A Little Piece of Ireland, A Little Piece of Texas

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 09-29-2018 02:12 PM 1609 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The light-colored wood of this box is quartersawn Sycamore Maple. I cut it from a piece of firewood which I retrieved from a wedding chapel in Ireland at a friend’s wedding. The box is a gift for said friend.
The dark-colored wood is American Cherry. I cut it from a tree that washed up by the San Jacinto river in Montgomery County, TX, when the river overflowed its banks during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The quartersawn grain of the sycamore is stunning. It’s hard to capture the chatoyance in pictures. When I first planed the firewood chunk, I was disappointed by how boring the grain looked – featureless and white. But quartersawing brought out all the character, at the expense of yield – but I got just enough to make the box.
Finish is two coats of BLO, two coats shellac, and a quick rub with wax.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

14 comments so far

View LittleShaver's profile


628 posts in 1258 days

#1 posted 09-29-2018 02:48 PM

Very nice. Thanks for the update.

-- Sawdust Maker

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


6966 posts in 1351 days

#2 posted 09-29-2018 03:08 PM

WOW that QSM really pops … GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

356 posts in 3200 days

#3 posted 09-29-2018 03:10 PM

Great job, John. Thanks for updating me.
That wood is stunning—and it certainly has a history!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View ralbuck's profile


6380 posts in 2905 days

#4 posted 09-29-2018 05:07 PM

A very impressive work from all aspects, story, design and actual construction too!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View oldnovice's profile


7522 posts in 4007 days

#5 posted 09-29-2018 05:52 PM

Very nice project, story, and details.
The wood combination is perfect!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View dalepage's profile


385 posts in 1480 days

#6 posted 09-29-2018 09:35 PM

Thanks for such an informative and detailed post. I’ve cut some sycamore and agree about the striking grain. I’ve seen it referred to as “American lacewood.”

-- Dale

View Kazooman's profile


1426 posts in 2591 days

#7 posted 09-29-2018 10:32 PM

Your gift box certainly turned out great. Your friends will cherish the piece for its beautiful craftsmanship and especially because of the story behind the provenance of the wood. Such a lucky find in the firewood pile! Add to that the story behind the piece of cherry! Two pieces of wood seemingly destined for oblivion either by fire or by flood, rescued and converted into a lasting treasure. Well done!

View EarlS's profile


3490 posts in 2987 days

#8 posted 09-30-2018 12:33 AM

Good looking box. I’m like your final leg detail. Notching the legs to support the box is a brilliant touch. You made a piece of art from scraps. Well done!!

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4592 posts in 1221 days

#9 posted 09-30-2018 12:55 AM

Great looking box. Nice job!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View JohnMcClure's profile


883 posts in 1279 days

#10 posted 09-30-2018 01:28 AM

Thank you all for the kind comments. I hope to get my hands on more sycamore one of these days, I love the look of it. I should also have thanked the LJs who helped me identify the wood, as well as those who provided feedback on the initial box design (specifically the lid pull) in the forums!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View therealSteveN's profile


4902 posts in 1213 days

#11 posted 09-30-2018 05:09 AM

Beautiful wood, and very nice looking work, a great combination. I like those legs too.

Thanks for posting, and Congrats on your 3.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Peteybadboy's profile


1598 posts in 2589 days

#12 posted 09-30-2018 10:05 AM

Love the story! I have a mahogany, and Oak tree from hurricane Irma. Nice box & gift.

-- Petey

View robscastle's profile


6735 posts in 2843 days

#13 posted 09-30-2018 10:20 AM

A very clever and thought out design certainly refelected well in the final finish.
Amazing what can be created by a “PU find”

No doubt that it will be most appreciated by the new owner.

-- Regards Rob

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4233 days

#14 posted 10-03-2018 07:28 PM

Very nice, great work.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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