Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm Going to Start with a Riddle!

     What possible connection could there be between this picture:

1950 Ford
       and this one?

Contour Box Lid
     Give up?  It's a stretch to solve that one!  That's me with my very first car; a 1950 Ford 4 door sedan with a flathead V-8.  I talked my Dad into towing it home before I even had a license, it cost me $10.00 at the time but didn't run.  I had my license about 6 months later and the car was up and running.  The connection -- it's the sanding block in my hand.  That's the same one I used to completely wet sand that car by hand before painting it a Cadillac Mist Green.  That car was one of six I had before I turned 18 and enlisted in the Marine Corps.  Also had two motorcycles (BSA & Triumph).  I loved buying cheap, working on the engine, then sell it and move on to the next project.  Definitely kept me out of trouble, most of the time.
     I'm working on two boxes of Curly Maple and decided to call them Contour Lines,  here's why:

Contour Lines Lid

     If you've ever looked at a topographic map you'll recognize and understand why I'm calling them Contour Lines box.  I usually use 320 wet/dry paper to apply the first coat of Danish oil and didn't want to lose the crispness of the corners.  I remembered where the old, hard rubber block was and figured it's the perfect way to work the lid.  I'll also be using it for applying the top coats.  The boxes for these have finger jointed construction and used up the last of my curly Maple.
     While I was working on these I also completed the large and small boxes for the Urban Ranch series.  Figured that since the finger joint jig was set up, might as well be efficient and cut these as well.  If you recall, those were designed in honor of the gallery that's holding the box show, The Urban Ranch General Store.  The most difficult step to these boxes is beating them up to achieve an aged look.  To that the collection of nuts, cotter pins, and chain is used.  Have to admit though it is kind of cleansing to beat the #*(^%(%$* out of them!

Distressing to Create the Aged Pine Look

     It just goes against my sense of quality but I know it's good to add the character to this series.  It seems that after using block planes and the cabinet scraper to work all of the surfaces smooth you shouldn't be beating them up.

Trimming Finger Joints Smooth

     The first coat of oil was applied this afternoon and they will be distressed but smooth, no splinters or tears allowed here.  One of the fun things I get to do on these boxes is decide exactly where in the board the parts will be cut from.  With the first box, I just happened to step on a knot that fell out and was inspired to use it as the knob.  Didn't happen to have the same luck on these so I decided I'd just have to cut my own.

Knob Strategy

    The box on the left is the completed, medium sized Urban Ranch and you can see how that knot/handle almost looks like a branch.  Pretty ironic, usually you try to avoid knots in your work but in this case I was looking for them!  What I did was to take the piece you see in the vise and cut an angled yet square cut.  The back of the knob has to be smooth so the Gorilla glue can make a good bond.

Temporarily Taped in Place
      All that was left was to cut a shape that seemed "knob like" with a jig saw and then chamfer and smooth the edges to make it touchable.  Here you can see the way the knots and grain was selected for the front and lid of this small box.  I've always seen faces, animals, trees, whatever in the grain patterns of wood which is probably one of the reasons I'm so fascinated with wood in general.

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