ReLMAustin

Mesquite Box

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Hi,

 

I wanted to test out how mesquite would work in my mostly hand tool shop so I made this box.

 

I got the wood from a local sawmill.  Mesquite is local and reported to be very stable so I had been considering it for larger projects.

 

I hand resawed the 4/4 into two boards about 3/8" thick.

 

The mesquite cut pretty well and planed, especially the end grain, nicely.  The issue I had was with paring action using a chisel.  The ends of the mesquite pieces just kind of crumble.  So I ended up having to fix the areas around the dovetails by glueing chips back in place.  After all the rework, the dovetails look pretty good, but I wouldn't go this route again.  I think making a box of rabbet joints would have probably worked better.

 

Another thing I found is that planning with my smoother seemed to burnish the surface.  After a couple of passes, I couldn't get a shaving to lift.  That might be my technique and less about the wood, though.

post-5347-0-38522600-1404698223_thumb.jp

post-5347-0-84750900-1404698243_thumb.jp

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Looks really nice.  I wouldn't necessarily give up on the dovetails.  I think I'd just try some other method than paring chisels.  Cut carefully with a saw and then finish with files, rasps or sanding to fit.

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Interesting reading your experiences. Lotta mesquite around here (still fighting keeping it out of my yard).

After visiting a customers ranch in South Texas about 20 years ago, I became so obsessed with the looks of this tree that I came home and found a nursery that sold them (actually they said they had the two in stock for several years and couldn't get rid of them) and I bought 2 and planted them in my yard. My yard guy doesn't like the low hanging limbs w/ the thorns but I think they look neat and any trimmings go towards flavoring steaks on the grill.

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After visiting a customers ranch in South Texas about 20 years ago, I became so obsessed with the looks of this tree that I came home and found a nursery that sold them (actually they said they had the two in stock for several years and couldn't get rid of them) and I bought 2 and planted them in my yard. My yard guy doesn't like the low hanging limbs w/ the thorns but I think they look neat and any trimmings go towards flavoring steaks on the grill.

Sounds like a good enough reason for having them :)

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Nice box! Mesquite is a short grained wood, so it can be troublesome to plane, and chips easily as you discovered. And its pretty hard too.  Probably not the best for an all hand tool project, but it sure is pretty...

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Mesquite can be a bear to chisel!  I didn't get a lot of blow out in my application (photo below) since I wasn't on end grain but found it to be quite difficult to work with compared to mahogany.  
 

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pdjms1,

Great looking waterfall table. I have a slab of pecan I want to try that on. Did you miter the ends w/ a circ saw? You might try something like this for the other leg.http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wood+waterfall+table&qpvt=Wood+Waterfall+Table&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=F28D48747AA258267E6C48B6E418AEE3F494A428&selectedIndex=12

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