A box in Masur Birch...

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Big Mike

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Mike
A while back I posted a hollow form that a friend of mine turned for me as a birthday gift. It is beautiful. Since then I have been itching to turn a piece of this wood into a box.

I finally had the guts to do that and this is what I came up with. This box is a little under 2 3/4" in diameter and a little less than 4 3/4" tall. This wood cuts beautifully, sands beautifully and finishes beautifully. I can hardly wait to to turn some more.

The picture showing the inside of the lid and body of the box really displays the beauty of this wood the best. What a pleasure to turn.
 

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D L Ames

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D L Ames
Mike that is some very nice looking wood. It almost looks like flames on the box and the lid. Your box looks fantastic.........nice job.:icon_thum

D L
 

Monty

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Monty
Cool! I like that wood. One thing I love about woodturning - I've learned about a lot of beautiful woods I probably never would have heard of otherwise... :icon_thum
 
M

McRabbet

Very pretty wood and commendable turning -- the wood figure really pops out nicely and is most unusual. Perfect for a small object like a turned object or a small box, but I suspect it would be too busy for anything very large (and expensive, no doubt). Good job!

Rob
 

Big Mike

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Mike
McRabbet said:
Very pretty wood and commendable turning -- the wood figure really pops out nicely and is most unusual. Perfect for a small object like a turned object or a small box, but I suspect it would be too busy for anything very large (and expensive, no doubt). Good job!

Rob
Rob you are right about the cost for large objects. Most of this wood is used for veneer and is sold on the world market as Karellian Birch and Masur Birch. I have never seen it as veneer except on the internet.

Thank you for the nice feedback.
 

DaveO

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DaveO
Mike, that is incredible!!. The figure and the form are just perfect. One of the prettiest boxes I've seen in a long while (prolly since the last one you posted) It's no wonder you were invited to teach a class on the subject.
Dave:)
 

Big Mike

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Mike
Thank you all very much. I do appreciate the kind words.

Cathy, one of the main reasons I started turning was to learn to turn boxes. For many years I had made about every shape and size of square, rectangular, octagonal, pentagonal and every other agonal box you can think of but I had never turned a box.

I decided I would teach myself. I started by turning coasters. Every piece of scrap I could find that was coaster size ended up on my Shopsmith which was my first lathe, I still have it. From coasters I moved to small bowls, and then small bowls with lids. These I called ring boxes and they continue to be a good seller for me. They are easy to turn, use a minimum of materials and are fun. Most fall in the 4-5" diameter range.

From there I bought Richard Raffan's book on Turned Boxes and taught myself how to turn end grain boxes which are different animals altogether. But the challenge of taking a single piece of wood, turning it round, parting it in two, hollowing the top and bottom and fitting the lid to the bottom is something I enjoy. I think you would also. Give it a try and you will love it. The more you turn the better you get. I highly recommend turning boxes as a way to spend an afternoon. I can now turn a box in 2-3 hours depending on how the finish is drying. You can too with practice.:)
 

clowman

*********
Clay Lowman
Nice work Mike, the design of this box and the figure of the wood, almost makes it look like a candle, and the figure contains flames.

Do you have any pictures of what you called ring boxes? Or did you mean ring boxes..
 

Big Mike

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Mike
Clay, there are some in my gallery pics. They are just small diameter shallow lidded bowls but are real popular with folks for temporary jewelry storage, paper clips, whatnots, etc.
 

clowman

*********
Clay Lowman
Ohhhh... a Ring box... for stuff you put on your fingers... Duh... I thought you meant a "ringed" box... Boy.. I feel dumb...
 

sapwood

Roger
Corporate Member
Striking wood and workmanship Mike. The finish is so smooth it looks like porcelain. :cool:

What finishing process did you use (if it isn't a trade secret)?

Sapwood
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Roger, no secret finishing brews here just a mixture of BLO and varnish thinned to wiping consistency with mineral spirits. This mixture I learned from watching David Marks on TV when we used to have him on PBS. I flood it on with a brush, let it soak in and wipe off the excess with paper towels while the lathe is running. Using the paper towel I buff it dry and it becomes almost like a friction polish. I put on as many coats as it takes to eliminate all the dry spots. When the wood will absorb no more I buff the piece with white 3M pads and scraps of fine felt. It should be nice and smooth and shiny at that point. Let it dry for a few days and dry buff the piece using no abrasives on the Beall system.
 

Phillip

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Phillip Fuentes
mike, really really nice. that's an outstanding form, and nice pictures of it too.

phil
 

Travis Porter

Travis
Corporate Member
Don't get me wrong, I like this, and I have seen a lot of your turnings and you are VERY good, but what would you use this for or is it a "dust collector"?

It is gorgeous, but does it have a function so to speak or is it primarily art?

I figure I can ask this here as I will get slammed on another site if I ask.:-?
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Travis, it is a functional box, and yes you could store something in it but I guess it is more of a dust collector or artsy fartsy object. I don't see any reason that functional objects cannot be beautiful. I try to make things as pretty as I can. I am not slamming you. My own father would ask, "What good is it?". He saw little value in art objects. Different strokes for different folks.
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
Many of the thongs we make could be considered dust collectors. I think of woodworking as an art form as well as a functional practice. IMHO making things just because they are beautiful and that you have the skill, or want to see if you have the skill, is just as important as any other type of woodworking.
 

Travis Porter

Travis
Corporate Member
No argument on the art whatsoever. I do ok on the joinery (not great), but I am starting to learn the art. Picking grain patterns, wood color, and doing the showy stuff. I have not gotten into turning, but even on regular furniture I am doing more bookmatching, moldings, etc.
 

Big Mike

New User
Mike
Thanks, Ken. A friend of mine has taken a long term contract job in California. He always looks for wood to support my addiction. On this trip he ended up working just a few miles down from the firm that I am going to give you the web address for: http://anexotichardwood.com/

So he goes down to their retail outlet and looks through the new stock and picks up a few pieces for me. He seems to be able to find some wonderful stock.

I also have bought some wonderful stock from these folks but don't faint at their prices. Their wood is wonderful and just as pictured.
http://www.gilmerwood.com/Default.htm

Good luck in your search.:-D
 
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