When I get to this stage of a project, I have to work hard at not becoming impatient and rushing the final details. If one is not very careful, it’s here where everything can go pear-shaped.
In this episode, I have finished the wood with a three coat shellac base and a light sanding with very fine wet & dry between each coat, and then four coats of sprayed clear lacquer, again rubbing out each coat including the final coat. (I should also mention that I had previously pre-finished the body and lid of the box using burnishing oil and a ROS as per Rob's instructions.)
Even though the instructions with the lacquer state that I should wait 20 minutes between each coat, I like to wait more like three hours in a 72 degree room. I find it gives each coat more time to cure and makes the rubbing out process more effective. If you do this too soon, it’s possible to cut through the hard surface skin and dig into the softer uncured finish making a real mess. I didn’t take any pictures of applying the finish, I thought it would be like watching grass grow.
The pictures here show the box with the final coat of spray before rubbing out and applying a coat of traditional wax polish. When I post this in my projects page, you will see the effect of applying the wax.
Now for the fiddly details.
This picture shows how I lay out the material for a padded interior insert which will sit under the lower dividers. I’m using a faux suede with a thin layer of padding mounted to a cardboard backing. The padding gives the suede a plush feel. The backing board is cut 1mm shorter than the inside dimensions of the base to allow for the material, yet making a snug fit.
I spray a coat of adhesive to the backing board and press the material against the sticky surface which holds it in place.
The finished padded insert.
This shot shows the lower divider with a ring-role. The ring role is made from a piece of high density foam cut exactly to the size of the compartment. This is then slotted (cut almost all the way through with an X-acto knife. I spray this with an adhesive then stuff the suede into the slots. If you try this, remember to cut the material to more than twice the surface dimensions of the foam. The excess material is folded and stuffed into a cavity below the ring-roll. I added a retainer in the bottom of this compartment to hide the untidy look of the underside of the ring-roll (not that anyone would see it).
The following one shows how this is retained in place. You will also note that I have applied two felt pads to the back rail of the lower dividers to keep it snuggly in place.
Here’s the box with the padded insert and the lower dividers in place. If you look closely, you will notice four rare earth magnets have been installed; two in the outer corners of the lid and two in the corresponding surface in the front corners of the box.
[I took some pictures of the hinge installation, but somehow these failed to record to my flash card, so a brief description.] The hinges are Brusso, 11/4” x 7/16” from Lee Valley. Brusso make the finest box ‘jewelry’ available. It makes little sense to me to spend hours on a box only to spoil it with cheap big-box hardware.
I used a router set-up for my Dremel. I first scribed the outline of the hinge with a sharp knife after carefully measuring the location on the box walls. The Dremel was hand held as I cut out the hinge mortise gently easing the bit up to the scribed line. The scribing reduces any chip-out. Then I cleaned out the mortises with a sharp chisel. Next, I inserted the hinges into the mortise and positioned and clamped the lid in place. I then scored a nick with the tip of my knife where the hinges met the lid and repeated the above steps using the ‘nicks’ as a reference point.
Here’s a hint; when you install hinges, it looks tidier to have all the screws lined up with the slots pointing in the same direction. Always drill a pilot hole. Because brass screws are relatively soft, it’s all too easy to twist the head off the shaft. To prevent this happening, I pre-thread the hole using a steel screw of the same size and thread. I wax the screw which makes it easier to drive home, and lubricates the thread being cut into the wood. Then I remove the steel screw and drive in the brass screw, also with some wax applied. When lining up the screw head, use care not to turn the screw too far into the hole for the sake of alignment. You will run the risk of snapping the head off. It’s better to go just tight enough and back off a quarter turn to align the slots, rather than too far and breaking the screw.
You will notice that the screw in the lower left is not perfectly centered. This is not easy to correct, but can be by drilling out the hole and inserting a hardwood dowel glued in place, then re-drilled. The problem with this is you are drilling into end-grain. Perhaps a better but more difficult fix is to cut a mortise and insert a piece of wood so you are drilling into face grain. Or you can do what I did; nothing.
This shows one of the upper trays sitting on the lower divider rails.
And still another with both trays in place. The second tray doesn’t have the padded insert installed. You can see that I decided to cover the 3mm MDF base of the trays with more American Maple veneer to keep the forces the same on both sides of the bottom of the trays. (The trays started to warp a little and I put this down to the fact that I had originally applied the Maple veneer to only the underside surface.)
-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/