Beech wood box with lid, finished

06 Dec 2015

Finished beechwood box

Scavenged Beechwood project, conclusion

After a long break, I checked the piece to see how the glue had done. The answer is, not great–there were still large voids deeper into the cracks, so I didn’t think my chances were good for a full repair with just glue and sawdust.

I decided, since I haven’t turned anything in a couple months, that I’d just be extra-cautious and continue making the box, aware of the added chance that the box would shatter while on the lathe, launching wood fragments all over the room. I wore a full face-shield and heavy denim apron for all of this project, even the finishing steps of sanding and polishing.

Here are some images of the bowl as it got finished:

The rough box, chucked up Beginning to add oil to the piece Super-useful new fingered chuck

Aesthetically, this box is terrible - the proportions are all wrong, the lid fits too loosely, and the checking is really unattractive. I also left the box wall very thick - with a better piece of stock I’d easily go to half the thickness you see here, or more. But this box is more about getting more experience working with green wood - felling, making blanks, curing, etc.

For this box I also kept the speed up for the entire process–as soon as the blank was radially symmetrical, I sped the lathe up three steps (which is quite fast compared to what I’ve done over the last year or so) and was delighted to see my work go much faster as well as an improvement in the surface quality of my cuts. Installing a new carbide bit in my Easy Wood Tools Mid-size Finisher probably helped with surface quality as well.

You can see the tear-out on the bottom surface of the box

I’d never turned a piece that was concentric with the grain before - that is, taking a whole (small-diameter) log segment as your piece, with the “eye” of the tree rings at the center of the stock. I didn’t notice much difference along the radius of the piece, in terms of ease-of-cut, but getting a flat, nice bottom box surface was challenging because it was essentially all end-grain. This was also the first piece on which I got to use my awesome fingered chuck, which makes the final steps of bowl- and box-making much easier by gently gripping the piece without marring.

Next up for the lathe are a couple of exciting projects using wood I bought over Thanksgiving at a great NH lumberyard called Goose Bay near Chichester - rows upon rows of inexpensive, beautiful stock. Plus, they specialize in curly maple, which is one of my favorite woods to make bowls out of.

Published on 06 Dec 2015