Darkly Labs Community

Lots of boxes

So I just realized that I’ve only ever posted here when I have a problem, while you guys are posting all kinds of awesome things. Well, here’s a handful of the things that the E2 has helped me make. I love this machine, and LightBurn is a huuuge improvement. 

Dice towers

These were made in 3-mm birch ply, walnut, and cherry (from left to right). I’ve also made them in cedar, purpleheart, and combined redheart and padauk. Purpleheart took all of a Saturday to cut out and required a lot of cleanup. Sheesh. 

Guitar pick boxes

This one has two pairs of magnets to hold the lid on, but most of them have been pressure fit. They’re cut from layers of 3-mm wood (cherry here, but I’ve also done birch ply, cedar, and alternating layers of maple and walnut), and I either swap the grain direction or use a different wood for the pick inlay.

Circus box

One-off for a friend. Each panel inside has an engraved silhouette of a circus performer. That cherry inlay on the front is meant to look like an open tent flap. The interior is also cherry, and the rest is mahogany and bird’s eye maple.

Marquetry and inlay

The T-rex is engraved mahogany with cedar (mouth) and maple (eyes), the stripe is walnut, and the rest of the box is cherry.

That’s it for now. Thanks for making it this far!


Nice work Nathan.


Impressive craftwork Nathan.

Awesome work Nathan!!


Some more fun projects. All of these were a mix of E2 and hand work. 


Hi Nathan,

I see from your work that you appreciate different species with. I like your inlay work and I take it to be with different veneers.

Your Horse inlayed box is appealing and I would like to make one myself as an experiment. The background timber behind the horse seems to be some type of birdseye timber. Is this correct and did you use any offset for the inlay.

Keep posting here as it always good to see other peoples work



Hi John, 

Yes, I use veneers for the boxes. The horse is maple on a background of walnut burl (the tulip background is also a burl—myrtle, I think). I didn’t use any offset for that one, but I sometimes add 0.01–0.05 mm, especially to smaller pieces. It depends on the wood, so it takes some experimentation. Basically, I cut the smallest pieces one at a time, and if it turns out to be too small to fit, I cut another copy with an offset.

I used this image for the horse, but anything without any pieces smaller than about 0.5 mm will work: https://st2.depositphotos.com/2374833/6789/v/950/depositphotos_67896475-stock-illustration-silhouette-of-running-horse.jpg

Nathan,I have been working with veneer and some designs where the pieces are not joined. Have you come up with any way to keep the loose pieces together so thay can drop into the reverse shape in one go  Example would be the centre of the letter A’s in a word like   “AUSTRALIA”


Sort of. If you’re using veneers, the only way I know to do that would be to draw it like a stencil, so the center of the A is attached to the outside. Otherwise, I’d cut the center by itself, collect that piece, then cut the next piece (so the center doesn’t get blown away or marked when the next piece is cut). 

A cheat is to use a thicker piece of wood instead of veneer. I use 3 mm boards to make the D20 inlay in my dice towers. I engrave out the d20 to about 1.5 mm, then cut a negative like this: image.jpg

The dark part is engraved, and the light part is the inlay, but you can see that all the parts (like the centers of the 0 or 4) stay attached. This fits into the positive engraving. You glue it into place, then sand it down to flush, and you have a perfect inlay. 

A couple more marquetry boxes!