Shop's Log #14: Turned Boxes

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Blog entry by terryR posted 09-29-2014 05:59 PM 2567 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Bent Apple Pipe Part 14 of Shop's Log series Part 15: Saw Sharpening Clamp »

Hi everyone, as promised, no pipes this time! :)

How about a handful of turned boxes? What’s that? Ummm…a round box with a lid…

...very handy for storing small items, or just decoration. And a LOT of fun in the workshop to make. As soon as I complete one, I start laminating another blank, or drawing ideas for the next. Of course, you guys already know I have an addictive personality that way.

Usually, I’m so busy taking photos during any build, an extra hour or so is added by looking for the camera…then trying to find my glasses again. LOL. Sorry, but looks like this time around I only took photos of the finished boxes, so I cannot bore you guys with lathe photos.

Anyhow, here’s the first box from Black Walnut…

Oh sweet, I managed to find ONE photo of wood on the lathe. As you can see, this piece promised beauty from the beginning and all the way through shaping! Notice the blue shop towel…that is literally enough friction needed to secure the top and base while being shaped together. Both ends have already been separated and the base is already hollow at this point.

(if you guys really want to try one of these at home, there’s tons of tips on the internet and youTube…just start small)

And, after an hour of sanding, cough…cough…cough…

Looks better in person. This side is sorta dark brown, the reverse is sorta light brown. Buffed wax for the finish on all these boxes…

Next, I re-sawed a 6×6x3” bowl blank in half, so I could turn this sick piece of Black Cherry…

What an awesome piece of wood! ANY shape would look like a million dollars!

You can barely make out the small rabbet which holds the lid on the base in this photo. Blah, blah, blah, I’m sure everyone is just looking at the lid on that one! LOL. Hard to decide if this guy stays home, or goes on the vending circuit in a few weeks?

Also, from another chunk of Black Cherry, how about a pencil holder?

I hate pencil holders from plastic that fall over all the time…this one has quite a bit of heft left in the base. I would keep it in the shop, but it’s just not
large enough for all my colored pencils. LOL. Another blog…

And here’s another sweet piece of wood…

East Indian Rosewood…yummm…actually yuck! All these gorgeous exotics taste so sweet they are sickening to me. Gotta get better dust control…

Notice how this box is wearing the shop towel skirt…that means it’s hollow, the top fits the base, and artistic shaping is now needed. Or the best I can do. LOL.

I turned this one sorta similar to the others, have already learned that I need a drawing before I start the lathe, or these are all gonna look the same! Above is a good shot of how I remove the lathe marks from the piece…Auriou rasp and sandpaper.

Time-consuming? Yes.
A perfect finish without rosewood spinning off the lathe at 500rpm? Oh, yes.

After all, I’ll advertise these boxes as “hand made” you know…

Before going much further, I should share my county boy solution to dust collection while sanding on the lathe…

Try not to laugh…it’s a tupperware container with a hole cut in the center large enough for my shop vac to fit, and a rubber flange which connects the two. Looks like a hack. Works like a charm! I’m serious. The spinning motion of the wood directs 99% of the dust while sanding right into the shop vac!

Notice, I mentioned ‘sanding’ use…no way does my shop vac have the power to collect chips as they fly off the lathe. Luckily, my hairy chest has become used to chip collection! And my beard! Good grief! LOL.

Next, I wanted to try a ‘carved’ box similar to many I’ve seen on the web…

The carved section is only random bites taken with 3 Dremel bits, then finished with black dye. I let this dye cure for about 3 weeks, then just buffed a clear wax over it for protection.

I also shaped the lid to accept a 7mm bead of Hematite at the very top for something different. Held in place with epoxy…I’ve tested it 50 times by dropping (gently) and tapping it with wooden cut offs, and it seems secure. Of course, wait till I get it outside in the 60 degree Fall air while vending…well, if the bead comes out, it’s a Prototype! LOL.

I also tried my hand at a few ‘ring’ boxes. These come in as many shapes as you can dream up, but I chose the shapes you see below. Their purpose is to provide a safe location for your wedding ring should you remove it; either placed inside the box or around the spire protruding from the box’s top.

