Getting messy is one of the hazards that comes with making beautiful boxes. Yes, some of the exotics are hard to work and sometimes, very expensive. You need to be sure that your tools are nice and sharp before tearing into a piece of wood that has the look and character that you like. Get your broom and dust pan out, and don't worry about the mess.
Take a look at woods like Cocobola, Zebrawood, Lacewood and the like. And don't overlook the domestics. Birdseye Maple, Walnut burls and curly cherry make very nice boxes. I don't hesitate using softwoods when I make boxes. They are not usually handled, used or abused that much. Pick a wood that is appealing to the eye, and go for it.
I had a very bad exerpience with Padauk (that's the orange one if I remember correctly) I blew a bunch (of dust) up in the area and it was everywhere. Looks like paprika and a bit difficult to get out of small places. I'll have to check out the Lacewood and Cocobola. I'm trying to do dark and may try maple later. Thanks. I'll post some shots if I get something I like.
Last edited by wmpwi; 10-19-2012 at 10:20 AM.