Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This is Fun!! Happy Fourth of July

Almost Ready for Finishing
     Couldn't resist posting these unfinished box pictures, I think they're a fun use of wood and somewhat playful in design.  They're roughly 2" tall and 3" x 7".  The one thing I realize though is that even though my plan was to produce a few boxes fairly quickly and price them to be what I'd call an "impulse item"  I'm guessing there is no such thing!  That's okay with me, it really isn't about the money.  For me the creative part and the process of working with the wood is what it's all about.  These are a good case in point.  Art Espenet Carpenter said it right; Time = Care rather than the standard adage of Time = Money.
     The lids were fun to make and I'm pleased with how they came out.  Since our humidity has been so low lately I thought it would be wise to allow some space between the rabbet on the lid and the box sides.  I'd much rather have the lid fit a bit looser than not being able to take it off if the lid expands in more humid conditions.  Having never worked with these species of wood seems like a good idea.  Many times you hear arguments/discussions among woodworkers about machine work versus hand work.  The chamfer on the top of the lid was done by hand.  Doing it manually eliminates the noise, dust, and probability of burning the wood with that spinning router bit.  Really didn't take long at all.  First of, a pencil and small combination square was used to draw the line to work to:

Chamfer Lay-Out
     I was able to clamp the lid between the bench dogs at the rabbet.  This way there was no danger of the plane hitting them.  Always go across the grain first, this applies to hand work or machine work since the the grain will tend to tear out.  This tear out will be eliminated when the edges are cut.  Here's a close up of the work on an end:

Working to the Line
     What's so cool about this is that it just gets to be a matter of muscle memory.  The line drawn on the edge and face is really just a loose reference point and your objective is to move the plane at the angle so you reach both lines at the same time.  I find that I also count strokes, the ends took about 30 each.
Once they were completed the sides had to be done, this is more a visual thing than anything else.  The goal is to create a crisp, 45 degree cut from the intersection of the lines to the tip of the lid:

Have to be Ambidextrous...

to Plane with the Grain!

     It's not to difficult to see how the edge meets the chamfer planed on the end, should make a good miter.  By putting a low bench dog in the outside vise jaw I was able to plane without any interference, this is where being ambidextrous comes in handy.  I may try spraying these smaller boxes with shellac but, the weather may not cooperate with that plan.  Most recommend temps below 85 degrees or so and that's just not going to happen.  I'll do an experiment by spraying some 1/2 lb. cut through an air brush and see what the results are.  I have a gorgeous piece of Curly Maple that I'd really like to finish with super blonde Shellac --- we'll see.


  1. "Excellent workmanship, beautiful color, well balanced. Exceeded my expectations."wood works in chennai

  2. Thanks so much, you're my first international comment!! Very good to hear from you and glad you're reading my blog. I'll be blogging soon on a commission I just received for three, solid Walnut table bases. Should be interesting project. The client has some beautiful stone coffee and end tables but the bases do not match his style.