This is an article I wrote for a club newsletter. The two boxes featured are also shown in My Projects. I thought that you might like to read some additional comments on their construction. For those of you not familiar with the metric system, I’ll let you do your own conversion.
This first box came about as a result of a friend’s invitation to his birthday bash and his comment, “How about one of those boxes you make?”
So here it is – nothing too special. But it’s the first box I’ve made with totally hand cut dovetails – no jigs, no band-saw, just chisel, mallet, and Lie Nielsen Dovetail saw. I’m pleased with the results.
The dimensions are: 9mm x 132mm x 82mm.
The primary wood is from a hunk of re-cycled River Gum bench-top given to me by friend. The tray frame is Blackwood, the contrasting mitered trim on the bottom side of the lid is Tassie Oak, and the burl veneer is Amboyna. Oh yes, the lid tab is Ebony with a dovetailed shape mortised into the lid.
Cutting the mortise for the Brusso Lid Support was a real challenge. The walls of the box are 10mm thick. The support is 8mm thick. This requires a very delicate mortise. When cutting out the mortise with a chisel, I had to reinforce the sides of the wood by placing it deep in my bench vise to stop the 1mm sides from breaking through. (Next time I will know better and use wood that is at least 12mm thick.) Before I encountered this challenge, I reasoned that 10mm thick wood would reduce some of the weight of the River Gum.
The hardware is from Lee Valley; the box is lined with black velvet. The small knob of the tray, repeats the design feature of the lid tab. It makes removing the tray possible as the fit is so close, air pressure forms a vacuum.
By the way – as my friend is male – my design is intentionally masculine.
The second box is inspired by one that is shown in Taunton’s Complete Illustrated
Guide to Box Making, by Doug Stowe, page 97. There are no drawings or dimensions given in this publication, so this is my interpretation.
I continue on my quest to make perfect hand made dovetails, but I’m not there yet. The ones in the top four corners are mitered dovetails, a first for me, and a little trickier than standard through dovetails.
I cut the top away on the table saw after joining up the four sides. Each of the three drawers and the top shelf have slightly different divider configurations to accommodate a variety of jewelry items.
I find the secret to good looking dividers is choosing the right wood. I like to use something in the white color range and with very straight grain. I don’t think there is any point in using a wood with a complex grain or that is the same colors as the primary wood. If the box has an interesting grain, I don’t want the dividers to compete with this. They should be simple, plain and dead accurate in terms of their angles, and joinery. Otherwise, they detract from the main game.
The drawer dividers are removable so that the felt liners may be removed for cleaning or replacement. The Ebony handles are press fit into mortises (no glue). I hope they hold. The dimensions of the box are: Width 325 x Depth 200 x Height 180mm (not including the base). The wood is 15mm thick which resolves the problem of the mortise for the lid support.
The primary wood is nicely figured Queensland Maple (Flindersia Breyleyana). The dividers and drawer sides are European Beech with Solomon Island Ebony drawer handles (Ebenaceae, Magnoliophyta, order Ebenales, class Magnoliopsida). The grain of the Maple runs continuously around the box, but this is not that noticeable when interrupted by the drawers and dovetails. The 10mm Concealed Barrel Hinges and Brusso Lid Support are from Lee Valley.
The finish is four coats of MinWax Wipe-On Poly with a light steel-wool buff between coats. Great stuff!
-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/