Tobacco Stick Heirloom Boxes

August 11, 2011


This project has a lot of history behind it. My two brothers and I grew up helping our dad out in the tobacco fields in South Georgia, just as he had grown up helping his father, and so on and so forth for generations. Tobacco has always been a part of our farming heritage and, to me, a symbol of the hard work and dedication that we each learned from working those long hours in the summer heat. So when I got my hands on several tobacco sticks, which had been used to cure tobacco before bulk barns became popular, I knew what I had to do with them. These sticks, about one inch around and four feet long, had been found sitting in a nearly-destroyed old farmhouse nearby. At first they weren’t much to look at, but, after running them through a planer, decades of dirt and grime came off to reveal the beautiful aged wood underneath.

So, after laminating the planed sticks together to form my own boards, I crafted them into these two boxes, one for each of my brothers. Laminating the sticks together really enhanced the natural grain variations in the wood.

All of the brass hardware was mortised in with a hand chisel. And of course no family heirloom would be complete without a brass engraved nameplate.

It made me very proud to be able to use that wood that my father and grandfather had depended on for their livelihood to make these heirloom boxes, which I hope will continue to be handed down to future generations and serve as a reminder of our heritage of hard work and dedication.

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