Reclaimed Glory #15: Reclaimed Mahogany & Finger Joints: A Welcome Distraction from Pressing Concerns

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Blog entry by palaswood posted 07-07-2014 11:24 PM 2373 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: An Ode to Power Carving & Sculpting Reclaimed Furniture Part 15 of Reclaimed Glory series no next part

First of all. What the hell are people doing throwing away solid mahogany… That just irks me… THIS STUFF DOESN”T GROW ON TREES PEOPLE!... well, OK, OK… but you get my point.

Second of all, what in the WORLD were they thinking PAINTING this mahogany an opaque BROWN!.... Sometimes there is simply no justice in this world.

Not that I mind coming up on 30+ bf of some old genuine mahogany. Cause I’m all about it. In fact, I get pretty much all my wood from my little reclaiming and salvaging excursions during lunch breaks and after work. This was from an exceptionally good day I had back in Fall. I’m just now getting to it… It held a mystique for me for a while which did not allow me to touch it.

I’m in the middle of a tool chest build, but I keep second guessing the style I want. So far I have some cherry panels glued up, but I can’t commit to the rest since I’m not sure if I want English or Dutch style. So instead of making a decision, I picked up this mahogany and chose NOT TO CHOOSE. Not today anyway. I will make a small box out of this gorgeous mahogany instead and work on some hand cut joints. I previously rescued it from the dumpster, and now I guess it’s once again time to dive in.

After removing the brad nails and planing it flat with the #6 & #4C, I was very pleased with what was staring back at me.

I’ll be pairing it with this lovely spalted sycamore from a pallet, which i’ve been sitting on almost as long as the mahogany (no, not literally, you wise guys).

Layout, marked and sawed to length. Gotta get the Stanley planes into the shot. (oh, & if you squint, you can see my little Shop Brush in the pic. I just made this and now I dont know how I got along without it!)

Planing the ends flush in the vise. With a sharp iron, its amazing how easy this is, as long as you dont let the cutting edge reach the edge of the wood, or you will have nasty blowout. I hear you can chamfer the far edge, but I just go 70% then turn it around. (Note to self: make a shooting board).

I marked out the lines of the oversized finger joints I’ll be doing and sawed them. This is the first time I’ve done this, so it’s exciting for me. Hence all the pictures ;)

I chopped the joint using some of my favorite tools in the shop, my vintage, English made, Sheffield steel chisels. One of them is a Sorby and the other two I’m not sure, but I love these firmer chisels.

Then I cleaned up the joint (a little too much) and now we have one down, three more to go.

Wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I fully expect the joints to follow to improve as I knock out the rest after work tonight. I admit, I rushed a bit this morning, but learned some valuable lessons.

DO NOT RUSH HANDCUT JOINTS (at least in the event that you are a complete noob). And test fit after each cut.

Stay tuned, I hope to make this a cool little box with several bells and whistles. All in an effort to bone-up on my box making skills for the Box Swap 2014.

**Update after 2nd joint chopped:

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

10 comments so far

View summerfi's profile


4312 posts in 2195 days

#1 posted 07-07-2014 11:37 PM

Nice wood find and nicely written.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2275 days

#2 posted 07-08-2014 12:05 AM

Expensive wood, expensive lessons; free expensive wood, a much better learning lessons. Throwaway society will eventually fail.


View Mean_Dean's profile


6994 posts in 3655 days

#3 posted 07-08-2014 12:20 AM

Nice save of some beautiful wood!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3046 days

#4 posted 07-08-2014 12:36 AM

Nice work. My new motto is haste makes waste, but I can’t help it sometimes…I like to finish my projects…

-- I never finish anyth

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2845 days

#5 posted 07-08-2014 01:33 AM

To answer your 2 earlier points, there is a large percentage of people who are either stupid or just don’t care. Good save. Beautiful wood.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

120 posts in 2357 days

#6 posted 07-08-2014 03:35 AM

I am always watching for free wood… it is amazing how much is out there if your in the right place at the right time. Good find. can’t wait to see the finished project.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3517 days

#7 posted 07-08-2014 03:52 AM

Gorgeous Wood! Great save, got to love free wood, especially when it is like that.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3311 days

#8 posted 07-09-2014 01:02 AM

Looks like a gr8 save. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2514 days

#9 posted 07-10-2014 10:06 PM

Great find on the walnut… gotta give you a ”YOU SUCK” for that one! The only thing that even RESEMBLES wood I find at the dumpsters is old box springs! Some guys have all the luck.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View palaswood's profile


1060 posts in 2259 days

#10 posted 07-10-2014 10:14 PM

Joe in GA (Love GA btw) it’s mahogany but some nerd painted it brown. Yes I get lucky often around here.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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