Macadamia nut wood box

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Project by cathyb posted 07-03-2013 03:07 AM 3307 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In addition to Cuban mahogany off cuts, I also have macadamia nut wood that I acquired about 8 years ago as wet two-foot long logs. For those who have never had the misfortune of working with this wood, let me save you some time. It is a bear to work with. It will check, crack, split, practically spit at you if you do anything meaningful in the way of woodworking. If you prevail, you might get a nice little box.
After fighting with this wood for a few days, I finally had a few pieces that were pretty clean. I laminated them to Cuban mahogany, because it is real stable and those woods look great together.
Just when I was praising myself for my progress, I created a little problem for myself. Do you see how the scallop for the base is the same scallop as the top of the side? Yep, that was a miss cut. GEEEZZZZZ…....
My philosophy on woodworking is a mistake is always the step in the right direction. I made the lid out of a one inch thick piece of Cuban mahogany, which is just about the nicest wood for carving that exists in the world (my personal opinion). I used my gouges to sculpt the edges of the four corners and then sanded them to achieve a shape that would match my scalloped edge. Then I took a piece of the macadamia nut and turned a knob on the lathe.
Honestly, I love this little box. It is fair superior to what it would have been without the scalloping.
I encourage anyone to take heart when a little miscue hurls you into a new direction.
Thanks for looking at this gem of box…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii

14 comments so far

View Dave777's profile


303 posts in 5411 days

#1 posted 07-03-2013 03:24 AM

Well done

-- the stone rejected by the builders will become the capstone

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5064 days

#2 posted 07-03-2013 03:34 AM

Lovely and unique despite the altered design.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30662 posts in 3679 days

#3 posted 07-03-2013 03:47 AM

Beautiful work as always

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Gary's profile


9428 posts in 4774 days

#4 posted 07-03-2013 04:00 AM

I will never use wood that spits at me. But I’m glad you did. I like the box

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4585 days

#5 posted 07-03-2013 05:11 AM

Ha ha ha, it doesn’t actually spit, but if it had a mouth, it probably would. It is just frustrating to deal with, but it has the flecks that are seen in leopard wood, silky oak and lacewood. Those woods are just so interesting because of their unique figure. It’s worth the hassle. I have two more that are in the finishing room as we speak. They are completely different. Pictures will be coming one of these days…...

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3609 days

#6 posted 07-03-2013 11:10 AM

Cathy, woodworking errors are like writing poetry. In wood, errors lead us to invent new ways to fix the problem. In poetry the forced conventions of rhythm and rhyme lead us to make word choices we would never make otherwise. What a beautiful poem you have created here…a sonnet with six sides.

-- Big Al in IN

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3166 days

#7 posted 07-03-2013 11:49 AM

Another nice box…regardless of how difficult the wood is to work with. The end result looks great.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4145 days

#8 posted 07-03-2013 12:10 PM

Now that is very spiffy! Wow!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 4822 days

#9 posted 07-03-2013 12:57 PM

Very nice. Great job !!

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View doubleDD's profile


10932 posts in 3384 days

#10 posted 07-03-2013 01:42 PM

Cathy ,another fantastic looking box. You did great with the macadamia nut. I have worked with it a few times and like you said it likes to show crack lines right in front of you. I have the same problem with eucalyptus wood also.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4585 days

#11 posted 07-03-2013 05:02 PM

Thank you all for your support. It is much appreciated…...

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4676 days

#12 posted 07-03-2013 06:49 PM

Whew! Nice work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Hawaiilad's profile


3384 posts in 4362 days

#13 posted 07-03-2013 10:01 PM

Very nice looking box Cathy. I agree that Mac wood can be a bear. Several years ago during a bad wind storm here on the Big Island, a farm close to us lost about 300 trees. Off a few of us went to cut up some trees. No matter how much I seal this stuff, it still will find a way to split. I have about 35 good size cunks that keep right on spliting. I have used some for scrolling work and within a couple weeks the darn piece started to warp. Not sure how long I need to let this wood cure, but so far 3 years is not enough time.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

340 posts in 4420 days

#14 posted 07-04-2013 02:06 AM

You’re right….understanding your woods and getting the feel of where it wants you to go with a cut will bring out its natural beauty. I love the lines Cathy. Congratulations!

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines, Instagram benji reyes

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