Jatoba with a bloodwood heart

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Project by Ossian posted 09-17-2010 05:05 PM 2705 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The spousal unit and I were cruising the lumber store, looking at wood-porn and just having a nice time. The budget was very tight, so we didn’t expect to take anything home…but there was this pile of flooring remnants. Three-foot-long pieces of a very unimpressive looking wood, sort of muddy. Never heard of it before; “jatoba”. They were $1.50 per, so we picked up four and took ‘em home. They still looked muddy, though, so I didn’t plan to do much with them.

Then I got my bandsaw fence. I needed to test out my resawing capabilities on something, and there was that pile of jatoba. I figured I’d turn one of the pieces to scrap, but discovered that a good fence makes for very nicely resawn lumber. I now had some 3/8” slabs of this jatoba stuff. I figured I’d lay it into the miter box and make a small box, just for the joy of it.

It worked out pretty nicely, but 3/8” was too small for the barrel hinges I had on hand. Remembering my resaw trick, I found a 12” piece of bloodwood in my scrap bin and turned it into thin stock, and made a built up lip. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for the top, so I started the sanding on the carcase.

That’s when I found out what the jatoba stuff was all about. Brazilian cherry, jatoba, that stuff is PRETTY. That’s also when I found out that bloodwood looks almost guilded when it’s polished up. This box is where I learned the word “chatoyance”, and found out that I absolutely love it beyond all wood qualities (except smell—love the smell of wood).

I had spent an ungodly amount of cash on a slab of Mexican cocobolo, and decided that this serendipitous box rated a part of that, so plopped a piece in the top.

I am moderately in love with this one. It has a nice dense feel, lovely thin walls, and the bloodwood (just for a change) didn’t savage me too badly.


8 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5549 days

#1 posted 09-17-2010 06:27 PM


-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4265 days

#2 posted 09-17-2010 07:36 PM

Very nice!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Ossian's profile


25 posts in 4602 days

#3 posted 09-17-2010 08:57 PM

Thank you! I was amazingly pleased, given that I thought I was starting with trash wood, and was deliberately making scrap out of it just to test my bandsaw.


View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5423 days

#4 posted 09-18-2010 12:44 AM

A classic box. Really nice and clean. The wood turned out beautiful too. Great piece Ossian!

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View dub560's profile


632 posts in 4244 days

#5 posted 09-18-2010 12:52 AM

nice work

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Michael S.'s profile

Michael S.

15 posts in 4937 days

#6 posted 09-18-2010 01:44 AM

Some of the best things I’ve made have been the result of serendipity in which wood I use, which finish, etc. I love the adventure and wood is a very forgiving media = lots of “design opportunities” along the way. Nice work!!

-- Michael in Texas

View Ossian's profile


25 posts in 4602 days

#7 posted 09-18-2010 07:50 AM

About the “forgiving media” ... I’ve a blacksmith friend who won’t work with wood at all; he says that if he makes an error working with metal he just melt it down and starts over. He wants to know how to do that with wood, and then he’ll change over.

He’s also the friend that advises me, when I have a sticky design problem, to heat it up and hit it harder with a larger hammer. Smiths must be watched closely in the shop, I feel.


View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4692 days

#8 posted 09-18-2010 11:02 AM

Hey Ossian,
Real sweet job…well done.

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