Spalted Maple & Mahogany dovetail box

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Project by Dan posted 10-21-2010 06:55 PM 4583 views 5 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First off I want to thank all the very talented box makers on this web site. Seeing all the different and unique box’s on this site is what inspired me to try my hand at making boxes. Before seeing all of your boxes I had never considered the idea of using contrasting woods and exotic lumber. I have built about a dozen or so boxes and each one gets a little bit better and closer to perfectly square! :)

This project began at my dads house. He had some big maple logs outside that he had been using for firewood. We discovered that some of the bigger logs had spalted so we decided to mill then into some lumber. The logs were to big for the bandsaw so we used a chain saw to rip the log to some square slabs. Then they were run through the jointer and then re-sawed on the bandsaw. In the end we were left with some very nice looking spalted maple boards.

After drying indoors for a while I decided to go to work on this box. The box is a rather simple and basic design and it only took a few hours to make. I cut the dovetails using my router and Leigh dovetail jig. I cut a small rabbit on the bottom of the boards to fit a piece of hardboard for the bottom. Other then the hardboard bottom the box is made from just 5 small pieces. Two pieces of Mahogany and 3 of the spalted maple boards. The lid was made from the best looking spalted piece and has two small rabbits cut on the end. The lid just sits on the top and drops into the box slightly. I chamfered the top of the box and the lid with a block plane and to finish the box I used spray polyurethane. The picture was taken after the first coat.

I have a good amount of spalted maple left so there will be more boxes like this to come.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

19 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#1 posted 10-21-2010 06:58 PM

I adore spalted maple, and that touch of mahogany sets it off beautifully.

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

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3213 days

#2 posted 10-21-2010 07:05 PM

Nice work Dan love the maple!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 3847 days

#3 posted 10-21-2010 07:06 PM

Great combination of woods. That bold spalting really makes the Mahogany carry the whole appearance.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2905 days

#4 posted 10-21-2010 07:35 PM

Thanks! I was lucky to get a real nice piece for the lid. I love the spalted maple wood and will be busy using up the rest of it.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 2811 days

#5 posted 10-21-2010 08:34 PM

VERY nice piece. Good job!

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3457 days

#6 posted 10-21-2010 08:34 PM

that is some of the most beautiful maple I have ever seen…
really really nice work, Dan (and that cute little guy in your avatar isn’t bad either!)

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2857 days

#7 posted 10-21-2010 08:35 PM

Lucky indeed, gorgeous spalting on that lid!

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View mcoyfrog's profile


4145 posts in 3619 days

#8 posted 10-21-2010 08:47 PM

Great job, you did well….

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3061 days

#9 posted 10-21-2010 09:33 PM

Nice spalting. I like a bit of spalting. Natural pattern. Good box.

Of course you realise you’ve done it now. Boxes are addictive. Not as bad as cutting boards, true, but all the same…...

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View cwdance1's profile


1158 posts in 3283 days

#10 posted 10-21-2010 10:15 PM

Wonderful wood, great job.

View Triumph1's profile


891 posts in 3104 days

#11 posted 10-22-2010 12:19 AM

Ahhh…from firewood to a great box…you can’t beat thet. Great find on the spalted maple….definitely a fan of that. Really great job on the dovetails also!

As Martyn stated…beware..I got hooked on box making and cannot stop!

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3470 days

#12 posted 10-22-2010 12:31 AM

Looks like lumber jocks has another great box maker. Well done.

View bamasawduster's profile


321 posts in 3618 days

#13 posted 10-22-2010 12:31 AM

Got some spalted maple drying and can’t wait to try my hand. Hope mine turn out half as good as yours did. Beautiful box!

-- Gary, Huntsville. Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 2938 days

#14 posted 10-22-2010 01:45 AM

Very nice looking Box! I love it great find on that spalted wood.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3757 days

#15 posted 10-22-2010 02:53 AM

I normally am not a big fan of spalted maple but your box may have changed my mind. At first I thought there was a drawing on the box top, in the first picture – looked like a pencil sketch of a a rockbound coast.

Very nice contrast between the mahogany and the spalted maple. A very nice box that you must be very proud of.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

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