During the last pass of edits on Temptation, my editor asked me to delete a scene that shows Jacob, an Amish woodworker, creating a keepsake box for Laura. Later on he takes the box to her, a last gift before she leaves the country to work on another film. The scene didn’t add anything to the story, since we later see him giving her the box, plus we get to see the box from Laura’s point of view for the first time.
The scene was inspired by an article in Fine Woodworking magazine. The article described exactly how to make the box, including the beeswax finish—mixed with turpentine until it was the “consistency of soft butter”.
This is why I love being a writer; I don’t have a crafty bone in my body but I can “craft” beautiful things simply with words!
Here’s the scene, originally at the beginning of Chapter 22:
Working on Sunday was forbidden, but Jacob had a few finishing touches to put on the mitered keepsake box he was making. He’d used the wood from the chestnut that had fallen from Laura’s yard. It was dry enough to use after a couple of weeks in the solar kiln. He had a small strip of wood salvaged from one of the plum trees on her property, a piece of wood he’d experimented with last year, that he planned to use for the accent pieces, the dovetailed keys inserted in the corners of the box for strength as well as beauty. The color, a dark cherry, contrasted nicely with the pale, ring-porous chestnut.
He’d already riftsawn the pieces for a continuous grain pattern. The sides were labeled so that the corners would match up. Earlier he’d applied a coating of shellac, and now he was ready for his favorite part—applying the finish.
He mixed the raw beeswax with turpentine until it was the consistency of soft butter, then mopped it on with a rag, caressing the wood. Laura wasn’t leaving until Tuesday, plenty of time for him to glue the four sides, bind them with band clamps, and let the box dry.
He’d take it over there tomorrow, leave it on her back porch where she’d find it. He didn’t think he should risk seeing her again, not while they were alone at her house.
A box, he figured, wasn’t strictly prohibited by the decree of the church leaders. They’d said “furniture” and nothing about small pieces the size of a Bible. Of course, if they knew who he was making it for—a forbidden act of sentiment, surely, when offered to an English woman with whom he’d nearly committed a sin.
But this one last rebellion… Jacob ignored the rebuke that sprang to his mind, and instead satisfied his heart’s urging. It was just a little thing, hardly worth the time it took to do a good job, but he wanted to give it to her. Something to remind her of home while she was across the ocean.
Despite the fact Laura insisted she’d be back, Jacob wasn’t so sure. The way she’d been treated by some of the people here wasn’t exactly welcoming. And she was an actress, used to the bright lights, the big city, and a much faster lane than Belmont Road.
He tried not to let his mind dwell on that. It didn’t matter to him, he told himself, whether she returned or not.
But still, he would give her the box, made from her own trees, and hope…
For what, he wasn’t quite sure.