patience with box lids

One picture, one note. It’s about patience.

brand new, & 10 years old

When I make boxes and chests for use here at home or for sale, I usually use oak for the carcass and white pine for the bottoms and lids. People often ask why I mix the woods that way. One simple reason is that I find period examples from New England done that way. I  can make lids from single wide boards in pine, where oak lids would need to be glued-up from a few narrower boards. (2 boards for a box lid, 3 or 4 for a chest lid).

It also saves the oak for the next carved piece. Pine is lighter in weight, which puts less strain on hinges over time.

“But the color…” they ask. When the box is new, like the one in the top of this pair, the pine is nearly white. Even with a couple of coats of linseed oil. Sometimes it’s yellow instead of white. In either case, it’s different in color from the oak when new. But wait…the box on the bottom of this pairing is the same format, oak carcass and pine lid & bottom. It’s about 10 years old, and has just seen ordinary use here at home all that time.

So if you are patient, the colors of the woods sort of mute together in time.

Or you can pay extra, (or work more if you make the box) and have an oak lid.


6 thoughts on “patience with box lids

  1. Peter, a side question. I found some excellent red oak which I am not able to work with until later in the year. The pieces are soaking in water container submerged. Question is how long must they be out of the water in order to start carving the front and sides.
    Many thanks.

    John C

    • John – I never really subscribed to the submerge method. That’s Alexander’s bag. The wood gets kind of scummy if it’s underwater too long. But take it out, plane it & store the planed stock somewhere it will dry slowly. then maybe a week, maybe three. Just like green wood, only smellier. PF

  2. peter, I’m glad to see this posting. I’ve made several boxes with wide pine boards since the Maine class and I can tell that it bothers my wife that their not made from oak. I’d rather save the oak for carving. I like the pine but it sure is soft and dent easily compared to working the oak. Nice to see how the pine ages with time.

  3. To John Crenshaw
    I did not have the flexability that Follansbee enjoys. Having been a divorce attorney for 37 years, I had to store green wood. It is no problemI. I store my green oak in an outside waterproof box. I have kept wood green for years. It takes longer to dry not beause of any flaw but simplly because it is as wet as it can be. The sllme will not injure you or the wood. Phone ahead and when you arrive I will give you some fine soaking wet oak. Dry sopping wet wood gradually beneath wet shavings or rig \up a humidifier from a plastic garbage can. Its better than having the glorious wood crack.

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