Saturday, June 23, 2012

Extremely Labor Intensive

First Coat of Finish

     I'm not sure how others who work with wood feel about this but there are times on a project where I question the direction a project is going in.  Maybe I feel it's taking more time than I thought it would or should, maybe there's a set back or a failure, or what I envisioned in my mind is not what's happening.  Then, after working through all of those negative thoughts, I apply the first coat of finish and my vision is just as I'd anticipated.  Now all of the time spent has been justified and most of the problems are forgotten and lessons are learned.  Kind of like Marine Corps boot camp, only the good memories remain.
     The dark, reddish wood is called Macacauba and I just had a vision of brass being the perfect highlight for it.  Time consuming process because each finger was predrilled before the box was assembled to make sure they're all in the exact location.  Once the box was assembled the hole was enlarged ever so slightly so a brass screw could be inserted.  Well, brass is soft and Macacauba is hard so in my trial piece the screw twisted apart before it went in beyond the threaded part.  That added a step to the process:

Brass Screw Sequence (4 down; 48 to go!)
     I needed to cut the screw down first (right in picture) from the original 1" length (center in picture).  Then pre-drill each hole and drive the screw in until the threads were below the surface.  Next the head (left in picture) was cut off which ends up a little point at the bottom of the box.  This needs to be filed first, then sanded flush with the wood.  At the time I was wondering if it would be worth the effort but after seeing the first coat of finish I feel it was.  This process, just like so many others in woodworking, had it's finer points.  There was a fine line between the screw driven deep enough or else having the head twist off. That's what I feel makes this craft exciting, you're never really in control of what the wood wants to do. Just when you think you may have a technique figured out some bit of gnarly grain or tiny knot reacts in a way to let you know  you're really not in full control here.
     Now is time to start on the slanted dovetail series of boxes.  This style of boxes is predominately done by hand with dovetail saw and chisels.  The plan is to do one in Cherry & Leopardwood, one in Walnut & Zebrawood, and another in all Maple.  Looking forward to spending some quiet, relaxing work on those.

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