Another Small Box, Continued

Picking up where I left off, yesterday, the top was cut and fitted. It was attached to the hinge cleats with 1/8″ pins. Per usual, it was slathered with boiled linseed oil and turpentine, and allowed to dry in the sun.


As I mentioned earlier, this carving pattern is known as arcading or nulling. Nulling is simply a series of niches with rounded tops, resembling a row of Norman windows set high in the clerestory of a cathedral.


Nulling is a relatively early pattern, found on table boxes and top rails of paneled coffers. It declined in popularity during the second half of the seventeenth century.


With another box added to my collections, I guess it’s back to the spoons!



Another Small Box

I seem to have a lot of projects going at the same time. I’m making quite a few Christmas ornaments and more than a few spoons. So why not start another small box?


Using a 1/2″ thick by 2-1/4″ wide oak stick, I laid out parts for the carcass.


After setting a 3/16″ margin, top, and bottom, I methodically plotted elements of an arcading or nulling pattern.


This pattern alternates between hollows and bevels.


Once the carving was completed, I cut out the parts and formed the carcass. When the glue dried on the carcass, I cut and attached a 1/4″ poplar bottom, and made the hinge cleats. Unfortunately, I ran out of daylight before getting the top fitted.


I guess I’ll just have to start up again in the morning!

Who Would’ve Thought

I have built many things over the years. From simple boxes to complicated furniture pieces. From shop jigs and fixtures to hand tools. I even mastered a spring pole lathe and a hand-cranked drill press. However, the last few days have been quite a challenge. I decided to add a few spoons to my collection for the upcoming Artist Market. Nothing fancy … just a few wooden spoons.

I have to go on record saying that spoons are very hard to make. My hat is off the all the spoon carvers out there. Especially the ones that make it look easy!

In my opinion, spoon making is the quintessential art of woodworking. I’ve come to learn that there are as many ways to make a spoon as there are folks making spoons. There is no right or wrong way. Perhaps this is what makes it hard. It may be a while before this old joiner becomes an artist. I will keep at it because, well, even though spoon making is a challenge, it is quite cathartic.

With all that said, I decided to use the methods prescribed by Paul Sellers. I used dried lumber and formed my spoon with a gouge, card scraper, coping saw, and file.


I chose a 3/4″ thick piece of clear cherry, 2-1/2″ wide by 12″ long. Having made a template I laid it out on the board. Then, using a 20mm #7 gouge, I hollowed out the bowl of the spoon.


I then removed the gouge marks with a curved card scraper.


At this point, I simply cut out the spoon shape with a coping saw and refined the shape with a rasp and file. I used a chisel to remove the bulk of the waste. After several hours of refining and remarking and refining again, I ended up with two spoons and a spatula.


Now that Michael has passed through the area, I’ll go in search of some downed limbs and try this with green wood.



Christmas Ornaments

Jennifer, a young friend of mine, has agreed to show her work at the upcoming Artist Market. She paints with acrylics and is quite the artist. Just the other day she posted on Instagram a Chrismas ornament she had painted on wood.

JD Ornament

I thought I would follow suit and carve a few Christmas ornaments to add to my collection of wares. I had already planned to do some carving at the show as a demonstration. What better way to accomplish this than by carving ornaments to sell.

RA Ornament

This little guy measures 1/4″ thick x 5″ wide x 3″ high and is in poplar. I will be carving a long board of lunettes and then cutting each ornament on site.

Six-Board Coffer Complete

I do believe fitting the till is the most challenging part of building any coffer or box. The three parts of the till are simply pinched between the front and back. Holding all the parts while putting everything together is quite a ballet. Sometimes it makes me think our forefathers had extra sets of hands.


Once the till parts were fitted, I pinched them between the front and back and held everything together with wrought iron nails. The top is secured via pintle and red oak hinge cleats. The coffer measures 11-1/4″ D x 26-1/2″ W x 20-1/4″ H.


Per usual it was slathered with boiled linseed oil and turpentine (50:50), and set in the sun to darken.


This was such a fun build, I may consider adding another one to the collection. I wonder if I can carve Ambrosia maple?


What to Do With Six Cherry Boards

I just obtained a copy of John Fiske’s When Oak Was New – English Furniture & Daily Life 1530 – 1700. It is a treasure trove of 16th and 17th-century furniture. I love this book. The blend of history and photos is awesome. It is a wonderful read.


Being inspired by John’s presentation of traditional storage furniture, I decided to add a six-board coffer to my collection of wares. The construction is rather straightforward; two sides, a back, a front, a floor, and a top.

With the sides, back, and floor cut and fitted, I started carving the front. The sides of this particular coffer will remain plain, or un-carved. I laid down a thumbnail pattern along the centerline of the front.


I then carved thumbnail squares to either side of the center.


A lozenge pattern was then added to the center of these two squares. Rondels were then added to the center of the lozenges.


I think the multitude of thumbnails adds an elegant flair to this simple six-board coffer. I have planned for a pine till inside, which still needs to be fitted. There will be red-oak hinge cleats. I should be able to have this coffer pinned together in a few days, at which time it will be slathered with boiled linseed oil and turpentine, and allowed to soak up some sun.


More Treenware

I added a couple more pieces of treenware to my collection for the upcoming Artist Market. A five-board stool. Similar stools with the same general design were made as wide as three feet. This one measures 19″ W x 8″  D x 9″ H.

Vermont Footstool

Also, a Country Silverware Tray in pine, measuring 14″ W x 9″ D x 6″ H. This somewhat odd and rustic design is based on one, of an early design, found in southern New England. These two items will complete the treenware collection, for this show.

Silver Tray

When I was planing my white oak landing (trivet), I had a little tear-out. I decided to add a bit of carving to correct that!

Oak Landing

I think I will spend the rest of the month working on a small boarded coffer. I just need to decide on ash or cherry … decisions, decisions!