Over labor day weekend of 2015, some family came for a visit and my brother-in-law brought me a gift of some spalted maple. The boards were from a tree that died at his work and were sawn on the Woodmizer there. Since they were still pretty green, I stacked them in my shed workshop. This past June or July (2016) I went through all the boards and sawed the rough pieces for a bible box similar to many of Peter Follansbee’s designs. I stacked the pieces for the box in my house for more than a month to help get the moisture content as low as I could before starting to final dimension the pieces.
At summer’s end I began work on the box. I had planned to construct the box using rabbet and nail construction. I even found a local blacksmith to make some hand wrought nails for the piece. However, I blew out the side of the maple box with the first of those nails. This splitting issue occurred even after I drill a tapered pilot hole of what I thought was the appropriate width and depth. Clearly my experience with nailed pieces in poplar and pine didn’t translate well to this maple; learned a good lesson about hard hardwoods. So I decide to switch gears, remade one of the box carcass pieces, and opted for dovetail construction. Also learned that fitting hand sawn dovetail joints with such a hard wood is also more challenging than the softer woods I typically use. Working through the fall it is now competed. Finished with two coats of Danish oil and looking good.