Nowadays, snuff boxes are mainly manufactured using precious wood and more specifically "rosewood", a hard and more or less dark wood, smooth to the touch and with a nice vein.
Of concave shape, with straight endings, its usual dimensions are: 85x45x20 mm.
Its decoration, consists of a graining of its extremities using "coques" and of an insertion under heat of maillechort on its top.
The decoration usually represents simple subjects such as coat of arms, four-leaf clover , flowers, hunting scenes, sports or even counryside scenes, all of them made using a mould put on a wheel press.
The maillechort is a an alloy of zinc and nickel which has the same properties (whiteness and malleability) as silver.
The manufacturing of such a snuffbox, requires in between 60 to 80 passes (different working phases made on the same object) depending on the model.
First of all, rosewood sheets, sold by the weight, arrive at the harbour of the "Havre" by road carriers. Then, they are cut with a circular chainsaw in "ebauchons" (calculated dimension of pieces made according to the estimated drying process, corresponding to the box or its top). "Ebauchons" dry during 6 months, away from the sun and drafts before going over to the work-shop.
The making of the box starts with the "OVALISAGE"(ovalizing) made thanks to a "varlope" (vertical tray equipped with knives and rotating at a speed of 1500 t/mn). The "ébauchon" being kept by claws and presented to the cutting tool via a metal support and stops.
The "CREUSAGE" (digging) is made by a bit specially made to correspond to the right dimension of the cavity to be dug. The piece is fixed between 2 "twins" which move horizontaly on a support securing the positionning and the limits of the cutting.
The "DEFONCAGE"(also digging) is aimed to increase the capacity by removing the sides of the cavity.
It is also made using a bit bulged at the extremity, fixed to the tour.
The piece therefore moves with an identical system as the previous one, using guides, levers and stops.
Through "l'EQUARISSAGE" we get a rectangular opening by removing the rounded parts left from the digging with the bit. The tool has a double milling-cutter of the size of a 10 cents coin, rotating horizontally at high speed . This operation must be meticulous because it conditions the air/watertightness of the box.
The lid also needs various operations to get a curved shape.
The "EMBOITAGE" enables to gather the two parts together thanks to a carved nikel silver hinge, bent and adjusted around a rod before the lid and the box can finally be assembled through the "AJUSTAGE".
The tight closing enables to assess the degree of air/watertightness of the mounting which needs a certain pressure while enabling an easy opening at the same time.
The "PONCAGE", "POLISSAGE" (polishing) and sometimes the "VERNISSAGE"(varnishing) give the precious wood its shiny aspect that a friendly hand will appreciate. The decoration made of nikel silver will enhance the gloss while personalizing this object which has now become a snuff box.
It is now necessary to handle your snuff box with great care and to know how to open it correctly not to damage the hinge when opening it. (See example here below)

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