There…a photo is worth 1,000 words…huh? The purpleheart appendage will gladly hold a ring or act as a handle for the lid. Now, I know why I’ve been saving scrap pieces of exotic woods this big! LOL. The purpleheart was shaped into a 3/4” dowel, and then glued into the maple for 3/4”, so no worries on that joint.

Similar, but a lil taller…

...a short section of Bubinga inserted into Sugar Maple. I still have no idea what ‘size’ to make the diameter of the tall spire…just guessing by what fits on my thick fingers.

There’s a better shot of the rabbet that holds the box together when upright. And, no, the Bubinga doesn’t stick out on the inside of the lid. LOL. That’s the FIRST thing everyone stresses about lathe work…measuring constantly.

Hope you guys like this round of boxes…more already finished but not photographed. Recently I managed to get bitten by a brown recluse spider, and that has slowed me down for a good week! I’m on the road to recovery and more shop time, so hope to have more to share soon!

Thanks for reading.

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

21 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7461 posts in 2992 days

#1 posted 09-29-2014 07:13 PM

I love to see what you’ve been up to Terry. Looks like you’re having a lot of fun. The boxes are beautiful.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Hammerthumb's profile


2893 posts in 2125 days

#2 posted 09-29-2014 07:13 PM

Mighty fine work Terry!

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View chrisstef's profile


17683 posts in 3156 days

#3 posted 09-29-2014 07:15 PM

Great looking stash boxes you made there Terry. Your turning skills are getting nice buddy! Any plans for them?

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3137 days

#4 posted 09-29-2014 07:29 PM

Nice work.
You have been busy.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View terryR's profile


7351 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 09-29-2014 07:58 PM


Stef, I’m hoping to sell them when I set up my canopy next month…knives, arrows, bowls, baskets…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile


10009 posts in 2590 days

#6 posted 09-29-2014 08:17 PM

Wow. Amazing work Terry.

-- ~Tony

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3453 days

#7 posted 09-29-2014 08:54 PM

these are terrific, you used some beautiful woods, and you’re turning is really pretty cool…some of those wood really stand out…

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18970 posts in 2717 days

#8 posted 09-29-2014 11:12 PM

nice work Terry. You’ve got a natural talent!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View CFrye's profile


10421 posts in 1989 days

#9 posted 09-30-2014 12:24 AM

Beautifully turned Terry! Really shows off the grain of the woods. I wish you well at the vending. Hard to believe you wouldn’t sell out fast. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2772 days

#10 posted 09-30-2014 01:10 AM

Your the man T

The carved box is my favorite.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View terryR's profile


7351 posts in 2458 days

#11 posted 09-30-2014 01:32 PM

Thanks for the kind words, my friends!

If I knew each of your addresses, I’d plop them in the mail for all of you!

Scotty Yo gets the carved box, Candy gets the pretty purple, Don…hmmm…Coffee Tree? I think Paul is ready for some hyper-allergic wood… I have a sick poece of walnut for Bro. Tony, and I guess Andy gets the black cherry? Hmmm…how much is postage to UK?


-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View CFrye's profile


10421 posts in 1989 days

#12 posted 09-30-2014 01:45 PM

Terry! Missed the part about the spider bite earlier. Nasty little buggers.
I don’t know what to say. Your thoughtfulness and generosity are boundless!!

-- God bless, Candy

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2479 days

#13 posted 09-30-2014 01:52 PM

Wow Terry, these look amazing. Excellent work.

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View Brit's profile


7461 posts in 2992 days

#14 posted 09-30-2014 02:10 PM

You are joking Terry aren’t you? I thought you were going to sell them all.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View terryR's profile


7351 posts in 2458 days

#15 posted 09-30-2014 02:34 PM

Well, yes, the plan is to set up the 12×20’ canopy, and try to sell enough to pay for the A/C I have been burning in the shop the past 8 weeks. Gonna finish a bunch of knives today…

But, Andy, you are a special case! I already owe you soooo much for what you’ve taught me, a small trinket like these would only scratch the surface on what I owe. Ditto for Don! Hmmmm…I think I already have YOUR snail mail, so be careful what you wish for, buddy! LOL!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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