Thursday, August 30, 2012

Latest Box, Sneak Peek

     Sometimes as we work by ourselves, enjoying the solitude of the shop and becoming completely immersed in what we're doing you get the urge to share your work.  This is not an ego thing or being a braggart; it's just that you're really pleased with how something you envisioned in your mind actually turned out.  That's this box here, it's a take on the slanted dovetail series but the sides are inverted.  Here's the first peek at it:

Called the BowTie Box
Long View
     This idea has been in my head since the first of the slanted dovetail series of boxes.  In my mind it seemed doable although not too easy.  I believe in challenging myself and this design did that.  The first step in the process was to cut the side piece from some 1 1/4" Walnut.  My saw blade tilts left so I needed to place the rip fence on the left side of the blade to avoid trapping the off-cut and risk the possibility  of it shooting back.  This was a 20 degree angle and I used a rip blade for this task.  Now I needed to remove the marks made be the blade during this step.

The best way to take care of that was with a card scraper. It was a bit tricky drawing the scraper without messing up the intersection of the two angled cuts.  Here's a close up taken during that process.  I'll need to burnish the scraper after this but for the most part I created a lot of nice curls.

Working on the Sides

     Next up was to figure out how to lay out the dovetails to really make this box unique.  The contrasting wood used in this box is Brazilian Satinwood and it really is quite a contrast to the Walnut!  To figure out a pleasing tail lay out an off-cut was traced on a piece of graph paper and then I played around with a couple of different lay outs.  Once that was done it's time to cut the tails.  I generally cut both sides at the same time.

Tail Lay-Out
     It's always wise to do something to mark the waste area -- I'd bet that everyone who's ever cut dovetails is guilty of removing the wrong part!  You'll notice I cut the shoulder which really helps make a tighter fit, in this case I wish I would have made it a bit deeper.
     After the tails were cut, chiseled, and squared it was time to transfer them to the side pieces.

Transferring Tails
     After the lines are scribed there's a technique I use to help me see the required lines.  You know that being a retired teacher I'm bound to have some chalk. By simply rubbing the chalk on the piece and then wiping off the excess it'll stay in the lines and make it easier to see.

Chalk Enhanced Lines
     You can see it works better on the end grain than it does on the face but it really helps you see the line to cut to.  As always, when cutting the pin board you cut inside the line.  Chopping out this uneven tail is somewhat challenging.  I had anywhere from a half an inch to 1 1/4" to remove.  After the saw cuts were done, you need to use a piece of the off-cut ripped out of sides to secure the piece down for chiseling.

Chiseling the Pins

     You may notice there is an extra cut in the middle of the material being removed.  I've found that it's easier that way.  Work continued and once completed the box was glued together.  I almost always use a cabinet glue from Lee Valley for my work but for this project decided to try Gorilla Glue.  That's always my choice for book matched panels and it's never failed me so thought I'd use it on this glue up as well.                    
     As that was drying I worked on the lid for this box.  I've mentioned that many times the amount of wood I have will determine how it's used.  In this instance I had one small piece of the Brazilian Satinwood left.  It was hot glued onto two pieces of walnut to create a "sandwich", then that was cut on the bandsaw and reassembled so it looked like this:

Completed Bow Tie Lid
     This was after it had been planed smooth, you can see I'm laying out the cuts so that the design is centered.  This was a good planing process, starting with the cabinet scraper, then the jointer plane, and finally the smooth plane to get it smooth.  It's always enjoyable to me; that planing process where you put that final, smooth surface on your wood.

Tools for Surfacing

     At this point, the rabbets have been cut into the lid, the bottom has been glued in to place, and all that's left is the final smoothing and finish.  That will have to wait until tomorrow morning, the humidity is up again and my perspiration is causing the wood to swell, after all; it is the monsoon season.


  1. That is a nice looking box! It has nice joinery and a attractive design.

    1. Thanks, it was fun to create it and I too like how it came out. Never used the Brazilian Satinwood before and it has some real subtle chatoyance which I hope to bring out as I add in the hand rubbed finish.