Friday, April 19, 2013

It's All About the Wood

     I spent a couple of hours this morning preparing stock to make more boxes for the Etsy Store.  This is that "grunt work" portion requiring mostly power tools.  It starts off by hand as I plane one working edge to guide the wood safely on the table and band saws.  Then comes the ripping to width, followed by re-sawing to get the required thinner material, which is followed up by a pass or two on the surface planer.  What you're looking at (from left to right) is Curly Cherry, Quarter-Sawn White Oak, more of the Cherry, then Lacewood.  These will become the sides of the boxes.  The roughly formed end pieces are Walnut and Sapele.  I'm completely sold out of this style of box:

     It's been a good seller and is one of my original designs.  I really like the play between the angles of the dovetails and the angles of the side pieces.

View from the Outfeed Side of the Saw

     Making the side piece for that style  is somewhat tricky.  The box above is the trickiest because it requires that the rip fence is on the left side of the blade.  That's not the side it's customarily on so it feels kind of awkward!  Definitely need to use a push stick and a feather board.  The off cut piece tends to lodge between the blade and the opening in the throat plate.

     The other style is a bit more straight forward and is cut with a panel raising jig, this time on the customary side of the blade.

Forming the Side Pieces
     You can see the basic profiles created this way.  They will be modified to suit not only my design but mostly to take advantage of the woods beauty.

Side Profiles
     Thankfully, the remaining work on these boxes is hand work.  The profiles of the side pieces will be planed to remove all of the saw marks.  Then all pieces will be cut to size and the hand cut dovetails laid out and cut.  Creative knobs will finish off the lids and these will be ready to add to the store after finishing.
     When we had our discussion at Sin City Woodworkers meeting last Wednesday pricing our work was a big part of it.  In my experience your best bet is to somewhat mass produce the phase of making boxes.  The majority of my work is done by hand which, no matter how you look at it; is time consuming.  I can maximize my time by cutting enough material with the power tools to make multiple boxes.  Then, between students and any other job that may come up, I can spend that quiet shop time carefully creating them by hand --- just as God intended!

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