I’m Boring…. not Boring

I have not written anything about what I have been doing in the shop lately, and I don’t want you to think that it has been quiet in there. Oh contraire! I have been working and teaching at a steady pace. Perhaps the pace could be a bit faster, but life somehow manages to stick its head in the door and interrupt me. Perhaps I need a better lock.

I received a commission to make several nice tzedakah boxes (like a charity box) to give to special donors. I get bored doing the same thing over and over again, so I suggested that I make turned lidded boxes out of fancy woods. After explaining the concept, my customer agreed, and suggested that I go ahead and make six of them. If they like them, then I will make six more. I have already made four boxes and I am going to demonstrate how I will make box number five.

The first boxes two are made of Olive Wood (not Jerusalem Olive Wood): Is light to medium brown with streaks of black and darker brown running through it. Has a fine texture with a shallow interlocked grain giving it a marbled appearance. Glues well, it is recommended to pre-bore before nailing or screwing. Polishes up well and gives a smooth even finish. Excellent for decorative turnings, inlay, and high end custom furniture. Central African Republic.

The third box is made of Jobillo: (Ho be yo) from Central America has a light reddish brown heartwood streaked with sharply contrasting dark reddish to black band that resemble burn marks. This wood is hard and heavy but turns well and will take a fine polish. This member of the cashew family produces stunning turned pieces because of contrasting nature of its stripes.

The fourth and fifth boxes are made of Yucatan Rosewood: Yucatan Rosewood is a hard, light-reddish cinnamon brown wood with darker-reddish brown stripes from the regions of Central and South America. Turns well. Less allergenic properties than other dalbergia such as Cocobolo and Honduras Rosewood. Commonly used in the region for furniture, musical instruments and sports equipment. It has a smell that reminds me of cinnamon.

Here’s the basic concept of the lidded box. You make a cylinder, cut off the top, hollow it out, fit the top to the hollowed out “box”, make a base, and badaboo badabing your basically done. There’s no fancy turning either, push cuts, shear scrapes, hollowing and a bead or two.  It just takes a number of steps to get it done.

I have not decided on a finishing method for a couple of reasons. I will discuss that in another blog about this project.

Here’s how this works step by step. (please forgive the photo placement, must be user error)

Step 1: Put your block between centers and make the thickest cylinder you can.

The mounted block

The Cylinder


Step 2: Make a bead at the top, then use a parting tool to cut off the top.

The top is being cut off


Step 3: Attached the base to a glue block, use a drill bit to bore down to the proper depth, then use the boring bar system to hollow out the box. I like using the boring bar because I can get perfectly even wall thickness and there is just about no way to get a catch.

The base mounted on a glue block

Bore a hole down the middle

The Jamieson Boring Bar System


Step 4: After the base is hollowed out. Attach the top to the glue block, use the parting tool to fit the top to the base, then hollow out the top with the boring bar.

The top on a glue block

Fitting the top to the base


Step 5: The top needs to fit nice and snug to the box. Attach the top, start the lathe, then clean off the glue residue from the bottom of the base with a sharp gouge.

The base attached to the top


As I said before, the turning is really simple. The trick is getting the parts EXACTLY centered on the glue block.

In my next entry, I’ll show you how the box is completed.

Have a wonderful day in your neighborhood.

About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I’m Boring…. not Boring

  1. Some really nice wood there, Yaakov. I like rosewood. Student came to me the other day with some of his grandfather’s materials – out of the attic. Old, old tools long rusted. Old, old carvings long neglected. But, in the bottom of the box was a carving mallet made out of rosewood, of all things. Really pretty, but made in another time when such wood was a bit less expensive, I think. Shalom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s