Bocote Box

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Project by Copperjock posted 08-28-2010 09:37 PM 2733 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a lot of fun building this box for my stepdaughter. It is made from walnut and bocote. I used the Incra positioning system to create to “corner post” joinery, and the tray’s dovetail joinery. The brusso hinges are crazy expensive, but work great. I used a good quality self-adhesive felt in the bottom and like it much more than flocking. I’m a bit of a number nut, when I was thinking about this box I realized there were 29 different pieces of wood, and only 2 of them were flat glued, without some sort of joinery. (The two are the walnut rails to support the tray.)

The real lesson of this box is in the finishing, I started out using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal (oil urethane). Problem was, it just would not dry. I would leave it for weeks and come back to a tacky box. Without finding direct information, I believe the problem was in the oils of the bocote. Just too dang oily of a wood. And when I would rub it down with steel wool, some of the shavings would get stuck in the corners where it was tacky. It’s been a real mess of a time. Then I jumped back to what I am familiar with, Minwax Polycrilic (water-based). It worked fine, but like times before, brush strokes and runs really wreck a project. I discovered they have an aerosol version of polycrilic, so I used that and it worked fine, a couple things though: 1) I had seen reviews talking about it spraying white chunks, and it did with me the first time I used it, so next time I will spray a few sweeps away from my project to clear the nozzle. 2) It doesn’t leave brush strokes, (of course) but leaves a shiny matte finish. I was expecting it to level like the brush version but it didn’t. The matte finish isn’t bad, just not what I expected.

The GF Arm-R-Seal did work great on the walnut tray. Easy to apply and almost goof proof. I’m looking forward to using it again on domestic hardwoods.

-- All the test cuts in the world won't stop you from cutting the outside when you meant to cut the inside. doh!

7 comments so far

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4435 days

#1 posted 08-29-2010 12:08 AM

Beautiful box. Thanks for the info on finishing. The Bocote is pretty enough to hassle with the finish problems!

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 4244 days

#2 posted 08-29-2010 12:09 AM

Very Nice Box! I just got some exotic woods to make my little finger rings and I got some bocote.
Mine was kiln dryed and does not seem oily, Thanks for the info and your point of struggle.
Beautiful box you made and the finish is very nice.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4575 days

#3 posted 08-29-2010 02:52 AM

You do feel as if you’ve been kicked in the head when the finish won’t dry and you just want to be “DONE”. I’ve had the same problem with rosewood and milo ( a Hawaiian wood), both are very oily. With rosewood, if immediately before adding the finish you wipe the surface with naphtha or mineral spirits to remove the existing oil, it is possible to sneak a coat of finish on there before more oil moves to the surface. Do that twice to seal it and the other coats will be fine. Alternatively, you could simply oil and wax the piece and eliminate the hardship.
Love the box…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 5064 days

#4 posted 08-29-2010 03:02 AM

What a nice box, from what I can see (the images are very dark on my monitor; hard to make out detail). I have been considering getting some bocote to use for a box – now I know I will. I’m sure that your stepdaughter will be very pleased with it.

Great job!


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View charlie49's profile


54 posts in 4165 days

#5 posted 09-01-2010 02:53 AM

Nice work. I’m curious about the hinges, from the photos it appears as though the lid is possible heavy. Please fill mr in. Thank you for the photos and info.


View Copperjock's profile


130 posts in 5129 days

#6 posted 09-01-2010 05:47 AM

The box is about 6”x9”x3”. The Brusso “stop hinges” #JB-101 sell for over $20/pair. They are nice, just pricey.

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

-- All the test cuts in the world won't stop you from cutting the outside when you meant to cut the inside. doh!

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4619 days

#7 posted 02-20-2011 03:08 AM


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

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