One of the things I enjoy most about woodworking is designing and making something for someone else. I freind of mine is a very talented tattoo artist name Matt Greenhalgh of Only You Tattoo. Matt specializes in traditional Japanese as well as traditional American. I wanted to make a box that could be used in his shop that represented his work.
Small boxes like this are a great way to practice up on the hand tools. With the small parts I find using a my carcass saw and a shooting board to be the most accurate way to make my cuts. I also used a set of grooving planes I built from Matt Kenny’s design. You can find his article on how to make your own set here: Shop Made Grooving Planes.
The box is made from a combination of woods including Cherry for the sides, Maple for the top and bottom, and Wenge for the miter keys. The top slides on and off has a stop on the end of the top to make the box look solid when closed.
I used a picture of a dragon head designed by Matt for the top. After drawing out the dragon I used carbon paper to transfer it onto the wood. The lines were then burnt into the wood useing a wood burner. I use the kind you can pick up cheap at any hobby store. There are a few on the market that are completely adjustable and have lots of attachments but for the few projects I actually use it on the cheap one works fine for me.
It helps to smooth all of the parts before glueup as it is hard to get into the tight corners afterwards. I finished the box with 4 coats of shellac.
Be safe, learn something, and have fun!