1st post!, 1st real project. I'm looking for 3 complementing woods

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Forum topic by Blackfly posted 01-25-2012 09:31 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 2489 days

01-25-2012 09:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box chief military hat

Hello all,

My name is Jimmy and as the title states I am a newbie to major woodworking. I’ve built some work benches, a firewood stand, and I’ve done some nice refinishing work on some pine furniture but that’s about the extent of my experience.

Anyways I’ve been in the Coast Guard for almost 15 years and I’ve recently been promoted to Chief and I am going to take on the task of making my Chief’s Hat Box. I’ve seen other members CPO hat boxes on here so some of you might be familiar with these. So let’s get right into my question. I’m looking for 3 different types of wood to build my box out of with colors/grains that would complement each other.

First off the base and top will be 16×16x3/4(maybe 15×15). So either single piece at 16×16 or something 16×10x7/4 and go for a nice bookmatched top.

Secondly, on the top I want a thin piece of a nice golden yellow wood cut as an anchor that I’ll inlay into the top of the box. Approx 10” in length.

Third will be the shield. It will be on top, cut 3 dimensional probably by hand. Approx 5 1/4” in length. I was thinking of possibly purpleheart wood for this but nothing is definite.

As for the chain I was think of doing some wood burning.

So what do you guys think would be some good wood choices. The anchor being a golden color is my starting point. Also, I’m not sure if it matters but for the achor does it need to be something that cuts easily for the inlay?



3 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17717 posts in 3181 days

#1 posted 01-25-2012 10:13 PM

Purpleheart may not be the best choice as im finding out on my own here. It brittle and loves to tear out on you, just ask the box in building. I think i would choose QS white oak or maybe sycamore for your light colored wood. A coat of BLO may yellow it just enough for you. If youre looking for a nice contrast to that color walnut is always a good choice and so is sapele. both pretty easy to work with.

oh and welcome to the gang Jimmy

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

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2829 days

#2 posted 01-25-2012 11:15 PM


Congratulations on your promotion to CPO. What’s your rate? I made ETC in 1983. I served in the Coast Guard from 1976 until 2000 when I retired.

As for woods that contrast and compliment very well – curly maple and bubinga really work nicely. I’ve combined cherry with curly maple and it looks really good after the cherry has aged awhile. You can accelerate cherry’s natural darkening by putting it in the sun and rotating regularly. Another wood that goes well with curly maple is blood wood. If you really wanted to get fancy you could inlay some ebony for the dark parts of anchor. Yellow heart is another choice for a yellow colored wood.

Again – CONGRATULATIONS on your promotion. It is a big step. If you get a chance to go to the CPO Academy I would highly recommend it. I was in the third class that went thought the academy and I loved it and got a lot out of it.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Blackfly's profile


13 posts in 2489 days

#3 posted 01-26-2012 03:18 AM


Thank you very much, I’m basically your airdale counterpart, AETC. I would have loved to have made Chief in 7 years as you had but advancements are a lot slower in aviation. Also I am looking forward to going to the academy, I’m just waiting for next winter to get so free travel out to the west coast for some weekend snowboarding.

As for the wood choices, thx chrisstef for sharing your experiences with purpleheart. Maybe I’ll x that one off the list. And Don I had already seen the curly maple and I do like it, would it work well for the anchor inlay? And thank you for showing me the bloodwood and bubinga. They are both very nice looking pieces, I think that I’ll use one of those two for the main construction of the box including the top and base.

So if I use either the bloodwood or bubinga for the box, curly maple for the anchor, what should I use for the shield?



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