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Substitutes for Boxwood in toolmaking.

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Cheshirechappie

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Jimi's recent restoration of a Gabriel moulding plane ("A Host of Angels") raises the question of Boxwood, and it's continued supply. Over the last couple of decades, it seems that boxwood has become far more difficult to obtain, and larger sizes are almost unobtainable now. I think that's mainly because the trees are fewer - too many have been harvested in decades past, and new stock has not reached maturity. For the restoration of antique tools lke the Gabriel moulding plane, I think it's use is entire justifiable to remain true to the historical context of the item, but for new work, or for the repair of less historically important tools, perhaps we should consider alternatives.

A couple of suggestions: one is Degamé (aka Lemonwood) which is heavy, hard, close-grained timber of similar colour to Box. It's commercally available for applications such as longbow staves, carving, billiard cues and the like. Other possibilities - though not so good - might be the harder fruitwoods such as Apple and Pear.

Any thoughts?
 

bugbear

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Cheshirechappie":3tppzy07 said:
Jimi's recent restoration of a Gabriel moulding plane ("A Host of Angels") raises the question of Boxwood, and it's continued supply. Over the last couple of decades, it seems that boxwood has become far more difficult to obtain, and larger sizes are almost unobtainable now. I think that's mainly because the trees are fewer - too many have been harvested in decades past, and new stock has not reached maturity. For the restoration of antique tools lke the Gabriel moulding plane, I think it's use is entire justifiable to remain true to the historical context of the item, but for new work, or for the repair of less historically important tools, perhaps we should consider alternatives.

A couple of suggestions: one is Degamé (aka Lemonwood) which is heavy, hard, close-grained timber of similar colour to Box. It's commercally available for applications such as longbow staves, carving, billiard cues and the like. Other possibilities - though not so good - might be the harder fruitwoods such as Apple and Pear.

Any thoughts?
I suspect Australia might have some suitable candidates in its various (unworkable!!) eucalypts.

BugBear
 

AndyT

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I've got some biggish logs of holly from a neighbour's tree. It was cut down over ten years ago and is rock hard. I reckon it would be just as good as box for similar purposes - if I can manage to cut it up!
I had looked at Jimi's plane on eBay and nearly bought it myself to have a go at doing a similar restoration job - but I'm sure he's done a better job than I would have done, and quite a lot quicker too!

(I also have a nice bit of box - if you visit any NT properties be sure to check the plant sales areas! https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/source-of-boxwood-t55574.html)
 

jimi43

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Unfortunately...I don't think there is a substitute for English boxwood....even European boxwoods don't seem to have the mojo. :mrgreen:

Very delicate netsuke carvings like THIS ONE.....

cannot be made with any other light coloured hardwood...and survive the trials of centuries.

I recently had opportunity to experience how strong...flexible....and stable enough to cut very thinly, English box was.

Alfie..during his "puppy" phase decided during a moment of boredom to eat one of the arms from my spectacles!

Not having either the funds or the time to get a new pair made immediately...I decided to make a new arm...and the only wood I could think of to do it was boxwood....



I actually carved two...one for each side...but he ate the other one before I had a chance to fit it!!! :mrgreen:

If you look at a pair of glasses...the arm bends in two planes...and is subject to huge stresses in daily use. This one lasted a good few months...and is still fine today....



...and had I not had to get a totally new prescription (getting old!)....I would have made another to match...a unique pair of glasses indeed!

I have no doubt that this is the only wood which had the characteristics to do this job...English box is unique indeed...and sadly not being replaced!

Jim

P.S. @Andy...thanks for the compliment mate but I'm sure you would have done just as good a job! :wink:
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Jim

My old cat ate on of the cables for my HiFi, came down one morning and it didn't work! Pets!

Pete
 

thick_mike

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Pete Maddex":xyr9325y said:
Hi, Jim

My old cat ate on of the cables for my HiFi, came down one morning and it didn't work! Pets!

