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The Mystery Box

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Project by BrentB posted 06-06-2016 04:25 PM 760 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a finished project so I guess it qualifies. It’s a small hinged box that is 4×3x2. I finished it with Shellac using the French Polishing technique. My problem is that I have no idea what kind of wood it is.

I’ve never seen this type of wood before and I’ve never seen it since. I was visiting my brother and his family in Tyler Texas. He has a HUGE back yard and the back third of the property is all forest, shrubs and brush. It’s mostly Pine trees along with various smaller unknown trees, shrubs and vines. We were walking around back there and noticed a strange looking branch on the ground that was about 12 inches in diameter at its largest point. We had no idea how long it might have been there.

We took the branch in his shop and cross-cut the smaller end of the branch. We were amazed by the bright yellow color and the grain that looks like feathers or sea shells.

My brother let me keep the branch so I took it home with me and started re-sawing. There wasn’t much of it that was usable. I was so excited about what I was seeing I had to make a box so I could preserve what we found and show off the beauty of each slice. At the time I had just started experimenting making boxes. Here is another photo of the box under construction and unfinished.

In hindsight I wish I had taken more photos. My brother told me he thought it was ‘Water-Something’. I don’t remember what he said and now he doesn’t remember either. He was just guessing anyway. Since then we’ve search for more and can’t find another example. I’ve looked in the LJ identification forums and various websites and haven’t found anything close. I have a feeling it’s some type of large shrub and probably some deformity or diseased portion of said shrub.

If you’ve reviewed any of my other projects you know I give away everything I make. This is the only box I’ve kept simply because it’s so unusual and I don’t know if I’ll ever find this type of wood again. If anyone knows what it is I’d sure appreciate you sharing. This has been a complete mystery to me for a long time and it’s been driving me nuts.

Thanks for your help!!

-- Brent, Johnson County Texas......Resawing is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're gonna get.





14 comments so far

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

8389 posts in 2261 days


#1 posted 06-06-2016 05:40 PM

This wood looks realy interesting. You keep developing your box style very well.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Andy's profile

Andy

205 posts in 221 days


#2 posted 06-06-2016 06:14 PM

Thats a cool box. Could it be water oak? The rays are pretty pronounced in that wood as oaks always are.

-- Andy Smith https://www.etsy.com/shop/xrayhardwoods

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2107 posts in 1661 days


#3 posted 06-06-2016 06:35 PM

Brent, I can’t ID the wood, but you did a nice job of showing it off and making a useful object of what you had to work with. Beautiful stuff, whatever it is.

-- Big Al in IN

View BrentB's profile

BrentB

49 posts in 140 days


#4 posted 06-06-2016 08:29 PM

Thanks guys. And Andy, I’ll ask my brother if he recalls seeing any acorns back there.

-- Brent, Johnson County Texas......Resawing is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're gonna get.

View bosum3919's profile

bosum3919

338 posts in 1013 days


#5 posted 06-06-2016 09:04 PM

Brent, what is the density of this wood? Is it a hard, medium or a softwood? The yellow color you refer to is an indicator, but I won’t hazard a guess without knowing a little more about the density. Water oak in East Texas is a catchall for a lot of different species of trash oak. With the yellow color I see here, I am not leaning toward it being an oak.

All of that aside, I do like the way you have used the knots and grain to give this box some really good character.

-- Bob

View BrentB's profile

BrentB

49 posts in 140 days


#6 posted 06-06-2016 09:28 PM



Brent, what is the density of this wood? Is it a hard, medium or a softwood?

- bosum3919

Thanks Bob. It’s certainly not soft. I’m leaning more towards hard versus medium.

-- Brent, Johnson County Texas......Resawing is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're gonna get.

View bosum3919's profile

bosum3919

338 posts in 1013 days


#7 posted 06-06-2016 09:38 PM

Well, that certainly rules out my first guess. Even Texas A&M states that it is a special science to identify the type of tree from the wood alone. My guess, and it is just that, is some type of Hackberry. Blackie, who is from the Austin area and posts on here quite often uses a lot of Hackberry in his projects and he would certainly know better than me. Short of that, being yellow and hard leaves me stumped at the moment and I do pride myself on knowing East Texas trees. I will let you know if I come up with another idea.

-- Bob

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2503 posts in 1650 days


#8 posted 06-06-2016 09:58 PM

Brent, you could send a sample here if you have one. HTH

-- Art

View BrentB's profile

BrentB

49 posts in 140 days


#9 posted 06-06-2016 10:03 PM

Thanks again Bob. And thank you too Art. If I don’t hear from someone who is positive about what it might be I just might send them a sample. I kept every single scrap piece of it.

-- Brent, Johnson County Texas......Resawing is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're gonna get.

View professorwood's profile

professorwood

55 posts in 1018 days


#10 posted 06-07-2016 01:39 AM

Could it be a piece of osage orange?

Great looking box!

-- tsurra

View smitty22's profile

smitty22

694 posts in 2340 days


#11 posted 06-07-2016 02:43 AM

I’m sure not an expert but I think professor is right on, Osage Orange, AKA Bois D’arc in most parts of Tejas. Fresh cuts are usually the bright yellow, then turns brown with age. Based on the tortured figure, must have been a tough life. Bodarc (sic) is used for fence posts a lot.

-- Smitty

View BrentB's profile

BrentB

49 posts in 140 days


#12 posted 06-07-2016 12:11 PM

I’m very familiar with Bodark (Osage Orange) and I’m pretty confident it’s not that. Also, although the cut in the photo is fresh the wood is not. It had been on the ground for quite some time. I have Bodark stock ranging from 1 year old to 276 years old and I’ve never seen this pattern before, but I definitely appreciate the input.

-- Brent, Johnson County Texas......Resawing is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're gonna get.

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1676 posts in 2281 days


#13 posted 06-08-2016 08:52 AM

With that pattern, how about calling it the butterfly box?

Paul

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Josh's profile

Josh

1201 posts in 1963 days


#14 posted 06-09-2016 05:07 AM

Cool story, awesome wood. As a tree nerd, I’d love to know what the species is.

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

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