Birch boxes - from firewood logs

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Project by RS Woodworks posted 715 days ago 2342 views 17 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made these boxes as a recent tribute to the passing of my wife’s grandfather. The three boxes were each given to his kids, my wife’s father, aunt, and uncle. I wanted to create something special for each of them to help remember him by. They were gifted to them yesterday on a special day to remember Grandpa, and they were very well received.

The wood was milled from two of a stack of short logs that were cut from an old birch tree on the uncle’s property. Grandpa had the wood stacked at his place intending to use it as camp fire wood. When I saw the birch, I knew that it had some potential, and reluctantly picked an appropriate time after his passing to inquire about it. I immediately knew that one of the logs had some spalting in it, but I didn’t know how much or if it was still good wood until I began to cut it up. I also milled one other log into boards. From the two logs I created these three boxes. I used Peruvian walnut (aka Nogal) for accents on two of the boxes and Purpleheart as an accent on the box for auntie. While the designs are fairly straight forward the wood, especially the spalted birch I chose for the tops, is spectacular. A good soaking of Danish oil and a buffing with paste wax gives these boxes their natural looking and satin feeling finish.

I’m very happy with how these boxes turned out and the recipients were greatful. I hope that they will help serve as a memory for my wifes grandfather for many years.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

17 comments so far

View Gary's profile


6998 posts in 2035 days

#1 posted 715 days ago

Ryan, those boxes are fantastic. I’m sure they all appreciated what you did for them That wood is just beautiful. Wish I could find that kind of stuff.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Dusty56's profile


11639 posts in 2290 days

#2 posted 715 days ago

I had to put these into my favorites : ) Very nicely made and finished.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Woodenwizard's profile (online now)


1057 posts in 1657 days

#3 posted 715 days ago

Great boxes and a great story. Thanks for sharing.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1481 posts in 1707 days

#4 posted 715 days ago

Very nice work and beautiful wood. I do like all of the details on the first box the best, but the others are nice. You did a great job centering the figure on box lid # 2. Each box is different and that would be special to the people who received them.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and so little time!

View Dustmite97's profile


430 posts in 1823 days

#5 posted 715 days ago

These are great boxes. Fantastic use of logs.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

1883 posts in 1164 days

#6 posted 715 days ago

Wow you did a fantasic job and the woods are great together.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13336 posts in 940 days

#7 posted 715 days ago

Very Beautiful

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Spoontaneous's profile


1286 posts in 1932 days

#8 posted 715 days ago

Beautiful boxes… beautiful commemorative.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View grizzman's profile (online now)


6812 posts in 1906 days

#9 posted 715 days ago

i find that the most beautiful boxes are done with simple design and then let the wood speak, let it be the star, and you did that, i know they will love these boxes for the rest of there lives, and will become family heirlooms, they deserve that spot in your families history, very well done, and where the wood came from is spot on, how can a memory like that ever die.grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1854 days

#10 posted 715 days ago

Thanks very much for the kind comments everyone.
Robert, the lid for the second box (solid nogal corners) is actually a cut off from the lid of the third box (nogal corner keys). I didn’t take a photo showing it, but the grain actually lines up if the boxes are held together.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View helluvawreck's profile


15439 posts in 1469 days

#11 posted 715 days ago

These are very nice; I’m sorry about your loss.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Doe's profile


931 posts in 1432 days

#12 posted 715 days ago

Beautifully done and amazing wood. They’re a wonderful tribute to your wife’s grandfather and you’re so lucky to find it in his wood pile.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View jaykaypur's profile


3257 posts in 1011 days

#13 posted 715 days ago

Beautiful work and the tops you designed are great! Very very nice work.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View TexasPenworks's profile


36 posts in 958 days

#14 posted 715 days ago

Wow, Beautiful!

-- Kyle,

View gfadvm's profile (online now)


10595 posts in 1292 days

#15 posted 714 days ago

You did a super job creating these keepsake boxes with family history. All are beautiful but the one with the purpleheart handle is extra special.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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