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.