When a man has collected a few nice things, his thoughts turn to nice things to put things in. And of course it’s a good excuse to learn about how something else is made – in this case, bespoke jewellery boxes.
The model here is sold by Linkson Jack on his menswear retail site. The boxes are all made to order by a one-man operation, and one of the virtues of this arrangement is a pictorial record of the box being made. For geeks like us, of course, this hugely enhances the experience.
The process begins with a discussion of the style, size and overall look. This can be done with sketches, answered questions or a phone call, but as with many things the most useful starting point is another design you like. Which you can then tweak.
The design is confirmed with computer-generated images, before work begins. I picked a walnut, which comes as a long plank of the wood and must be sliced up to produce the main carcass of the box as well as the veneers. The lid and base are veneered for stability.
The ripple sycamore that I selected for the border and the two panels – top, with initials, and front, for the keyhole – is then also sliced up and sent away to marquetry company for those initials to be cut in.
The main body of the box is made in one piece and then separated on a band saw, to be reassembled later. This is more expensive but means the grain of the wood flows naturally from one side to the other.
When the marquetry is received, it must be inlaid into the lid and the borders added. Together with the inlaying of the escutcheon (the panel around the keyhole) this is the most fiddly and time-consuming part of the work (see image at top of this post).
Where the various pieces have been inlaid, they must be scraped flush with the rest of the lid or side of the box.
A few other finishing touches, including the assembly of the interior tray and dividers, and it’s ready. I had sections here for cufflinks, for general things such as collar stays, and four rows underneath for watches. My only regret is the initials – I think I had them too big, bold and serif.
It is a beautiful piece, and during the long process (it takes 8-12 weeks) I learnt a lot about working with wood and about the industry in the UK.
Although some of the items on Linkson’s site are of categories available elsewhere, he seems to have a genuine desire to seek out and sell unique pieces, which is very welcome in a rather homegenised market. There are plans to expand the range of products offered. In the meantime, among other things he sells EG Capelli ties, leather portfolios and some nice enamel cufflinks.