could make it. in order to achieve a relatively nice level of detail the box would be around 9"x 6" x whatever height feels harmonic for a jewelry box, tops. Kind of like hard-cover book-sized (if that makes any sense). Maybe it would be good that the lid is va

more ↓