Thursday, July 05, 2012
Sure, I can make it!
Someone stopped by the shop a few weeks ago, asking if I could turn one of his carvings into a wine box. My motto is - sure, I can make it! I had no idea what to expect - when some people call themselves carvers, their work turns out to be... well, whittles.
Imagine my surprise when he showed up with this.
It measures about eight by fourteen inches.
He had picked out the box material, as well - in this case, a nice piece of walnut. I like to use a solid board, so that the grain matches and wraps all the way around the box. When I was a rookie woodworker, I would use four pieces of whatever I had laying around. Big mistake. If you're going to go to the trouble of making a box, why would you want to do anything but that?
All I seem to be making these days is boxes. Funny, sometimes months will go by without anyone requesting one. This month? Box-mania.
Rough cut the board to manageable pieces,
and then set the blade to 45 degrees.
When you have an edge straight from the mill, you'll want to rough cut that board a little longer, in case there are some cracks on the end of the board.
You'll want to trim those off. Way off.
Cut a miter on one end of each board,
and then mark your pieces for their second cut, which will determine the length of the box.
Use a stop block clamped to the miter gauge fence, so that you cut your pieces to the proper length. Remember, the two sides are the exact same length, and the front and back are the same length.
All that is left to do is cut the grooves (they're called dados) for the top and bottom panels.
Once everything is cut, do a dry fit to make sure your miters close up.
I've found that being very methodical about gluing helps make the process go smoothly. After doing a test fit, I "explode" the box open, so that the parts are arranged exactly how they should be glued together. I can't tell you how easy it is to screw something up at this point.
This might be my five-thousandth box - I wish I'd kept track of every one that I've made. My family and friends have boxes of mine from various stages of my career, and I cringe when I look at some of them!
And yes, I can make your iPod sing.
I'll post pictures when the box is hinged - I think it's going to be fabulous!