A productive summer of 09: more boxes!

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Project by SM posted 01-16-2010 01:44 AM 2594 views 5 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The first set is made of 90 year old Nara (from my father’s basement), and the lids are spalted birch from the wood pile. The Jewelry box is cherry. The small “pocket box” I made for my father’s birthday, and is also Nara. I’ll explain the spalted birch in the next project. The third, rather hunky/funky, was my attempt to salvage a brown maple, kidney shaped bandsaw box, in which the lid warped, twisted and bowed; really a mess. So I took the remaining center and made a removalbe tray. It works as a “bedside box” in which to put your watch, glasses, cell phone, pocket change, etc., when you go to bed.

The Nara is interesting in that it was a 2 inch thick, 12 inch by 8 foot slab of wood, black with dirt, shoved under my Dad’s work bench. I ask him about it and he said, “Oh, that’s some wood your Uncle Jack gave me fifty odd years ago; I think he said it was, ‘Nara’.”

I had not heard of “Nara”, but as a kid, I was told, “Uncle Jack works in the Orient”, and I remember there was all sorts of very exotic stuff around their house, including furniture.

Consequently, every now and then I call up my dad and ask him to send me another hunk.

I could not find much information on this wood, so I would be interested in what anyone can tell me.

-- SM

12 comments so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4238 days

#1 posted 01-16-2010 01:51 AM

Great job on those beautiful boxes, I will have to try my luck at making some boxes.
I have lots of birds eye maple, short pieces 16 to 18 inches long.

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4228 days

#2 posted 01-16-2010 02:07 AM

Very nice boxes !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3971 days

#3 posted 01-16-2010 08:04 AM

Fantastic gruop of boxes. Really like the cherry jewelry box. Great design and figure in the wood. Well done!

Keep up the great work.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4531 days

#4 posted 01-16-2010 12:27 PM

Nice bunch of boxes. The only problem I see is your dad cutting up the Nara to send it to you. lol

-- Jim

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3985 days

#5 posted 01-16-2010 01:48 PM

Very nice boxes. Well done.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 01-16-2010 03:20 PM

Very nice boxes. As an FYI – You may have heard of wood called “amboyna burl”. Amboyna burl is the burl wood from the narra tree. It would be logical to call it “narra burl” but we do not do that. The narra trees on Amboyna Island were noted for their burls and people started calling that burl wood “amboyna burl”. Now burl from any narra tree is called amboyna burl. Narra grows primarily in SE Asia.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1594 posts in 3792 days

#7 posted 01-16-2010 03:44 PM

Looks nice, well done.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 3829 days

#8 posted 01-16-2010 04:51 PM

saweeeeeeeet boxes, great work on all of them. i like the one with the little draw and rounded top.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4051 posts in 4604 days

#9 posted 01-16-2010 06:40 PM


-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4117 days

#10 posted 01-16-2010 06:49 PM

wow super bunch of boxes all look great.

View degoose's profile


7260 posts in 3895 days

#11 posted 01-17-2010 10:22 PM

These boxes are all so different…nicely designed and well crafted…
FWIW from the link that Dusty56 posted the botanical name is pteracarpus indicus.. and that being so… I know this as New Guinea Rosewood. This is a wonderful timber to work with… I only have access to boards… largest being 5’’ by 2’’ ....this timber is available all over Australia… for quite a reasonable price…Used a lot in Kitchens… drawers and doors… as such the cabinet makers charge a fortune for it…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View SM's profile


77 posts in 4236 days

#12 posted 01-17-2010 11:36 PM

Thanks for the information on the Nara and associated names. I had read that it was in the same category as Paduak, but was not sure since it does look very different. “Rose” does not describe the colour of this peice either but the grain looks right.

I too felt a reticent to cut it up, but Dad and I are on opposite sides of the continent. Also, by the time I got it dressed, I would loose a lot. This way, there is very little waste; and I can make a lot of boxes and still have a sizable chunk left over until I figure a way to get it home. That is my rational for now.

When I get the system sorted out, for posting pictures to a blog, I’ll post some pictures of Dad’s circle jig.
Cheers and thanks.

-- SM

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