A Little Piece of Ireland, A Little Piece of Texas

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 09-29-2018 02:12 PM 1944 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


750 posts in 1694 days

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

Very nice. Thanks for the update.

-- Sawdust Maker

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8402 posts in 1787 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

358 posts in 3635 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


6743 posts in 3341 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


7702 posts in 4442 days

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

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

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View dalepage's profile


387 posts in 1915 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


1540 posts in 3027 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


4445 posts in 3422 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

7413 posts in 1656 days

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

Great looking box. Nice job!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View JohnMcClure's profile


1249 posts in 1715 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


7633 posts in 1648 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


3347 posts in 3024 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


7875 posts in 3278 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 4669 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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