USS Missouri BB-63 Teak Box for a new a

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Project by Roz posted 09-18-2013 04:04 PM 2992 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My older brother Jim had the rare distinction of serving onboard the USS Missouri BB-63. During her refit periods areas of the Main Deck teak were replaced. As a result of that he was able to salvage some old pieces of Teak. His thought was that someday he’d find a good use for it. Today is that day. A dear friend of his is being promoted to Admiral and he asked me to help him make a presentation box to mark the occasion from that same USS Missouri Teak.

We talked about the items to be displayed and the need to limit the display case based on the small amount of teak that we had available to work with, as well as the desire to high light the qualities of the teak. We also wanted to do justice to the historic nautical significance of the pieces to be displayed. History tells us that the deck the planks would be laid against one another on their sides to form a 6 inch thick deck.

We started with planks about 3X6X 18. Having cut the planks onto smaller pieces we formed what basically 1×1 beams with a channel to hold the glass which resembled small picture frames around glass panels. This would allow the viewer to look into the display as well as enjoy the rich naval history that was represented inside. The corners were mitered and held together with water proof glue and a few tacks. The edges near the glass were chamfered to 45 degrees. The top also has a glass panel as well as a bar across the back with a triangle mitered into the center of the plank. This was a very good place for a star, the symbol of an Admiral’s rank. We added a block cut to 45 degrees to accept an etched brass plate. The hinges are high quality brass with a removable ball end shafts. The Ball is appropriate because a brass ball sit atop the flag pole on every Admirals gig, and is known as a Truck. The only proper finish for Teak is Teak oil so the case received three loving coats and polish up that gave it a nice luster while the oil brought out the unique qualities in the wood.

As I was working on this it occurred to me there is great symbolism in this project. The Teak box was designed to house two items. One item in the box is a working miniature 4” Sextant, like those used by mariners for centuries to navigate the world. The other item in the box is a small brass spy glass. This working 8 inch replica is similar to those used by ancient mariners to extend their sight across the oceans in search of what the future might hold.

The Missouri Teak we used to make this box is representative of the long and proud history of the United States Navy. We added a miniature brass cleat for a handle that represents seamanship and acts as a reminder of the skill and professionalism of the men and women of the United States Navy. The Truck and Star signify an Admirals rank, However, the star also represents the stars that each night sailors use to navigate the darkness to the dawn of a new day (when the electronics aren’t working).

Thanks for taking the time to review this project. It is a special one.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

18 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15947 posts in 3478 days

#1 posted 09-18-2013 04:13 PM

A wonderful tribute to an illustrious career and something any Navy man can relate to and cherish. Very well done Terry.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3324 days

#2 posted 09-18-2013 05:08 PM

Well done! You and your brother should be as proud to give it as the Admiral will be to recieve it.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View Northwest29's profile


1656 posts in 2634 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 07:18 PM

That is just too wonderful – what an appropriate use of materials from the past. Well done!

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3951 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 07:20 PM

I have a similar story here:

BZ! (Bravo Zulu) – - – which in Navy parlance means Well Done!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2436 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 07:27 PM

Outstanding piece and great story!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3447 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 08:29 PM

really nice terry, i love seeing used wood being put to life again, and showing its beauty, you did a perfect job on this, and i’m sure the Admiral loves his new gift, Bravo Zulu…..

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

View peteg's profile


4387 posts in 2967 days

#7 posted 09-18-2013 09:07 PM

What a fabulous way to celebrate one of your greatest battleships Terry,
I’m sure the new Admiral & your brother will cherish with the same pleasure you obviously enjoyed making it.
Great job

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2811 days

#8 posted 09-18-2013 10:25 PM

What a nice and fitting way to preserve history .
Well done my friend and it will be much appreciated by the recipient .

-- Kiefer

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


695 posts in 2834 days

#9 posted 09-19-2013 12:58 AM

Great project and story. I was fortunate to have reenlisted one of my Sailors on the surrender deck of the Missouri. This piece you created will treasured by the Admiral for many many years.

-- -Al, Chesapeake, VA

View rtbrmb's profile


658 posts in 2532 days

#10 posted 09-19-2013 01:03 AM

What an incredible story & how awesome that your brother could acquire pieces from a national treasure like the Missouri. The thought of General Wainwright standing on the deck of the Missouri accepting the unconditional surrender of the Japanese is really mind numbing to me.

I am sure the admiral will treasure this gift.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View CFrye's profile


10419 posts in 1984 days

#11 posted 09-19-2013 02:05 AM

You’ve done well by that piece of history. Beautiful Roz. Thank you for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View firefighterontheside's profile


19051 posts in 2000 days

#12 posted 09-19-2013 02:28 AM

Being from Missouri and having talked in great depth with my grandfather who had been a prisoner of the Germans for 4 years, I have always been in awe of the Missouri with her 16“ guns. Anyone should be honored to own a piece of the ship, much less to have something very meaningful made from the teak from the deck. Nice work!

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View mikethetermite's profile


597 posts in 3410 days

#13 posted 09-19-2013 02:56 AM

Roz, Great project and story

US Navy Retired

-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

View doubleDD's profile


7702 posts in 2187 days

#14 posted 09-19-2013 03:49 AM

Great work on bringing new value to a historic past.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View jack1's profile


2111 posts in 4171 days

#15 posted 09-19-2013 05:13 PM

Great preservation of history in a nice piece.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

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