Pete
Thought you were going to say you carved a new cable from boxwood...amazing stuff!!
 

Cheshirechappie

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thick_mike":3jl1kfpq said:
Pete Maddex":3jl1kfpq said:
Hi, Jim

My old cat ate on of the cables for my HiFi, came down one morning and it didn't work! Pets!

Pete
Thought you were going to say you carved a new cable from boxwood...amazing stuff!!

From the evidence above, Jimi probably could!
 

dickm

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Went to a talk this evening in the Aberdeen Univ Botanic Garden, and noticed that they'd been grubbing out some box bushes. Nothing larger than about 2" across, but if anyone wants stuff that size, let me know and I'll contact the head gardener.
 

woodbloke

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jimi43":25v10qzv said:
Very delicate netsuke carvings like THIS ONE.....

cannot be made with any other light coloured hardwood...and survive the trials of centuries.
I bought a netsuke recently in Japanese Yew...seems like good stuff - Rob
 

jimi43

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dickm":1akw8jmz said:
Went to a talk this evening in the Aberdeen Univ Botanic Garden, and noticed that they'd been grubbing out some box bushes. Nothing larger than about 2" across, but if anyone wants stuff that size, let me know and I'll contact the head gardener.
Ooooo..yes please Dick!

I'd be more than willing to pay for it or make a donation to their planting programme.

Let me know

Japanese Yew Rob...any pictures? Sounds intriguing...I love English yew....have you seen Bill Carters latest project using yew...absolutely stunning!

That would be a boom box would it Mike!! :mrgreen:

Coat?....yup Coat! :oops:

Jim
 

Richard T

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Jim - that's a stunning job on the specs arm. Be sure to have the relevant spondolicks when visiting Mac Timbers.

I'm sure you are , like me, saving that that was lost on rained out boot sales for this opportunity. I'm sure we will find Box, Bog Oak and everything else yearned for. (Got a few bits of wych Elm sorted too)
 

Tony Spear

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Jim, you mustn't blame Alfie!

As a highly experienced dog companion, I can assure you that it's in his Contract! :D

One of these days I'll get around to showing you some piccies! :shock: :mrgreen:
 

adidat

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Pete Maddex":wvimsrka said:
Hi, Jim

My old cat ate on of the cables for my HiFi, came down one morning and it didn't work! Pets!

Pete
Pete your not alone

this is what our 2 house rabbits did to the internet and phone supply



it only took them 10 minutes :twisted:

luckily neither of them fancied the power cords,

if they had we could have made 8 0f these :twisted:



:lol:

adidat
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Adidat

I think they are trying to tell you something, like less time on the internet and phone and more with us!!!

Pete
 

dickm

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jimi43":1c2h9qvw said:
dickm":1c2h9qvw said:
Went to a talk this evening in the Aberdeen Univ Botanic Garden, and noticed that they'd been grubbing out some box bushes. Nothing larger than about 2" across, but if anyone wants stuff that size, let me know and I'll contact the head gardener.
Ooooo..yes please Dick!

I'd be more than willing to pay for it or make a donation to their planting programme.

Let me know
You had pm yesterday.
 

jimi43

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dickm":ghuoweu1 said:
jimi43":ghuoweu1 said:
dickm":ghuoweu1 said:
Went to a talk this evening in the Aberdeen Univ Botanic Garden, and noticed that they'd been grubbing out some box bushes. Nothing larger than about 2" across, but if anyone wants stuff that size, let me know and I'll contact the head gardener.
Ooooo..yes please Dick!

I'd be more than willing to pay for it or make a donation to their planting programme.

Let me know
You had pm yesterday.
Strange! I replied yesterday and it has disappeared into the ether!

Sent another...let me know you got it mate.

Jim
 

dickm

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jimi43":2uqoma9u said:
Strange! I replied yesterday and it has disappeared into the ether!

Sent another...let me know you got it mate.

Jim
Got it; replies send via forum and "ordinary" email.
 

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