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Cuban Mahogany Box

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Project by CharlieM1958 posted 02-23-2009 12:13 AM 1658 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Nothing special about this tiny business card holder box except the wood. Unfortunately, the photos don’t do it justice. But there is a story….

A friend of mine (older gentleman) who knows I’m into woodworking, gave me a chunk of Cuban mahogany about 6” x 6” x 7/8”. He told me has had about 40 bf sitting in his attic for the last 30 years, which he bought from another old fellow who was sitting on a huge supply.

It seems this fellow (the original owner) was around back in the day when this species grew wild in a very speciific area of south Florida. A major highway was being constructed, and the last stand of this timber in the U.S. was being clear cut and burned. (This was just post WWII, before much was being done in the way of conservation). So this guy bought an old surplus army halftrack, and followed the road clearing crew around salvaging as many of the logs as he could handle.

This is probably the most exquisite lumber I’ve ever worked with. It’s dense and heavy, but it machines well. Rip a piece and the cut feels smooth as glass. I ripped the chunk into 3 pieces 2” x 6” x 7/8”, then I resawed those 3 pieces into 6 pieces 3/8” thick on the table saw. Resawing exposed a beautiful, multi-colored interior, visible on the underside of the lid. I just can’t describe the wonderful color and texture of this wood. As I said, the photos just don’t capture it.

I gave my friend the box this morning, and told him “Here, I thougt it was time to return that piece of wood you lent me.” He was thrilled. I’m hoping he “lends” me some more. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"





21 comments so far

View firecaster's profile

firecaster

557 posts in 2172 days


#1 posted 02-23-2009 12:23 AM

Wow, what a great story. And what a shame that it’s gone.

At least the American Chestnut was a natural disaster.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Allison's profile

Allison

819 posts in 2552 days


#2 posted 02-23-2009 12:40 AM

Yes, I hope he does lend you some more! Great project as always!
PEACE!!!

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View trifern's profile

trifern

8132 posts in 2521 days


#3 posted 02-23-2009 12:49 AM

Charlie, you are truly the Box Master! I sure would like to have one for my business cards. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2742 days


#4 posted 02-23-2009 01:33 AM

Nice job Charlie.

The wood looks like the Santos Mahogany I used for the sides of my step stool. Maybe it’s the same thing with a different name.

Click for details

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Karson's profile

Karson

34916 posts in 3154 days


#5 posted 02-23-2009 01:43 AM

Charlie A great looking box. Ask you friend for the other guys name and number.

I hate for anyone to hoard all of the lumber.

A nice little box.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2575 days


#6 posted 02-23-2009 01:43 AM

Charlie this is a gorgeous box and a wonderful story to go with it.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View CharlieM1958's profile (online now)

CharlieM1958

15819 posts in 2972 days


#7 posted 02-23-2009 02:40 AM

Thanks, Y’all!

Gary: There is a similarity in appearance to Santos mahogany, but I did some research, and it is a different speicies altogether. Santos grows from Mexico all the way down through South America. Cuban is only found in the Carribbean vicinity. Due to its rarity, Cuban mahogany is not commercially logged anywhere. You can only get it from plantation-raised trees. The Cuban mahogany that used to grow in southern Florida (now completely non-existant) was the most prized variety of all, because the heavy limestone content of the soil made the trees slower-growing and denser than those found in the islands.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2426 days


#8 posted 02-23-2009 03:44 AM

Thats a nice box.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View griff's profile

griff

1207 posts in 2515 days


#9 posted 02-23-2009 03:51 AM

Beautiful little box Charlie, and the story is great. Very good build

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View oldwoodman's profile

oldwoodman

137 posts in 2151 days


#10 posted 02-23-2009 07:27 AM

Stories like yours just prove once again that truth is “more fascinating” than fiction. And the box is gorgeous.

View TraumaJacques's profile

TraumaJacques

433 posts in 2254 days


#11 posted 02-23-2009 07:43 AM

Great story and very nice box.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)

TopamaxSurvivor

15089 posts in 2429 days


#12 posted 02-23-2009 07:47 AM

Great story. Good luck on the treasure acquisition:-) Everytime I see a slash pile, I wonder what treasures are going to waste in there??

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2131 posts in 2467 days


#13 posted 02-23-2009 08:23 AM

Wow, Charlie that wood looks great. Great story too…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View odie's profile

odie

1680 posts in 2593 days


#14 posted 02-23-2009 10:06 AM

You’re not only sexy, but you do great work too.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". http://woodstermangotwood.blogspot.com/ (my funny blog)

View kiwi1969's profile

kiwi1969

609 posts in 2195 days


#15 posted 02-23-2009 11:48 AM

And I bet you will never reveal the location of the rest of the stash, you,ll just bring some out occasionaly to make the rest of us insanely jealous!

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

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