Spalted maple & walnut box with Blackie inspired hinges

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Project by Tooch posted 04-03-2016 03:00 PM 3907 views 6 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago we had our large maple tree pruned back very hard. The company the came left is the logs, which I was going to split for firewood. Well one thing lead to another and the logs sat there for at least 2 seasons. By the time I got around to splitting it, I noticed the inside had spalted and was totally excited to use it for a project.

I cut the logs down on my Laguna 1412 bandsaw and let them dry for about 7 months before doing anything else. At that time, I realized I may have waited a little too long because a lot of the wood was rotted out. I was able to glue up a couple pieces and get enough to make the front and back. For the top, I needed to add 2 strips of walnut to make it wide enough to fit the opening.

Because I used box joint construction, I wanted to use wooden hinges that I have seen on many of Randys boxes (LJ Blackie) by using the same jig. I used a shish kabobs skewer to act as the pin, and they open and lock at about 95 degrees (pic 5). I added a removable tray made of walnut (rabbet and dado construction) for the inside, and this the first box that I plan to keep for myself.

I finished it with a several coats of Tung Oil to help strengthen the wood, and a couple coats of spray Lacquer on top. Surprisingly, you can still smell the tung oil even after I sprayed it with Lacquer.

Thanks for looking! As always questions, comments, concerns, and complaints welcome.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

17 comments so far

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

531 posts in 2054 days

#1 posted 04-03-2016 03:26 PM

Tooch…you really got some great results and the box is definitely a keeper. The spalted wood adds so much character also. The wood hinges can become very addictive. My stock of brass hinges only gathers dust now.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself" Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8065 posts in 4465 days

#2 posted 04-03-2016 03:36 PM

Sometimes procrastination is a good thing! Your logs look better in this way for sure! Great looking box Tooch! I think adding “Randy’s” style hinges is a huge plus on this box and any box for that matter and the added walnut on the top was a good thing…defines the top nicely!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3779 days

#3 posted 04-03-2016 04:59 PM

That home grown spalted maple sure makes for a nice box .


-- Kiefer

View Chad's profile


59 posts in 2222 days

#4 posted 04-03-2016 06:40 PM

If I had to come up with one thing to criticize, it couldn’t be related to this box. It’s perfect.

-- Wood is awesome.

View BrokenArrow's profile


41 posts in 2555 days

#5 posted 04-03-2016 07:20 PM

Very nice

-- To each his own.......

View BB1's profile


2202 posts in 1960 days

#6 posted 04-03-2016 07:39 PM

Wow…and wow. Love the design and that wood is fabulous. Have to do some looking up on how to make the wooden hinges. Thanks for sharing.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30618 posts in 3450 days

#7 posted 04-03-2016 08:37 PM

Always good to try something new. Looks good sir.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3624 days

#8 posted 04-03-2016 08:53 PM

WOW! Tooch I think you out did me on this one, that is gorgeous and really like the hinges good job. Thanks for the tip of the hat. :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3916 days

#9 posted 04-04-2016 12:38 AM

That is fine fine, Tooch.

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

View doubleDD's profile


10416 posts in 3155 days

#10 posted 04-04-2016 03:18 AM

Top notch Tooch. Really shows off great. The wood combos fit together nicely. Nice work.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3379 days

#11 posted 04-04-2016 05:50 AM

Tooch, nice work. The box is beautiful. I like the wood choices and how you have used spalted wood and outlined it with (I guess) walnut. Taking time to make a tray and rail for the inside will make it more useful. Looks like you have mastered the art of making wooden boxes.

I have had good results using super glue to stabilize soft sections of spalted wood. I use the watery, thin type of glue. It may take two or three coats. I let it soak in and dry before I sand and only use fine grits on those sections so the sander doesn’t dig out the wood.

I am not a big fan of the appearance of box joints, but it certainly does make a strong and useful joint for boxes. You have done a good job with those. I like your choice of an attached lid too.

Your photos are well done. Maple Rock (Jerry) taught me a good photo trick. He gave me a 4×8 foot scrap of vinyl flooring. The back of it is very white and it makes an excellent photo backdrop. Congratulations on posting a well deserved “Top Three” project. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ivan's profile


16833 posts in 3979 days

#12 posted 04-04-2016 06:13 AM

Wooden hinges alwas deserve Daily top three, especialy with such beautiful splated grain.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View hoss12992's profile


4180 posts in 3005 days

#13 posted 04-04-2016 07:04 AM

Wow that looks great. Love the spalted maple. Great job buddy

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Tooch's profile


2016 posts in 2988 days

#14 posted 04-04-2016 09:46 AM

Thanks for all of the kind words, guys.

Greg My first attempt at wooden hinges was not this good. with practice comes better results, and now that I used the box joint jig I can see my collection of brass hinges starting to collect dust as well.

Tony After it is all said and done, this box took me about 3 years to make. This was definitely a test in patience.

Thanks Kiefer, Chad, Broken Arrow, amd Monte

BB1 there are lots of blogs and step-by-step instructions on different wooden hinges, the biggest helper is having a box-joint jig and level table on a drill press to drill out for the pin. Good Luck!

Randy Thanks for all the help and inspiration, I spent a lot of time looking at your projects to troubleshoot my own.

Thanks Roger, Dave, Ivan, and Hoss

Big Al thanks for the tip on the vinyl flooring. I need to build something like that for photos, my current method uses 2 dining room chairs with a blanket draped over it. Plus, my phone takes pictures that are larger than 5Mb, so I have to shoot wide and crop them all so I can post on LJ.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3978 days

#15 posted 04-04-2016 02:00 PM

This is a beautiful box and I love the accents and details.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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