I love the aroma of freshly worked walnut lumber; it has a certain richness like none other. It brings back fond memories of my high school woodshop class. Walnut was always the premium choice of lumber for projects and just about always commanded an A+. Although cherry, especially gummy cherry, resides at the top of my list of favorite lumber to work with, walnut comes in at an extremely close second. With well-sharpened tools, it’s a dream.
Before cutting into my stock of walnut, I rummaged through my book collection and poked around the Internet, hoping for inspiration. I happened upon the most intriguing design for a box and a lovely pattern of a thistle. I had never carved a thistle before, and that scalloped skirt looked like it would be fun.
Having determined the overall dimensions of my walnut box, I hacked off the appropriate length to begin the carving phase.
Not wanting to attempt a direct copy, I opted for one thistle on the front of my box. The carving went well. I just had to stretch things out a bit.
Although carving is absent from the sides of a lot of extant 17th-century boxes, I feel compelled to add at least some. The sides of this box will be sporting not-so-simple quatrefoils.
With the carving accomplished, it’s time to start building a box. Stay tuned!