|Collage of Boxes|
Here's a sneak peek at the boxes that are almost completed. Durette, at the Urban Ranch General Store, asked for some photo's that she'll use to promote the show. I thought it would add interest to give the boxes names to identify them. The box in front is called Slanted Dovetails, on the left is Dominoes?, in the center is the Pagoda Box, and the right side one I'm calling VaVaVoom because of the lid design. The box in the rear is named in honor of the Urban Ranch so (no duh!) it's been dubbed the Urban Ranch Box. Rustic and somewhat distressed, the Knotty Pine and finger-jointed corners emulate the character of an old time general store.
Late Wednesday afternoon I heard one of my favorite sounds, the diesel roar of that UPS truck! Sure enough he had a 65 pound bundle of wood from Woodworkers Source in Phoenix. I would have loved to go there and pick it out myself but they generally do a pretty good job at it. Besides, the 5 hour, one way trip would have cost much more than the $25.00 shipping charge. Here's what I have:
|Wood for Boxes to Be|
From left to right is Brazilian Satinwood, Quarter-sawn Sycamore, Leopardwood, Macacauba, and a small 8/4 piece of Zebrawood laying on the bench. The only piece I'm less than thrilled with is the Sycamore, the quarter-sawn rays are really small. I may experiment with dying it to see what happens then.
Working on a series of boxes like this is almost, but not quite, like doing production work which I really dislike. Since there will be 4-5 examples of a particular design I need to streamline the machine phase of the operation. I don't plan to make two boxes of the exact same size but there will be variations on a theme; so to speak.
For a few boxes that will feature pinned finger joints the first step was to laminate two narrow boards together to make a piece wide enough for the lid. This was with the Macacauba, a wood I've never worked with or even knew about until I received a sale email! Beautiful, check this out:
|Macacauba being Jointed|
The coloration is stunning and since it has a very straight grain it promises to be a good match even though I can't book match the pieces. I need to yield 1/2" thick panels for the tops of these boxes.
While this is drying I began work on the ends and side pieces for the Slanted Dovetail series. They start out with a piece of 8/4 stock that is planed down to around 1 5/8". The noisy, dusty part of these is cutting the angles on the sides of them. Probably would make a safety inspector cringe but here's the set-up:
|Slanted Dovetail End Pieces|
By using the panel raising jig, a rip blade, and some clamps to secure the work; fifteen degree, angled cuts are made on the outside surface. This is the Zebrawood and you can probably tell that there is an uncut sliver of wood where the two angles don't quite meet. It's close enough though and gives me some leeway for the best part of this whole box -- planing the surfaces to reveal that beautiful grain. At this point there are side blanks cut from Maple, Cherry, and the Zebrawood. They'll be combined with contrasting wood for the box sides and lid. From here on out it's mostly hand work cutting the dovetail joints. The variation comes from where the dovetails are located on the angled ends which is the fun part. The handwork phase of woodworking is the most exciting and challenging -- one slip and it's either firewood or yet another variation on the design!