Sunday, July 16, 2023

Castle Craft to the rescue

My current project has proven challenging, but mostly because I'm working with some unfamiliar guidelines that have to be observed. The urn I'm building is heading to Italy soon, to be put into a vault that won't be opened for 99 years. So it needs to stand up to humidity, time, temperature fluctuations and more. 

After a ton of research, I've built the base with virtually no glue. All of the joints are pinned with dowels, so that even when the glue disintegrates, the dowels will keep everything together. 

All of the joinery is locked together, 

incorporated with lips, so that when the wood shrinks or swells, no gaps will allow the contents to escape.  

Like I said - it's been a challenge. 

But the lid has been even trickier. I wanted to incorporate a curve into the lid, 

and again - not using any glue makes this a tough build. I experimented with doweling a lid together, with angles cut into the 4 pieces.

 But scrapped that idea. 

I've said it before - it takes a village.

  So I reached out to Rick at Castle Craft, and he suggested cutting the curve on a solid piece on his CNC.  

It's virtually - the exact opposite of the base that I employed on the box. 

I'm not sure if this video will load, but here's the CNC machining that curve. 

He came up with a simple plan for curving the lid, and frankly - I was happy to not have to pull out my hand planes and create that curve by hand. 

Like I said - this project has been challenging, but maybe I have a good excuse... 

I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, so this may have to be shelved for a while. Between the AWFS show in about 10 days, and helping out at a friend's cabinet shop, I'll barely be putting in any time in my own shop. 

Maybe that's a good thing!

Stay cool, everyone

Friday, July 07, 2023

Cedar of Lebanon - aroma of the gods

They say that our sense of smell is one of the most accurate senses we possess. Certain smells can transport us back to various times in our past. I can remember the smell of beef stew in my mom's kitchen,  or - this is going WAY back - I can remember the aroma from our neighbor baking cookies, with cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the apartment we lived in. I might have been 3 or 4 years old.

Not to mention coffee... if I smell it across the house, it almost instantly perks me up!

Bacon? Forgetaboutit!

So close your eyes for a second and imagine the sweetest smelling wood you can imagine. Have you ever walked into a room where someone has just cut some pine, or sassafras, where the room is fragrant with the aroma of freshly sawn wood? 

That's what my shop has smelled like all week. 

I'm working on an urn that will eventually end up in Italy, in a mausoleum wall. I'm not sure of the logistics and laws, but it's my understanding it will stay sealed for 99 years, at which time it may be removed or rehoused. So this container needs to last. And not deteriorate too badly.

According to tradition that my client has researched, the urn should be made from Cedar of Lebanon, which is the source of the aroma wafting from my shop. 

I'm not sure how to describe it, and even less certain where to find it. He located a slab in Northern California, and had it resawn and brought it to my shop, where it has been stored, drying slowly.

And here's some guidance of what he wants built. 

Early Dynastic Coffin by Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum 

I'll be building a more contemporary version of this in the next week or two, along with a crate in which this urn will travel. So - two boxes out of this lovely wood. 

Close your eyes and imagine the aroma... it's pretty amazing.