Boxguy Turns 100

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Project by Boxguy posted 03-13-2018 11:56 PM 2551 views 5 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Six years ago I found the Lumber Jocks website. Since then I have posted 100 projects, built several hundred boxes, taken thousands of pictures, and heard from woodworkers from around the world. What a wonderful age we live in. It is your viewing and especially your comments that have kept me at it. Thank you one and all.

Pictured: This is a jewelry keeper (11 3/4” x 7 1/4” x 9” ). The sides are made of highly figured Movingui from Ghana. The top is made from Boiled Swiss Pear from Germany. This box features two CNC carved butterflies (one inside, one outside) that have been hand painted, exotic woods, precisely fitted splines, a three part finger lift, faux feet, a continuous hinge, a sliding tray with cushioned holders for rings and earrings, a cloth lined bottom chamber, and five coats of hand-rubbed finish. In short, it is the whole shooting match of boxes made in my style.

Story: A valued customer who has bought several of my boxes for his family members commissioned this work as a gift for his wife on their wedding anniversary. We wanted something really special, and so I called on some woodworking friends to help.

Carvings: I met Randy at the Wood Show in St. Louis a couple of years back. I sent him some exotic wood pieces he could use in the boxes he sells. As a thank-you, Randy sent me the carved butterfly board that became the top of this box. This angled shot helps to show some of the depth of the carvings.

Hint: If you are going to carve a double sided top, you need to face each carving in the opposite direction so it will be right-side-up when the box is closed and also when it is opened.

Painting: Bob is a gifted carver, but he also uses colors in his work. A few months back he and I worked together to create an urn that I posted on this site. Bob agreed to color the carvings as a thank-you for the urn work. To color these carvings Bob used very fine-tipped Sharpie pens. It let him do the fine work on the antennae and the outline of the butterfly itself. We found that the Minwax Tung Oil and the Minwax Polyurethane that I use as a finish do not effect the Sharpie ink. So I could just apply finish right over the colors, and use 0000 steel wool between coats.

Woods: On a site like Lumber Jocks I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the wonderful woods used in this box.

Movingui with this much figure is found in only one in several thousand trees. Here’s a new word for your Lumber Jock vocabulary… “Chatoyance.” It comes to English from a French phrase meaning “cat’s eyes.” The Movingui in this box exhibits wonderful chatoyance. It seems to shimmer like a holographic image. There is no dye involved just a clear finish. Movingui like this is magical as you move it in sunlight.

Boiled Swiss Pear used in the top and corner splines is boiled to bring out the pinkish tones in the wood. So how do you boil a huge log? Many veneer companies have a tank that will allow them to boil the whole trunk of a tree. Usually it is a large, long concrete trough of water with steam pipes running along the bottom. (Think of a crude swimming pool for logs.) The idea is to soften a hardwood tree so it can be sliced thinly into veneer. I have often seen 10 or 12 logs stacked into a water-filled, steam heated trough. Usually there is a heavy insulated tarp thrown over the logs and trough and the steam is pumped in for several days.

The process of boiling or cooking Swiss Pear changes the light amber pear wood into this pinkish-colored wood. As you can imagine such a process and such wood is extremely expensive. Again, it is nice to have friends who are willing to help out with that.

Summary: This is the kind of project that I love to do. A box like this can only be crafted because several artisans have joined together to make something that no one of us could make working separately. When I look at 18th century furniture found in California’s Getty Museum, I see this same co-operative concept. Loggers, sawyers, carvers, veneerers, metal casters, finishers, designers and a host of others came together to create wonderful woodwork. It also took a village to build this box. What fun for me.

Keep boxing and keep posting. I have.

-- Big Al in IN

45 comments so far

View JPJ's profile


821 posts in 4078 days

#1 posted 03-14-2018 12:31 AM


View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2970 posts in 2521 days

#2 posted 03-14-2018 12:44 AM

Too beautiful for words…

-- Mark

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10284 posts in 2040 days

#3 posted 03-14-2018 12:48 AM

That’s a pretty one, Al. Your customer and wife should love it. You and Bob and Randy did a heck of a job.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View jbschutz's profile


622 posts in 4150 days

#4 posted 03-14-2018 01:09 AM

Al, beautiful box and a great story.

-- jbschutz

View Billfish's profile


156 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 03-14-2018 01:17 AM

nice job on the box congratulations on 100 projects posted

View Jerry's profile


3577 posts in 3106 days

#6 posted 03-14-2018 01:30 AM

That’s a real beauty Al!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Joe's profile


581 posts in 2545 days

#7 posted 03-14-2018 02:11 AM

Thats spectacular, and to think your still making boxes after turning 100. I hope I can find my house when I get that old, let alone building magnificent boxes. Congratulations Box Master you just get better with age! Or was it number of projects, oh well doesn’t matter their both phenomenal. Take Care My Friend!

-- CurleyJoe, "You only learn from your mistakes"

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4256 days

#8 posted 03-14-2018 03:00 AM

Congrats on the milestone Al.
You contribute a lot to the site.
... nice box, as usual …

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9621 posts in 2171 days

#9 posted 03-14-2018 03:09 AM

GRATZ on your 100th box …and what a wonderful box it is …..could be your best one ever ….GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4301 days

#10 posted 03-14-2018 03:11 AM

Outskushi desu Al San! Looking good. I’m waaaaaay behind LOL! Like the evolution.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3726 days

#11 posted 03-14-2018 03:47 AM

Replies to Comments:

JPJ, thanks. Looks like it is time to post some projects. Its fun.

Mark, thanks for the compliment. I really liked your walnut bowl turning.

Dave, thanks. In this tournament, I feel like I do have some all-stars on my team. It is fun to work with others to accomplish projects as a group effort.

JB, thanks for commenting on the story. I see you are over 100 as well. Nice work.

Bill, I liked the view of your work at a craft fair. Hope you did well.

Jerry, thanks. Your box with legs is a great design.

Joe, it is always fun to read your comments. If I lived to be 100 I would be lucky to be able to find my tale end. Get to work and make some boxes.

Paul, that is high praise coming from someone like you who has added so much for so long on this site.

Tony, in many ways this is my best box. It showcases the work of others as well. That is what I really like.

Doc, one step at a time, Grasshopper. Thanks for the shout out on the spline jig.

-- Big Al in IN

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

411 posts in 2108 days

#12 posted 03-14-2018 04:48 AM

Always enjoy your projects.
Very nice.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

119 posts in 2762 days

#13 posted 03-14-2018 10:12 AM

Pretty boxes!

Do you get a quantity discount on your round-over bits? Looks like you’ve gone through a few ;)

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4840 posts in 3408 days

#14 posted 03-14-2018 10:42 AM

Once again, nice work.

-- Petey

View Diego Cassels's profile

Diego Cassels

242 posts in 1540 days

#15 posted 03-14-2018 11:01 AM

Wow. Such a attention to detail, color and wood. All that with the knowledge of wood.
Keep showing us the north!

-- Diego Cassels

showing 1 through 15 of 45 comments

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