Box Elder Vase

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Project by woodshopmike posted 07-17-2014 03:47 PM 1995 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This beautiful vase is made from Box Elder and stands 8” tall x 4” wide. It features decorative bark inclusions along with a multitude of vibrant colors. Varying intensities of chatoyance are present throughout the vase, while being especially vibrant around the large bark inclusion near the bottom of the vase.

Box Elder is known for it’s beautiful red streaks that are showcased against a creamy white background. You will also see beautiful flecks of blue dispersed across the surface of this vase.

This vase is intended to be used as either a dry bud vase or simply for decoration. Due to the bark inclusions, this vase will not hold water without a glass sleeve.

I’ve finished the vase with a tung oil and polyurethane blend to seal and protect the wood. The red coloration will fade with age, which is unavoidable. However, this can be mitigated by not displaying the item in direct sunlight. Each piece of Box Elder will age differently, which means one piece may retain it’s characteristic red streaks for decades, while another may retain it’s coloration for a few years.


10 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24802 posts in 3882 days

#1 posted 07-17-2014 06:46 PM

Beautiful vase. The red means it is a female tree! I’ll bet it was hard to keep the inclusions from flying off when you got down to them!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 2440 days

#2 posted 07-17-2014 06:52 PM

Thanks Jim!

I’ve heard that about box elder before, that the female trees have red in them. The inclusions actually didn’t give me any trouble at all. I was kinda surprised actually. I could definitely tell when I hit that area while hollowing though. Really weird sensation.


View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2351 days

#3 posted 07-17-2014 08:02 PM

Stunning vase, beautiful lines.
Thinking of a word to describe it,
keep coming up with sensuous.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 2440 days

#4 posted 07-17-2014 08:52 PM


Glad you like it! Sensuous is a first for me but a fitting description.


View doubleDD's profile


9478 posts in 2820 days

#5 posted 07-17-2014 09:11 PM

Very nice work. Glad you kept it in one piece. My first attempt flew in every direction.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View twirlygirl's profile


65 posts in 2258 days

#6 posted 07-17-2014 09:14 PM

Simple and so Beautiful! I love the way you let the wood speak for itself and show its natural beauty.

I did not know that the color in Box Elder will fade. That is too bad. I do love this sight I am constantly learning new things the more I read.

Thank you for sharing your work!

-- I turn wood into 'things' ..... what is your superpower?

View Bill Duane Brooks's profile

Bill Duane Brooks

49 posts in 2186 days

#7 posted 07-17-2014 09:21 PM

It is my understanding that the red colors come from infestation of beetles and/or fungus.

-- duane

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2325 days

#8 posted 07-18-2014 03:22 AM

Nice job Mike! Sounds like some cool wood to work with. Very interesting

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 2440 days

#9 posted 07-18-2014 09:52 AM

Twirlygirl, the best thing you can do to retain the color is to finish with a UV inhibiting coating in addition to keeping it out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

Carveman, thie red is indeed caused by the presence of beetles. It’s the same phenomenon that occurs to ambrosia maple.

Freddy, Box Elder is very interesting to work with. I’ve not worked with it until just recently. I cuts very easily, but the bad news is that it smells like an old gym bag.


View Xyloid_Curt's profile


131 posts in 2863 days

#10 posted 07-18-2014 03:14 PM

Pretty wood and very nice shape.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

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