Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Small Box

A week or so ago I decided to try my hand at making something that wasn't Pine. I have a crate full of small pieces of Mahogany, Oak and various other hard woods, none of which are large enough to make furniture.

While most of the pieces are small they are however quite thick, around 19mm (3/4"). I therefore decided to try my hand at re-sawing a piece of Mahogany and White Oak to make a simple Jewellery box.

The only saw I had at the time (my panel saws were away being sharpened) was my Irwin pull saw which allowed me to get a semi decent cut on each piece. 

I did have to plane the cut surfaces quite heavily to remove the saw marks that resulted from constantly turning the piece while sawing and sometimes correcting my inaccuracy. Also, almost immediately after being cut both the Mahogany and the Oak cupped quite badly. 

I removed most of this cupping with a plane and ended up with my two long and two short  sides of the box all of which were reasonably square and true..

I decided to stay with box joints as they are quite familiar now and I still haven't plucked up the courage to delve into Dovetails.

I used my new Lie Nielson shoulder plane to rabbit the two long sides of the box to accept a simple 6mm plywood base. 

All the cutting went well and the dry fit looked good. Unfortunately, that's where the project came to a halt as I was then away for a week down on the boat in Brighton. 

Once I did get back I was keen to finish the box, but to my surprise the pieces had all cupped and bowed again, making the joinery less than perfect. A better man than I could've probably re-surfaced and trued up the wood but, to be honest by this point I'd lost interest. I figured I would go ahead and glue it up and forget the lid that I had planned and just see how it turned out.

The two personal lessons to be learnt here are, firstly, from now on I will make sure I don't wait too long before glueing freshly cut  parts, especially once the joinery has been cut.

And secondly ... I need to work on another essential wood working skill called patience. I have noticed that once a project is well underway, I start getting excited and racing to see the completed object. 

At the moment I mentally need to start and finish things and stay in the 'zone'. I would be completely useless doing a large project spread out over a large period of time unless I could work regularly on it almost daily.

Anyway, it was another learning experience and the box has now found a home on my girlfriends dressing table so it hasn't been completely wasted.

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