13th

(The photo above is of lacewood endgrain, magnified 10x, that I found on Paul Hind's Hobbit House site. If you like wood, you should be familiar with that site. Even if you don't like wood, you should visit that site. It's very, very unusual - there's, literally, no other site like it anywhere. And I really doubt there ever will be.)

W hen people ask me to make a box for them they sometimes specify the type of wood to be used. It might be oak, or mahogany, or ebony, whatever. Obviously, the reasons for these choices are diverse. Perhaps they've seen another box made of that wood, or there's a piece of furniture to be matched, or they just might like the look or color of a particular species. You never know.

These choices are fine with me. Just about every wood has something to recommend it, and, as long as I'm given some latitude in regards to the design, I can usually build something interesting.

Pretty, even, if I'm lucky.

  • Woods Used: lacewood, ebony
  • Size: 6"x4"x2" (approx)
  • Storage: very small box for change, a watch, small pocket stuff.
  • Price: sold

But I was surprised when asked to make this little box out of lacewood. That's not a common wood, especially here in America. I've met very few people who are aware that a wood called lacewood exists, fewer still who know what it looks like. I imagine that's not the case in Australia, where it originates, or in South America, where it is sometimes grown, but here, in the states, it's an unusual request.

And it is one of my favorites. I've used it in numerous boxes, and have always been drawn to its figure, the wide flecks of medullary rays, and its color, somewhere between red, orange and brown.

So I was happy to hear that a lacewood box was desired. But still curious. Why lacewood?

Here's why: Because of a 13th wedding anniversary. As it turns out, lace is the material that's associated with the 13th anniversary, like silver with the 25th, and gold with the 50th. Now, it's pretty easy for a husband to purchase lace for a wife. But not so easy for a wife to buy lace for a husband. Not too many men wear lace these days.

But a man might use a little box for his watch or spare change. And maybe that box could be made of... lacewood!

Nice, huh? That kind of lateral thinking has an appealing cleverness to it. Everyone to whom I told this story appreciated the unexpected "outside the box" creativity of the idea. It provoked a grin of appreciation each time. And it actually made building the box that much more enjoyable.

So here's a little lacewood box, which has some ebony in it, too.

Happy 13th anniversary.