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Thread: A question about small boxes

  1. #1

    A question about small boxes

    Does the wood need to be dry when making small boxes?

    Is there a difference when turning into end grain as opposed to side grain as one wood do when turning a bowl with respect to wood movement?

    In other words, is green end grain going to move like green side grain will?

    Does this make sense to y'all

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    North Ogden, Utah
    Hi George,
    For boxes the wood should be as dry as possible. If you get any movement from the wood drying it makes it so the lids don't fit. You'll get a little movement even from humidity changes and that can change the lid from a loose fit to tight or vice versa. Also end grain moves much less than side grain so it works much better for boxes. Here's a link to a tutorial on boxes by Mike Stafford that I think is about the best way to get good results...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Fuller View Post
    Here's a link to a tutorial on boxes by Mike Stafford that I think is about the best way to get good results...
    Thanks, Curt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    When I just began woodturning, I watched a John Jordan video on turning boxes. It was mighty depressing. In a couple minutes he had more shavings flying than I could do in a week. About half-way through, he explained that he uses only green wood. With the box about 90% finished, he takes it off the lathe and wraps in a brown paper bag. That is placed on a shelf where it will stay for up to several years. At the end of the drying time, he goes back and does his final turning and finishing. He is famous and professional. But, I like to do a project and get it finished. Besides, I might not be around in three years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I use green wood when I turn 90% of my boxes. I rough turn them and then soak them in DNA for 48 to 72 hrs. I then flash dry them, butt the tenons together and wrap them in a brown grocery sack. I cut a opening on both ends for air flow. I let them dry for about 20 to 45 days depending when I can get to them. I have no problems with lids or the box body going out of round. I do turn some dry wood boxes and have had them move also.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    The Woodlands, Texas

    Turning Boxes...

    Hello George,

    I use a traditional approach to turning boxes that has proven itself over the long run in terms of dimensional stability with very close/suction fit lids remaining true.

    Briefly, I rough turn the boxes from green timber and partially hollow the interior of the top and bottom. The roughed out pieces are then removed from the lathe and taped together at the dovetails with the interior hollow exposed. The date and species is noted on the tape.

    The taped roughout is wrapped in a grocery bag (1 -2 wraps depending on the species and moisture content when turned) and allowed to air dry on open wire racks for 1 - 2 years. Most of the boxes I finish turn these days have been drying for about five years before they are completed.

    When I'm ready to finish turn the piece, I remove any warp and true the piece up. Once that is done, the piece rests for 24 hours before final turning. There is one additional 24 hour resting phase in the fitting of the top lid as well before it can be completed.

    This protocol has been the most reliable for me through the years when working with exotics, so I stick to it. My inlaid boxes can go for several thousand dollars, so I must be very careful to insure my drying and turning protocols do not result in future warranty claims. Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

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