Boxguy Cracks Up

  • Advertise with us
Project by Boxguy posted 05-21-2018 11:56 AM 2694 views 4 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured is a simple keeper box (11” L x 5” H x 6 1/2” W) with quarter-sawn White Oak sides and a Redwood burl top and corner splines.

The top was created by spliltting a thick piece of bureled redwood in two and then one of the halves was flipped over. The live edge was then butted together in the dado made in the sides of the lid. The sides of the box serve to frame and strengthen the Redwood burl.

As many of you know, it is difficult to capture the beauty of the grain in wood with a camera. So I was surprised how well this close up photo of the top turned out. Steadying my camera on a tripod really makes the photos clearer.

Story: I have been fascinated by the views of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano this past few weeks as molten lava flows from cracks in the earth’s crust It occurred to me that I could create an effect like those cracks by butting two sides of a live edge together. Redwood burl has a really wonderful grain and even a beautiful live edge pattern. (I did sand down the sharpest spikes in the live edge.) To stabilize the redwood I put about 20 coats of finish on the two Redwood pieces. It really soaked up the finish. I kept this Redwood on my finish table and every time I coated some other project I would put the last of the finish on this Redwood piece.

I have notified the Center for Disease Control. It seems that Spline Fever is spreading and there is an outbreak now in Australia.

LJ Rob has succumbed to this dreaded disease and so I am including this close-up of the corner of this box for Rob and Tooch hoping that just seeing splines might help build up an immunity so they won’t feel so compelled to build boxes with spllnes.

Should Spline Fever break out in a shop near you be sure to contact Lumber Jocks immediately and include a photo of your splines to help other build up their immunity. Remember, “a spline is a terrible thing to waste.”

Some tutorials on installing splines:

Making splines with a simple jig:
Adding splines to a box:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

35 comments so far

View balidoug's profile


535 posts in 3811 days

#1 posted 05-21-2018 12:00 PM

beautiful piece of wood, on a hallmark design. Nice job, BG

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Bricofleur's profile


1482 posts in 4526 days

#2 posted 05-21-2018 12:07 PM

Wow ! Beautiful box. You really know how to use your material.


-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

549 posts in 5019 days

#3 posted 05-21-2018 12:11 PM

wow that box is beautiful

-- Joe, Ga

View horky's profile


334 posts in 4263 days

#4 posted 05-21-2018 01:03 PM

that top is awesome. Great job.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4199 days

#5 posted 05-21-2018 01:26 PM

This box is so outstanding and finely done. It displays your wonderful craftsmanship quite beautifully. Nice work, Al!

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4910 days

#6 posted 05-21-2018 01:28 PM

Very Cool Al looks great and creative thinking, nice work.


View wood2art's profile


34 posts in 4180 days

#7 posted 05-21-2018 01:34 PM

Very nice use of that piece of burl. Your craftsmanship is top notch.

-- Jim, Minnesota

View bushmaster's profile


4164 posts in 3615 days

#8 posted 05-21-2018 01:40 PM

Nice box and story.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8446 posts in 4686 days

#9 posted 05-21-2018 02:01 PM

It occurred to me that I could create an effect like those cracks by butting two sides of a live edge together.

Wow! Love this box! So Al I see you are thinking outside the box again. I love this idea butting two sides together to create the rough void on this box. This opens up so many new doors for all of us to explore. I love the look of those open voids. Your great idea’s come from brilliant thinking. Very Nice work!

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

9311 posts in 1915 days

#10 posted 05-21-2018 02:13 PM

Beautiful work, Al!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View CalgaryBill's profile


97 posts in 5003 days

#11 posted 05-21-2018 02:43 PM

That is one beautiful piece of work! The simplicity of the White Oak really serves to set off the extreme beauty of the Redwood burl. It’s a very nice combination of materials. You mention 20 coats of finish. Did you use any dye at all or it that the natural colour of the burl? Great job!

-- Calgary Bill

View Billfish's profile


156 posts in 2905 days

#12 posted 05-21-2018 02:56 PM

Beautiful job Al great use of a piece of burl


View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

526 posts in 3880 days

#13 posted 05-21-2018 03:33 PM

Beautiful color and clean looking splines…very nice!

View mel52's profile


2302 posts in 1598 days

#14 posted 05-21-2018 03:39 PM

Great looking box, and the top is spectacular. Great job !!!!!!!

-- MEL, Kansas

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3600 days

#15 posted 05-21-2018 04:23 PM

Replies to Comments:

Doug, thanks for the comment. You know how it is…there is some wood that you just can’t throw a way. You just have to find a way to use it.

Serg, thanks for the comment I do try to use the wonderful scraps that come my way in any way I can.

Horkey, Redwood burls are too precious and beautiful not to find some way to use every scrap.

Charles, thanks for the kind words about craftsmanship and for noticing the subtle things.

Jim, thanks. I don’t know if it is creative thinking exactly. Sometimes the wood tells me what to do. Sometimes I tell the wood what to do. This project was a little of each. Sounds weird, but its true in my shop.

Minnesota Jim, Craftsmanship is a way I can honor the beauty of these woods.

Brian, thanks for the nice comment on the story. Isn’t it strange how a number of ideas seem to just float around in your mind and then they come together in some odd way?

Tony, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Necessity is ever the mother of invention. I was determined to find a way to make this small thick scrap into a top. It is such beautiful wood.

Thanks, Dave. Your box swap project was certainly a success. I enjoyed seeing the creative ways LJs used wood. Thanks for doing that.

Bill, this is the natural color of the woods. As a point of pride, I never use dyes. Aren’t we woodworkers blessed to be able to peer into the souls of trees and see the beauty Nature has hidden there? My boxes are a way of sharing that natural beauty with others.

Billfish, thanks. Isn’t it nice to find this beauty in wood and share it with others. I like to think it is a way of extending the lives of these wonderful trees.

Tom, thanks for the comment about the splines. The secret is to get the thickness of the splines to be just slightly smaller than the spline groove. I like to size them so they just slip back and forth in the groove. I also try to use them on the same day that I size them since wood has a way of changing with moisture.

Mel, thanks for the nice comment about the look of this box. I have to give credit to Nature for giving us woodworkers such wonderful material to work with. Before the world was made of iron and steel, it was made of oak and stone.

-- Big Al in IN

showing 1 through 15 of 35 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics