Old Flame Box

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Project by cobbler posted 08-20-2008 09:36 PM 3249 views 13 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The wood that I used to make this box came from an old crosstie that had lined my drive
for about 16 years. Since getting into woodworking about 2 years ago, I keep my lookout for unique wood. Whenever I walked from the house to my shop, I would notice that one end of that crosstie was different from the others. One day, when my wife out of town, I got out the chainsaw and sliced off about 3’.
I carried it to the shop and began to slice off 5/8” boards. As I suspected, the wood was really beautiful but the smell was horrible. That end must have been in the crotch of the tree….Lucky me!The flames are just breathtaking but I have no idea the type of wood. If anyone knows please let me know. It is finished with Wipe on poly.


-- ''Carry on my wayward son''

41 comments so far

View Jimthecarver's profile


1123 posts in 2877 days

#1 posted 08-20-2008 09:37 PM

Beautiful box….Wow how nature blesses us with such fine materials….Great Job!

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View puzzled's profile


72 posts in 2884 days

#2 posted 08-20-2008 09:48 PM

The pictures just can’t do it justice. It is a beautiful box!! Great Job.

-- -- Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of a woodturner.

View stanley_clifton's profile


195 posts in 2795 days

#3 posted 08-20-2008 09:49 PM

That’s a really splendid piece of work. The grain pattern is just beautiful and it looks like you’ve achieved a smashing finish.

-- Stanley generally struggling

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 2824 days

#4 posted 08-20-2008 09:50 PM

Wow! What beauty brought forth!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 2755 days

#5 posted 08-20-2008 09:57 PM

Very nice, that is some beautiful wood. Nice job.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View savannah505's profile


1749 posts in 2678 days

#6 posted 08-20-2008 10:07 PM

Beautiful wood, I have no clue yet as to what wood it is.

-- Dan Wiggins

View jm82435's profile


1284 posts in 2834 days

#7 posted 08-20-2008 10:12 PM

Wow that is very nice.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3310 days

#8 posted 08-20-2008 10:40 PM

Amazing wood and a fantastic finish! What did you use on it?

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

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 2795 days

#9 posted 08-20-2008 10:41 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3082 days

#10 posted 08-20-2008 10:50 PM

What an awesome box! Good work.

If that’s an old railroad crosstie, it’s probably pine or something. My guess is that the preservative is what gave it the dark streaks and caused the smell. Was the wood hard? Can you compare the hardness to some other type of wood? Was it difficult to work? Did you go back and get the rest of the crosstie out of the yard and see what it looked like inside?

I’m going to go cut up a railroad tie and see what’s inside…

-- Jim

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2533 posts in 2684 days

#11 posted 08-20-2008 10:54 PM

Sweet!!! Beautiful wood.

-- Dennis Zongker

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3996 posts in 3155 days

#12 posted 08-21-2008 12:07 AM

Good eye for grain. That’s some story and an even finer box. I wonder if the smell wasn’t creosote.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3252 days

#13 posted 08-21-2008 12:13 AM

gorgeous wood and box.
I love how something calls to us, sometimes for a long time, before we listen and do something about it!

Well done

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14039 posts in 3075 days

#14 posted 08-21-2008 12:42 AM

In my youth I worked for Chicago Northwestern Railroad (CNW), for the bridges and building department (The B&B).

Most midwestern railroad ties are white oak and weight 220 lbs each.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View SteveKorz's profile


2133 posts in 2806 days

#15 posted 08-21-2008 12:48 AM

Wow Wow Wow… what a gorgeous box… and great story!

If you look at the top, it does look like white oak… Doug was probably right about the smell, it was more than likely the creosote. That’s probably what caused the darkening in it.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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