Monday, 23 June 2014

Box, Buxus sempervirens

Lovely wood, very hard and very dense. Carving it with a knife is hard work and will take a long time. Obviously, green it will be a tad softer, but still very hard. I was at the Blackdown Woodfair this weekend, and a member of the Blackdown Hills Hedging Association took me to the back of his van. One never knows what to expect. After a bit of gentle English bartering.
Me, How much would sir like for this?
Him, Oh I don't know. Me Ummm. ummm um arh um, how about £15.
Him Oh I was hoping for £20.
Me, Okay £20 then. Would you mind bringing it over to my stall later, I don't have any money on me at the moment.

Over the years I have collected a bit of box, all bone dry and ready to use. I mainly use it for tool handles.


 This lump of box is 8 inch diameter, which is large for box. It has been down for 9 months or so and has one large split across it. In the workshop I cut  along this split, it was remarkably dry. With box I would recommend splitting it in half lengthways and then stacking to season. Most of the stuff I have is in the round and have all split.  If you do get some green box, split and store under cover straight away. The colour can be quite yellow at times, but often a nice creamy colour. Left to dry in adverse conditions it can easily start going grey in places.
 This is part of a 4 foot length that I bought at Westonbirt show for a fiver, it was cheap because it had these spiral splits in. Cross cutting it revealed that it had grown at such an angle off vertical that it has a lot of reaction wood. The splits really do not go that deep.
I am not worried about the spiral grain and reaction wood as I will be making handles rather than dimensioned planks for cabinet work.

I used box for as a handle for the MaChris that Jon Mac and Chris Grant gave me. Being so dense it can be finished to a silky smooth surface. A tactile finish that the hand falls in love with. The wood scraps very well and a cut finish with a sharp knife is glassy smooth. If sanded then work all the way through to the finest grits.