Small layered hexagonal twist box

Hello, I’m Mike.

I wanted to try another variation of the approach I used in the layered hexagonal dice box, but on a smaller scale, to test how well the method worked at small scales. Well, the answer is “this good”. I don’t have a great deal of notes on this that weren’t covered in the larger build, this was largely a refinement of the technique.

  • Overall height 1.25"
  • Diameter 1.9"-ish
  • All solid hardwoods
  • Sanded to 600 grit
  • Finished with wipe on polyurethane

Regular readers will recognize the snowflake as coming from my [recent generator post]( . The end result turned out pretty nicely at this scale, the woods are inlaid with a 0.007" kerf adjustment. This is aggressive, but I wanted a really close fit.

Walnut, Maple

A closer look at the inlaid lid. Gotta love the clean corners update, it allows this sort of thing with no overburn hotspots.

Walnut, Maple

This is another variant on my knurled layered box, and it has a notched lid insert. The notches serve to reduce the amount of surface area in contact with the inside lip, letting the lid spin more freely. This is a concept that I refined again and probably reached its peaked with a rounded, lobed version in the spiral staircase box. I used three pins here for simplicity, more pins are more effort (and again reduced to two pins in the spiral staircase box).

Walnut, Maple, Brass pins, Neodymium magnets

Oh right, I’m no banamateur here. I refined my sanding technique and did the bulk of the work with a dremel, it went quickly and easily. If I were to do it again, I would avoid sharp internal angles on the sides, it was a tricky task to get them properly sanded.

Walnut, Maple, Brass pins, Neodymium magnets, US Quarter for scale

So, there you go. We’ll see if I revisit spiral boxes again soon, I have a few more ideas but it’s just a question of whether or not I find time for them.

Oh and bonus points if you can figure out why this one’s named Mike.


The bar continues to rise. Beautiful.


Just epic. So impressed. I have yet to try the brass pin technique, but it’s on my list. Your projects are always an inspiration.


I see holes in the top for future Neo-Magnets? Have you had troubles with them? I got a batch of 3.2 mm x 0.8 mm and some 1.6 mm x 0.8 but wondering if a tiny screw or tack might work for the other side or even stainless instead of brass rod?

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Again you are very inspiring.


Amazing as always!
How you manage to get so many layers of wood to look like one solid piece is baffling to me!

Tell me… You’ve made many things. All functional, all works of art in their own right. I imagine a lot of time and patience in each item. I imagine a lot of sanding. I wonder… Do you find it all to be laborious or do you find a relaxation in it all? Seems to me one could find some inner peace doing all of this. Or… it could drive one mad.


The magnets are already in there. They are cubic and slightly under 1/8” (3mm) so they set below the surface. I use them in my small layered boxes because they fit almost anywhere.

These guys:

Magnetic Cube 3mm 512pcs Magnets Blocks Multi-Use Square Cube Magnets Toy Stress Relief Toys for Kids (Silver)

I have tons of them so I won’t run out soon but the ones I just linked come in gold! Aww man now I have magnet envy.

Probably? Two magnets will be stronger, as they’re both pulling toward each other. I like that I only need to use two pairs, less labor.

Probably? The main reason I like brass is that it sands flush very easily with standard sandpaper… I have some aluminum that I haven’t used yet but also chosen for easy workability. Stainless will probably be a bit tougher to work with.


But magnetic

Unless one magnet gets upside down

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There’s no trick, just glue it up and sand it carefully. I will say that I choose dark wood like walnut on purpose, it doesn’t show as much difference between end and face grain and therefore looks more consistent. It also helps if you cut from the same piece of wood for the layers and keep the grain orientation consistent. I rotated each layer’s outer edge in the art on this one so that the spiral would twist but the grain wouldn’t. Definitely makes it seem more monolithic.

But! It pleases me that you find it baffling because that’s what I want. I hope people will just think “wait what? You made this?“ — I’ve taken to calling my projects “improbable objects” and want them to be unexpected.

Good question… I think if I made 20 of them I’d definitely find out the answer to this. As it stands though each thing is new and interesting. I mostly am fueled by the curiously element… will my weird idea even work? ”Sanding surfaces using the lasered edges as guides to allow precise flowing shapes” seemed like something that ought to pan out so I just gave it a shot. Now it’s added to my list of tricks, and the sky is the limit. We’ll see what I use it for in the future.

Take my wooden creature as an example: I’ve made a lot of them, and I like them… but I’ve designed a bunch more that were just going to be a lot of work to build so I said “nah”. The prospect of building a 1600+ piece puzzle just didn’t carry me through actually doing it.

So I guess I’m saying that it’s pleasing and zen until it isn’t. It just depends on my mood at the time.

And as always, thanks for the compliments, all of you. I’m glad you guys like these things as much as I like making them.


A lot of stainless isn’t. Caveat emptor.

Don’t do that. It sucks. Guess how I know?


Beautiful! Thank you for such a bright spot in my day, Mike!

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I just thought it was strange that you started this post by stating your name LOL


You’re not wrong :wink:

The majority of my projects introduce themselves.

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Mike’s awesome! (Don’t drop him.) :smile:
(Get it? Drop the Mike?) okay…bad pun.



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Wow! Another great project!

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Fantastic work. Mike looks great.

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Both boxes are great and have me thinking in new directions.

I have been reluctant to make boxes for gifts ‘n’ stuff because I actually find that the classic box generator edges just look cheap and mundane to me now… how we get spoiled! I’ll have to try something like this.


Got to get one of these Magnetic Cubes. Thanks for the link!!

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Huh. Hint?

  • Might it have to do with boxing? It cuts up from the bottom left.
  • Baseball? There’s a fancy collectors card.
  • Politics?
  • Smithsonian archivist?
  • Are you into plays?
  • Data warehousing?

(Grabbing at straws here. Inquiring/enquiring mind and all. Oh, the box is BEA-U-TI-FUL!!)