Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Boxwood Chair Reamer

I think I have found the perfect wood for a reamer.  Sometime last year I started experimenting with making reamers from extremely dense woods.  It has become one of the things that keeps the repetitive process interesting.  I get to experiment with woods that I haven't used before, learn a little something about the working characteristics of the species, and end up with a very solid, hard wearing reamer.  Win, win, win.

I just finished up a reamer made out of an exceptional piece of boxwood and it is one of the most pleasing woods that I have had the pleasure to use.  It is heavy and hard, but cuts like butter; it is smooth and seemingly indifferent to which direction the grain is flowing.  It holds exceptional detail and your fingers can sense the hardness as they touch the surface.  I think I'm in love.

Macassar Ebony Reamer.
I didn't have time to take pictures of it, but I also made one out of Macassar Ebony.  Thankfully it went to a student of Greg Pennington's and Greg got a good shot of it in use with lasers running up both sides to dial in the right angle.  The ebony is even more dense than the boxwood; it sinks in water.  But it isn't as friendly to work with.

I've only made a handful of these super dense reamers and until now I've sold them to people who are already on my wait list.  But, if you are considering ordering a reamer and are interested in a specialty wood, let me know, and I'll let you know what material I have that is properly acclimated.

The boxwood reamer pictured throughout this post is already spoken for and headed to Australia tomorrow.  I have one more perfect boxwood blank and three pieces of Macassar ebony on hand which are all ready to throw on the lathe and make into reamers.  The price for these ultra hard reamers is $185.  I make the reamers to order, so please enquire if interested.

I just started another special batch of reamers today and they'll be ready to ship in time for the holidays.  More about them later this week.


  1. Wow these look great! I'm brand new to chair building, what tool do you recommend for tapering the posts/beams that go into the reamed holes?

  2. Welcome to the weird world where everything is curved, nothing is flat, and 90 degrees is your nemesis. I use a rounder plane that I made from a wood scrap and a frog and blade from a No. 5 Stanley plane. Here is the link to a post about it

    I'm about to start experimenting with rounder planes a bit more. There will be more on the blog as I play around with them and learn a little bit more about what makes an exceptional one.

  3. Tim,
    Are you familiar with a broad-leaf evergreen called Photinia? As I was reading your description of boxwood it reminded me of this. It almost doesn't need a finish as it has a very slick waxy feel to it. It is commonly planted as a hedge / shrub hence I've rarely seen it used in woodworking.

    Anyhow, my parents have 20 or 30 plants bordering their property and so I have a chance to work with it occasionally for small things. I got a few nice chunks when they had a tree or two removed. If you have access to any and get a chance to work with it I'd be interested to hear what you think.

    Love your blog also.