Make a Box from a Tree

A year ago our leaning chestnut tree fell – prolonged soggy conditions and the roots just couldn’t hold on any more.  See my other posts, death of a tree and still alive.  You can see it here in this picture how much it was growing at an angle.  And then when it fell, sprawled across the river (yes, the actual water of the river is down deep between the two stone walls you see in the picture – call it a moat perhaps).



I have been cutting this tree for future firewood but I did want to do a few special things with it as well.

I have discovered and now follow the work of Tom Fidgen and Peter Follansbee – two very talented wood workers who use only hand tools and older techniques.  Just click their names to see their sites and their very beautiful work.  Honourable mentions go to Chris Tribe, Paul Sellers and Shannon Rogers.

I started with my froe and split up some blanks from a 50 cm long piece of trunk.


I found that the chestnut did not split as cleanly as perhaps oak might, but I managed to find a few pieces that I could work with.  Some draw knife work and some hand planing and I managed to get a few small pieces of flat wood.

You can see in the picture below my “atelier” and the tools I used to get the blanks above and then work them into some side pieces and a thinner bottom piece.


So, I made a box.  This is also my very first experience with dovetails – perhaps I should have practiced on some softer wood first like pine but what the heck, I just kept going until I got it to what you see here.



I haven’t gone the whole nine yards with the hyde glue pot, but purchased a product from tightbond – seemed to work well.  I like the tightbond range of glues but they are hard to come by in this country and rather pricey once you find them.


The end result

Finished Chestnut Box

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5 Responses to Make a Box from a Tree

  1. Margie & Steve. (Australians) says:


  2. Matt Clarke says:

    Great work Will!!

  3. dorothyknits says:

    It’s nice to see where you were working to produce my wonderful box! Love, Nana

  4. Christa Bisanz says:

    Oh I see that the “other” Mother has laid claim to the box. Now you will have to make another one. What size is the box? Remember the music from Ahmal? This is my box……
    Well done!

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