Div's Greasebox

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Blog entry by Schwieb posted 01-24-2011 03:37 AM 2640 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It has been quite an interesting experience for me to have discovered the Lumberjocks site. The diversity of skills and fascinating people around the world have intrigued me greatly. I’ve mentioned the subject of “heritage” wood a few times. “New” wood is one thing.. It’s already old when it’s cut when you consider the age of the tree, but it has different characteristics from aged wood that was milled long ago, The mellowness of the wood and the patina is quite different from new wood. Perhaps it was made into something, and now again reworked. I am drawn to the now fashionable “green” – earth friendly notion that this “old growth” deserves to be used in a meaningful way to honor it’s heritage and glory as a once living tree. This is some of what George Nakashima speaks to in his book, “The Soul of a Tree”.

I was given a piece of wood that was the end cut of a log that was recovered from the Suwanee River in Levy County Florida where I live. Probably cut down in the 1920s or 30s and brought to the river to float downstream to a sawmill. The piece was pretty checked but it was dry and had such a rich brown red color. I’m told it Sweet Gum, (Liquidambar Styraciflua), by some of my local woodworking friends. I studied the piece for a long time to consider how to cut it up to use in the best way I could.

Div’s greasebox came from a piece left from cutting out a couple of bowl blanks. I saved every little piece. They kept glaring at me on the cut-off cart for a long time and then I began to see a couple of little greaseboxes in one of them.

So I tried to work out the most I could get out of that chunk of wood as far as a box and create a way to place it in a chuck so I could turn the bowl on the lathe.

I planned it so I would machine the dovetail slot before resawing the piece to create two twin boxes. Just had to keep track of which lid went to which box to keep it perfect.

I failed to take photos of the boxes in the chuck but you might notice in the following photo that I trimmed the excess material in a way to keep the bowl in the center in the chuck. Being a bit of a turner I liked this touch, the round bottom would seem to make it easier to dip out the wax.

I then machined and fitted a piece of very hard Ohio walnut for the dovetail latch that came from my great-grandfather’s farm. Anothger heritage aspect to the piece. A couple of brass screws, some tung oil, wood burning the names and there you have it.
Div’s greasebox.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

11 comments so far

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4289 days

#1 posted 01-24-2011 05:12 AM

I’m sorry but I don’t know what a grease box is or what it is used for?

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3474 days

#2 posted 01-24-2011 06:40 AM

I like projects like these, a useful item in the shop made out of rustic style pieces and it has that rustic heirloom appeal.

For those that don’t know, a greasebox is a small container holding beeswax or some other form of lubricant that is usually applied to the bottom of a hand plane to reduce the friction of the iron sliding against wood.

Nice piece and thank you for sharing,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View swirt's profile


3879 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 01-24-2011 06:52 AM

Nice work Ken, Great history to the wood, clever design and a generous gift. It doesn’t get any better than that.

-- Galootish log blog,

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3299 days

#4 posted 01-24-2011 08:52 AM

Nicely done!

Thankd for the detailed pictures.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3198 days

#5 posted 01-24-2011 12:10 PM

Very nice Ken, these two reclaimed woods look very nice. Now for all the little scraps you might have left over after sawing and all, you can always turn small drawer handles (button or sphere shaped) in them.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View tdv's profile


1202 posts in 3435 days

#6 posted 01-24-2011 12:30 PM

I love stories like that just imagine the history of that tree fantastic & now it’s fulfilling the purpose it was cut down for.

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3145 days

#7 posted 01-24-2011 01:30 PM

Very nice, and the history is a great touch.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View stefang's profile


16705 posts in 3699 days

#8 posted 01-24-2011 02:41 PM

Nice blog Ken and a nice little grease box and a good story to go with it. I really like the look of gum.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3480 days

#9 posted 01-24-2011 07:20 PM

great story behind the wood and a very nice gift you sent to Div and his fammely
thank´s for sharing and contribute to make L J even better :-) Ken

you shuold read this blogserie about greasebox´s that Mafe (Mads) has made

take care

View mafe's profile


11988 posts in 3454 days

#10 posted 01-24-2011 10:12 PM

Nice idea, nice thought.
Yes I agree, a piece of wood with a history , are so much more interesting.
Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts and storys with us.
Best thoughts my friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3305 days

#11 posted 01-24-2011 10:12 PM

I am the honored dude! I am also humbled….Thank you Ken, I will cherish this little box…

Now I also know a little more about it and the wood you used…..Great stuff!! Oh, and I really like the fact that the inside of the box has a round bottom. Beautiful and practical!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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