Fungus Box

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Project by maplerock posted 08-22-2014 04:43 PM 2231 views 11 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love boxes with unique grains and features. This one is made with maple. It has eye catching designs throughout. The wood is referred to as “Ambrosia Maple.”

Now you might think ambrosia is a type of maple. Maybe even a type of wood… but it’s not. Ambrosia is a beetle that burrows into a tree leaving a trail of color and tiny holes behind.

The color comes from a fungus that enters with the beetle. Sometimes they call it a bark beetle. Whatever the name, he produces some fantastic work with his travels. I recently began this box as a cremation urn or box. When I got it roughed out it occurred to me that people might not like their loved ones remains in a box riddled with holes. After all would you like a salt shaker full of Uncle Bob’s ashes? So I ditched that idea and created this box.
I have tried to bring my box making a step further by paying attention to the little details. My friend Greg that every detail of one’s work must be excellent (sorry Greg, couldn’t remember it all.) So that’s what I’m shooting for.

This box is 12” x 8” x6” and has a matching tray with dividers.
Both have a beige suede lined bottom and brass hinge and chain. It came out pretty well. If everything in this world lines up correctly I hope to sell this box for around $200. Most of my woodworking is done for fun, but I need to get some of my boxes to good homes so I can fund my habit.

So that’s my lesson on the Ambrosia Beetle and the result of his travels. The colors and designs he leaves are among my very favorites!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

16 comments so far

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1842 days

#1 posted 08-22-2014 06:29 PM

beautiful box. You found a beautiful piece of wood and used it very effectively.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2733 days

#2 posted 08-22-2014 06:32 PM

That is a great looking box Jerry. The Ambrosia Maple is some really nice looking wood. I just learned something new about the bug that gives it the grain color it has… Unique how all the bug holes show up in the darker part of the grain…
It is interesting how so many woods are more prevalent and popular in some areas than in others. No lumberyards around here carry it…even with the ease of shipping.
Hope you sell it easily. Are you planning on participating in any more shows? I remember that you and Al were not satisfied with the results of the show yall” did a while back…Persistence pays off…!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21591 posts in 1762 days

#3 posted 08-22-2014 07:37 PM

Great looking boxes.

Mugs made with ambrosia maple are my best sellers.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Boxguy's profile


2123 posts in 1692 days

#4 posted 08-22-2014 10:00 PM

Jerry, this is great work. I like everything about it…the wood, the overall design, the arches at the bottom, the finish, the tray, the dividers, the cloth liners, the way the grain wraps around the box, the proportions. Beautiful stuff. The salt shaker image made me laugh out loud. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View doubleDD's profile


5074 posts in 1467 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 01:07 AM

You can’t beat the beauty of ambrosia lumber. Great job on the build. The splines look like zebra wood.

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

View DanielS's profile


123 posts in 1361 days

#6 posted 08-23-2014 02:19 AM

Thanks for the lesson on the beetles. The arches on the feet are a great touch that makes this box really stand out.

-- Daniel S

View knackonwood's profile


45 posts in 2865 days

#7 posted 08-23-2014 03:15 AM

This is one great looking box. Love the wood/patter/grain/finish. Great job

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1019 days

#8 posted 08-23-2014 04:09 AM

Love the box…design, wood and detail. If you can’t get more than $200 for this box then you must have some mighty poor buyers around you.

We have a local mill about 40 miles from here that mills a lot of this kind of Maple but they call it “Bark Pocket Maple”. Do you think it is the same wood? They don’t sell it for as much as the clear Maple. I guess not everyone sees the beauty of the pockets and staining from the fungus. I gotta get up there soon and pick up some more.

Does this beetle attack other trees and how much is this beetle like the one killing all the pines in the Rockies?

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Bill's profile


404 posts in 1573 days

#9 posted 08-23-2014 10:07 AM

Nicely done box. Ambrosia Maple is one of my favorite woods.

-- Putting the "mental" in experimental since 1973

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1612 days

#10 posted 08-23-2014 11:38 AM

Beautiful! You did an outstanding job matching up the corners. It’s that kind of detail that really takes a box from nice to spectacular!

I really appreciate the ambrosia explanation.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


201 posts in 1597 days

#11 posted 08-23-2014 12:20 PM

just fabulous, love the ambrosia maple

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View mike1950's profile


359 posts in 1223 days

#12 posted 08-23-2014 01:58 PM

Very nice box.

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View maplerock's profile


521 posts in 1224 days

#13 posted 08-23-2014 04:04 PM

Thanks everyone! Your nice words keep me going!

Greg,I don’t think I will do more shows. Of course I’d like to sell boxes, and shows are a way to cut out the middleman, but I HATE the waiting. I am a type A with a capital A. My wife would be happy to sit at a booth all weekend, so maybe we will, with me escaping from time to time.

Al, I don’t have to tell you how instrumental you are in my box building evolution. Not many people have such a helpful and sharing mentor. Thanks for everything.

Dave, those splines are Zebrawood. Another of my favorites. Thanks!

OldWrangler, I don’t know, but I’d bet it is the same type of wood. Maybe a different variety, but the same effect. I bought mine in Virginia and brought it home in suitcases. I would say it is similar to Monte’s beetle kill pine, but I don’t think these guys kill the trees. I am not sure though.

I appreciate all of your comments very much.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Tooch's profile


1304 posts in 1300 days

#14 posted 08-25-2014 06:29 PM

beautiful box Jerry, the grain pattern on that wood is awesome.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2228 days

#15 posted 08-30-2014 12:17 PM

It is a beautiful site.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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