Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Jet Box

There are some projects that I just don't want to let go of. Today I shipped out one such project. It was a very special jewelry box that has come to be know as "the jet box". I had such a hard time letting this one go because I've spent so much time and energy designing and building it over the past month.

The client is a newport beach CA based luxury jeweler (not called Ologon as the label may suggest) and the assignment was to build a traveling jewelry box that could be carried aboard a private jet for the passengers to browse through. It had to have 5 drawers of differing depths, a matching removable mirror, a pocket for printed materials, a secure closure, a handle and it had to be covered in this metallic silver bookcloth that I've been using for all of the other presentation pieces that I've made for this client.

There are a lot of components involved here and they all need to fit precisely together so this had to be built one piece at a time from the inside out.

I started with the drawers. The first step was to build simple square trays covered inside and out in the silver bookcloth. At this point I couldn't add the facades because I needed to know how the drawers would sit in their cases and take precise measurements from there. The facades needed to line up perfectly.
The next step was to create the case for the drawers. Working with bookboard and glue is entirely different than working with wood and nails so it wasn't going to be as simple as building one large box with runners for each of the five drawers. The drawers need more support than that. Each drawer needed to have it's own box that it could slide in and out of so I essentially built a lined slipcase for each drawer, covered the front edges in the silver bookcloth and then stacked them up, glued them and pressed them. In the very top section I had to cut out 2 squares so that the screws and washers that secure the handle would be recessed, otherwise the drawer wouldn't open completely.

At this point the facades could be made. They needed to cleanly cover all the edges of the slipcases so that when looking at the open jet box all you'll see is drawers and none of the structure holding them. Considering this box would be on a jet, the finished product couldn't be too bulky, it needed to take up as little space as possible so knobs and handles weren't an option. I decided to go with notched pulls, they don't take up any space and seem to work well with the overall simplicity of the design.

Next I built a large sturdy double walled box to hold the stack of drawers. Knowing that the completed jet box with all the jewelry inside would be quite heavy, I didn't trust that the double layer of bookboard on top could support all that weight. I did a test by stacking bricks inside of the box and lifting it up by the top. This determined that more support would be needed so I added a piece of 1/4" plywood and wrapped it and the seams with fabric and this absolutely did the trick. I did a second test with even more bricks and it held up very well with no bowing at all. The only parts of this component that will be seen are the 1/4" front edges so I wrapped them with the silver bookcloth.

I then created a cover to surround this large box. The cover wraps around 3 sides and has a door at the front and a flap that attaches to the right side of the box with super strong hidden neodymium magnets. These are sure to keep the box closed even in turbulence. On the inside of the door is a liner with a pocket to hold the printed material. For the finishing touch, both the door and the liner have small insets where an engraved plate with the company's logo will be placed. I then glued the cover to the large box one side at a time, made liners for the top and bottom of the box, glued them on and then measured very very carefully for the handle placement and then drilled the holes for the handle screws. At this point I thought I was home free but soon realized there was one thing that I didn't consider, how was I going to fit a screw driver into a 1" space? Back at the hardware store, the problem was quickly resolved when I saw the allen keys. I could use socket screws with an L shaped allen key. This was a great solution but wouldn't have worked for anyone with hands larger than mine, there was just enough space.

Lastly for the mirror I decided on a folder structure that when opened would reveal the framed mirror. I secured ribbons on either end so that when the folder was folded back onto itself, the ribbons could be tied and the mirror could stand up on it's own in an A frame style on top of the Jet Box. All the bases were covered and I finished the job feeling very satisfied. It isn't every day that I have to design a jet box but it sure was an exciting challenge.....I'm already looking forward to the next one.

To see more of the custom work that has come out of the studio please visit the custom showroom at

1 comment:

  1. The box is exquisite! I hope your client fully appreciates the work and skill you put into that piece.