Corporate Member
I need to finish this box before the AAW Symposium. Which finial is the question? And, thoughts on a finish to apply. All the wood is raw right now.

1 is a dogwood finial
2&3 are walnut finials
Top is spalted maple
Box is something from Hawaii. Turns harder than hickory but leaves a nice finish surface.




Board of Directors, Development Director
Staff member
Corporate Member
3 is best to me. I like the contrast and the shape is better than 2. It would be nice to see the shape in 3 with the same wood s the box

Stuart Kent

Senior User
3. although I would like to see something with more defined shapes, and maybe I think a 'less is more' approach would be right for this box


New User
I prefer the clean and smooth look of all 3 finials without any of the additional "more defined elements". You kept it simple.

Box is something from Hawaii. Turns harder than hickory but leaves a nice finish surface.
You bought a turning blank in Hawaii and had no idea what wood species it is and no one could tell you the species?


Recovering tool addict
Corporate Member
And, thoughts on a finish to apply. All the wood is raw right now.
If you're in a hurry, shellac (first choice) or pre-cat lacquer. You can apply several coats in a matter of hours, with maybe a light sanding after the first coat and an even lighter sanding before the last coat.

Oil can look wonderful but takes a long time to cure, and never finish the inside with oil of course....the smell never goes away.


Corporate Member
RE: "bought a piece".
It was a gift. I visited Emalino Achaval's shop when we cruised to/through Hawaii in December/January 2017/18. He gave me the wood, told me what it was and said make a box and send him a picture. Being old and on a cruise ship, the brain cell where the wood type was recorded shorted to ground pretty quick. Since he well be demo'ing in Raleigh at the AAW, I thought I would just take it to show him.

I'm pretty sure it is not Koa. Before turning this block was really red (heart) wood with really white (sap) wood. The sap wood was lost in prepping the blank. Turning really changed the color from red to brown.

And, dearly beloved likes the stuff shiny.

Lacquer is how I usually keep dearly beloved engaged enough to let me buy more tools. New Jorgy clamps today (2nd set) for my birthday.

Being an engineer, I have no idea what you mean by, "... something with more defined shapes...", and "...less is more...". Unless you mean a round knob?

I tried to make another finial from the cutoff's from the blank. It was all edge grain and I couldn't keep it from shattering during turning.

I dyed all three finials black. Really does make the spalting come to life. There was some blue spalting right at the top but it faded overnight.

Seems the guys like #3. The women I asked wanted #2.

Thanks all.

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Just curious. Are you donating these to the AAW Beads of Courage program? Knowing you, I assume yes


Corporate Member
The box is only about 2.5" dia. X 3" tall. I believe that is much too small for Beads of Courage.

FWIW, this is my first lidded box.

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