I love the natural beauty that each wood species presents and would use them all if I could. However there are certain species better suited to box building than others.
What wood is good for box building?
Workability is probably the number one factor. In order to make a box, I need to cut, plane, shape, sand and glue a raw piece of wood with relatively few headaches. Some wood is too hard and dulls or wrecks woodworking equipment while other wood may be too soft and can’t be worked without inflicting extra damage to it in the way of dents. Other wood is just plain difficult to work with as it tears easily or has very unpredictable grain pattern.
That being said, there are a few wood species that are the tried and true heroes of the wood world and I use them all the time. These are Ash, Cherry, Black Walnut and Maple.
When the occasion arises, I also love working with more exotic woods like Shedua, Iroka, Sapele, Zebrawood and Bolivian Rosewood.
Once I’ve decided on the wood species I will be using for a specific box build, my next concern is picking the right piece of wood. Does the customer want something subdued and low key or are they looking for that ‘wow’ factor.
No two pieces of wood are ever the same, even when cut from the same tree. Each piece has a slightly different grain pattern, color and dispersion of knots and other ‘flaws’. Luckily, there is more than enough variation so that I can usually accommodate just about everyone.
Below you will find a few examples of the various wood species I have used.
This custom storage box was constructed with Cherry wood and dyed green. Cherry wood is a lighter feeling wood that has less of a definite grain pattern to it. You can read more about Cherry here.
This stash box was constructed from quarter sawn Oak. Oak is a fairly dense wood with a straight, course texture. More can be read on Oak here.
This keepsake box was built from Shedua. Shedua has many names and is also referred to as Ovangkol and others. Shedua is a very heavy, dense exotic wood with amazing grain and texture to it. Read more about Shedua here.
This Metropolitan Box was constructed from Iroko, an exotic African hardwood. Iroko is a beautifully grained wood that tends to have a lovely, muted look to the grain. You can learn more about Iroko here.
This Metropolitan Box was constructed with Sapele, an exotic African hardwood. Sapele is a beautiful reddish wood that tends to shimmer in the right light. You can read more about Sapele here.
This custom built stash box was created from Pau Ferro, also known as Bolivian Rosewood and Santos Rosewood. Pau Ferro is an absolutely amazing wood and tends to be on the orange/red side and is incredibly dense and heavy. You can read more about Pau Ferro here.