I watched Roy Underhill make one of these boxes on his “The Woodrights Shop” PBS series. They orginated in Europe and were used by woodworkers to keep their tallow for “waxing” their wooden tools. The top is slid away from the lower cover, which is then pushed back to release it from the inset butterfly. Both tops are swung aside to expose the interior chamber.
After reading Tom Fidgen’s “Made By Hand” book, I thought these could provide a fine project to work on my hand tool skills. The boxes are made from some scrap mahogany and maple. A bit of boiled lindseed oil and paste wax finished them off. They will make nice valentine gifts for my daughters (minus the tallow). Although not totally “unplugged” these boxes are the most hand-made items I have ever made. Its a start.