Now What?

With a freshly tuned rip saw, I worked my way through a piece of walnut, for a bottom and the two tops, 1/4-inch and 7/16-inch respectively.

After a bit of creativity with a coping saw, and a great deal of tweaking with chisel and rasp, I had a box!

Unable to leave a blank surface, I grabbed my carving tools!

I think the S-scrolls compliment the cutout at the bottom quite well. You?

Intending for this to be a jewellery box, I decided to add a small sliding tray. The tray is still a work in progress, so please don’t be too critical. LOL! With a bit more futzing and the usual slathering of boiled linseed oil and turpentine, I’ll call this box done and add it to the wareroom.

It’s been a rather productive seven weeks. My bench has seen the completion of the sliding top box, a small picture frame, my “End of the World” box, and this little jewellery box, and all the while warding off the indignant stares coming from the 8/4 red oak waiting to become part of a three-legged joined chair. I’m just wondering what else I can build before giving in to the inevitable?

More Trash to Treasure!

As I was cleaning up after the completion of my “end of the world” project, I discovered a few sizable pieces of red oak, lodged under my bench.

Hearing the voice of my father, ‘waste not, want not’, I decided to turn them into a little something. Quickly realising my “little something” might require something more, I continued my scrounging and came up with a lovely piece of walnut.

To demonstrate my abject insanity, I decided to cut some half-blind dovetails in the red oak!

With the dovetails a success, I added grooves and rebates for a bottom.

To help with levelling, later on, I created four “feet” by adding a little detail to the front and back, cutting it with a coping saw.

Well, it looks like my “little something” is going to be yet another box, a red oak carcase with a walnut top and bottom. But, before I can add a 1/2″ thick top and 1/8″ bottom in walnut, I need to give the old rip saw a tune-up!

Back in a few!

Something Different

While the glue dried on the carcase, I thought I’d try something a little different with this box. Having made a version of wood dye, from ground walnut hulls, I decided to slather a bit on the poplar lid and bottom, in the hopes of offering some semblance of age. As the pieces soaked-up the dye, I fashioned a pair of hinge cleats from a stick of pine.

The poplar most definitely darkened, making the walnut look rather anaemic! But, after affixing the hinge cleats with glue and wooden pegs, I slathered the whole box with boiled linseed oil and turpentine, and things evened out just fine! Once the aroma of turpentine withers, I’ll add this box to the wareroom.

I guess it’s now time to sweep up and figure out what’s next!

Really Scary!

Since my last post, the World Health Organization has confirmed an additional 205,000 cases of COVID-19. The death toll is nearing 25,000. With almost 70 cases and one death in my immediate area, things have become rather scary! All we can do is continue our social distancing and pray for things to get better. To keep my mind occupied, I continue to work on my walnut box.

Sawing through the carved board is quite unnerving, but what an exercise in improving ones saw skills!

With the individual parts freed, I cut rebates and formed the pintles. Then grooves and dados were cut for the till. Usually, the till is of pine, but in this case, I used some resawn mahogany. Why not?

Once the till parts are wedged nicely between the front and back, and a little glue applied at the corners, clamps help assure squareness until nails can secure things properly.

In the next day or so, I will nail on the bottom and attach the lid via hinge cleats. Stay tuned!

Gettin' Closer!

Social distancing, self-quarantine, curfews, the threat of martial law, and no toilet paper, things are getting scarier by the hour. At last count, my Covid-19 tracker showed 344,752 confirmed cases with 14,862 deaths worldwide. I pray that the powers-to-be know what they are doing. I am thankful for the members of the medical community fighting for answers. I guess all we can do at this point is to be pragmatic. Wash our hands often and try to stay out of harm’s way!

Being retired, I’m quite used to the home front. My bride is now able to work from home a couple of days a week. So, we are enjoying each other’s company, as we often do. Being homebodies, we have not experienced the ill-effects of social distancing. We do however miss being able to attend church. Hopefully, this will change sooner than later.

Continuing with my End-of-the-World project, I managed to complete the carving phase. The rain has moved in again, stealing my precious light. We should have sunshine soon, though, and I can start turning this carved board into a box.

So, despite the rain and these scary times, have Faith and know that God is watching over us all.

End of the World Project

The other day, Bill Lattanzio, The Slightly Confused Woodworker published, Seeking a Woodworking Project for the End of the World, lamenting the woes of shop reorganization and the trials and tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to Bill’s post, I told him that I was starting a carved box and asked him to join me. He agreed.

My “End of the World Project” will be a, 13″ deep by 25″ wide by 9″ high, carved box in walnut with perhaps a linden top and bottom. Grabbing a piece of chalk, I sketched out some inverted lunettes and S-scrolls on the front and sides and immediately started carving.

There’s nothing to it really, just place the gouge in the right spot and give it a whack with a mallet!

Perhaps you’d like to join us. Grab a gouge or two and get to work. Who knows how much time we have left!

Trash or Treasure?

Having completed the construction of my gummy cherry and mahogany sliding-top box, I slathered on some boiled linseed oil and turpentine and placed in the sun for a few hours. Allowing it to dry, I decided to clean up the shop a bit. I was amazed at the amount of waste produced while building such a little box.

It doesn’t matter how well I think I have tidied up; there will always be that errant stick of a board laying around. This cleaning session was no different. Wedged under the bench were a few sticks of linden. They were too big to throw away and yet not enough there with which to do anything substantial.

But au contraire, after practising with some grooves, a few mortise and tenon joints, and of course a couple of tried and true carving patterns, I found myself making a picture frame!

At first, I thought of simply cutting a piece of hardwood for a panel and carving it as well. Then it dawned on me! Why not insert a mirror? A large mirror will not only aid in dovetailing but will help with resawing.

Now, as soon as I can get to the hardware store for a piece of mirrored glass, the sooner I can return my bride’s hand mirror.

My Old Friend

Mother Nature smiled upon me with a yet another beautiful day. I felt compelled to build a drawer before I slept. Getting an early start, I ripped some 3/8″ thick pine and laid out tails for half-blind dovetails.

The pins in the mahogany drawer front are a bit more challenging, especially at this small size. But with a little patience, I achieved satisfactory results. I end my half-blind dovetails with a tail, as to allow for the rebate to receive the drawer bottom. If you recall, the bottom, in this case, is mahogany; leftover from resawing the lid.

After some gentle persuasion, things went together well, and my sliding-top box was sporting a half-blind dovetailed drawer.

To keep the drawer from arbitrarily sliding out, I devised a simple locking mechanism.

And with that, it’s over. The very next sunny day will see a slathering of boiled linseed oil and turpentine. The cherry will bake in the sun, taking on that unique patina. The mahogany should darken to a deep maroon. Then it’s off to the selling table. For me, satisfaction is in the construction. Each piece is dear to me, having spent so many hours with it. I find it somewhat sad when a project comes to a close. It may sound strange to some, but when a piece does finally leave my shop, it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.