7-grain box

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Project by Douglas Bordner posted 2561 days ago 3502 views 8 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Box is made with a spalted maple slab top, hinged into side walls with brass dowels. Variably spaced box joints with tiger maple and walnut side walls. The bottom is a glue up of bird’s eye maple, walnut and ebony. Interior lined with Spanish cedar. The lift knob is end-grained turned black palm. Finish is Behlen’s Master Gel varnish.

New images added 10/03/09, with the aid of a new home-made light box.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

30 comments so far

View Don's profile


2599 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 2561 days ago

Douglas, this is one beautiful box, and I just love small boxes!

You’ve done a superb job of designing and constructing an elegant piece. Very nice work.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 2592 days

#2 posted 2561 days ago

So cool – I love that the front and top blend together so well, as if the clear (unspalted) tiger maple was a part of the same log the spalted maple board came from!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile


14362 posts in 2661 days

#3 posted 2561 days ago

I really like your box Douglas. I like the use of the different species of wood – like a surprise around every corner. The craftsmanship and finish is excellent, thanks for sharing.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2756 days

#4 posted 2561 days ago

this is beautiful, Douglas!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View furnitologist's profile


198 posts in 2609 days

#5 posted 2561 days ago

Hey Doug….......that’s a pretty box. Love the spalted maple top picking up the walnut fingers.


What’s turning Black Palm like? Is it dry? or Tight?.....can you compare it to another wood?

Very COOL!!!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 2842 days

#6 posted 2561 days ago

Have’nt seen any spalting in a long time, at least since I’ve been sick. Beautiful job Doug, very very nice. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View PanamaJack's profile


4469 posts in 2673 days

#7 posted 2561 days ago

Just a great job done on this piece Doug. Awesome.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View TomFran's profile


2940 posts in 2590 days

#8 posted 2561 days ago

Beautiful work Doug! Thanks for sharing your construction details.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3960 posts in 2659 days

#9 posted 2561 days ago

Thanks all for your positive comments.

Neil – Black palm is not like any thing else I’ve turned. Very splintery and dry, no glorious curls coming off the skew.
I have turned a couple of pens on end-grain to get the “eyes” to show, but as I have only been able to get 2×2x15” blanks I had to laminate with ebony spacers between sections to get the length needed for pen blanks. It absolutely needed to be trimmed or rasped into round before turning to avoid huge chunks becoming airborne. Turned with the grain it’s not horrible, but the look I was after was to have the look down into the end of the fibro-vascular bundles. The pen looks like guinea-fowl feathers. I looked around for one I made, and have had no luck finding it.
Now I’ll have to give it a go again, and I’ll post a pen when I’m done. If it blows out badly I will take a shot on the lathe. Definitely face shield work.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2682 days

#10 posted 2561 days ago

Wow….very cool Doug. I too think you pulled of some magic with the spalted top matching the tiger maple. Great design.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3960 posts in 2659 days

#11 posted 2561 days ago

Once again the magic of serendipity in the shop. Gotta love wood and woodworking!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15639 posts in 2814 days

#12 posted 2561 days ago

I love it, Doug. I’m a big fan of spalting (as anyone knows if they check out my projects).

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

View scottb's profile


3647 posts in 2923 days

#13 posted 2561 days ago

Very cool – looks great. Seven grains – how wholesome! ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View DocK16's profile


1139 posts in 2682 days

#14 posted 2557 days ago

Have gone back and admired all your box projects, yeah I have an affinity for small boxes too. I have built several before becoming an LJ, gave them away before the digital camera became a household thing. Looking at yours makes me want to go back and do a few. I always had trouble getting the lids to align well after puting the hinges on; yours seem to fit perfect; any tips. It looks like the double dove tails and double box joints are the work of an incra jig or similar tool. You haven’t mentioned the method in your write-up.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2910 days

#15 posted 2557 days ago

Great box!

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