My Kauri Abacus and Stand

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Project by kaurikid posted 01-18-2014 10:43 AM 1118 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So here’s project no 2 A Chinese Abacus invented by them in 3000BC!

Again my stock of swamp kauri played a big part in its birth in fact most of my future projects will be heavily influenced with kauri. I hope you chaps don’t find this too boring but I did import quite a lot of it a while back cause I intend to one day make a dining table.

Anyway back to the Abacus, the frame is all Kauri and the 91 beads are African Mahogany, the 13 rails are hollow brass tubes. The whole thing was fine sanded and then I went over it with 1500, in between the sanding 5 – 6 wipes of a linseed mix with some fine wire wooling here and there. The brass decoration I made from thin brass sheet and used a small mini engraving hand drill with a metal cutting disc to cut around a paper template I designed.

The abacus idea came about after I bought an old one here at a flea market and while restoring it I thought it might look nice in Kauri but then again all things might look nice in kauri to me! Secondly it contains a few different skills sets to practice and thirdly it has history like kauri.

When I started this project I thought it would be a lot easier than it turned out to be. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post Kauri can be frustrating to work with having changing densities and weaknesses I’ve also noticed some pieces tend to warp after they’ve been cut. Sadly this has caused a lot of precious kauri to end up in the scrap box.

I started off to make the 91 beads in kauri but had so many chip and others were difficult to get a good finish on however sharp the bead cutter was! I put it down to my poor lathe skills and my knowledge so I tried a few different woods and finally found the African Mahogany I had cut the best. Anyone who has made something that needed small beads might be able to shed some light on it for me?

The rest was pretty straight forward until I came to glue it all together but I whittled a jig to help me and help me it did.

At first I never thought of putting it on a stand but I thought a few visitors would want to fondle it so the stand gives them easier access than nailed to a wall. The stand consists of Kauri, Ebony, African Mahogany and a slice of a Amboyna Burl I picked up in Thailand well that’s what they told me it was??

I really enjoyed this project and it has me thinking about my next.


-- I started out with nothing and I still have a lot left!

3 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2463 days

#1 posted 01-19-2014 04:25 AM

that’s pretty damn cool

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

350 posts in 1528 days

#2 posted 01-19-2014 12:34 PM

Very cool indeed. It’s beautiful.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1597 days

#3 posted 01-22-2014 05:12 PM

Wonderful build, gorgeous woods and finish. It belongs to a museum. Awesome work!

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