Cuban Mahogany Box

  • Advertise with us
Project by CharlieM1958 posted 1880 days ago 1531 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


557 posts in 1918 days

#1 posted 1880 days ago

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


819 posts in 2298 days

#2 posted 1880 days ago

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

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

View trifern's profile


8132 posts in 2267 days

#3 posted 1880 days ago

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


10262 posts in 2488 days

#4 posted 1880 days ago

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


34796 posts in 2900 days

#5 posted 1880 days ago

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 †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2321 days

#6 posted 1880 days ago

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


15544 posts in 2718 days

#7 posted 1880 days ago

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


13335 posts in 2172 days

#8 posted 1879 days ago

Thats a nice box.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View griff's profile


1206 posts in 2261 days

#9 posted 1879 days ago

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


137 posts in 1897 days

#10 posted 1879 days ago

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

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 2000 days

#11 posted 1879 days ago

Great story and very nice box.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14397 posts in 2175 days

#12 posted 1879 days ago

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


2129 posts in 2213 days

#13 posted 1879 days ago

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


1680 posts in 2339 days

#14 posted 1879 days ago

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". (my funny blog)

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 1941 days

#15 posted 1879 days ago

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

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase