A new day, and we are finally ready to start the hinges…...........
We left off with gluing the second level of cedar inlay, and letting it dry overnight. We now need to finish sand this inlay level. Once the inlay is smooth, I round over the sharp edges on all of the inlay being careful not to hit the finished cover surface. If you recall the first inlay level has a slightly rounded edge, and now the second level inlay will have a more distinct rounded edge. Now onto the final inlay level which is our hinges. We will increase the thickness of the cedar to 1/4” thickness for our inlay/hinge.
Time to go back to the computer to work on the rest of the hinge design. We need to create a base component that will match our floral stems, and incorporate the geometry needed for a hinge. Once I have settled on the design, I create a cutting program for the laser.
Since the cover of the box will be opened and closed repeatedly, I want to incorporate some strength to stem inlay. I do trust the glue to hold the inlay, but if we use brass screws in the design it will add a decorative touch to the finished box. I add a hole pattern to both the right & left style hinges on the computer. They will be perfectly positioned to maintain symmetry in the cover design when the laser cuts the finished hinge. I can also countersink the screw slightly with the laser so the head does not protrude too high in our finished cover. I cut a few sample hinges with the laser, and do a dry assembly to gage the fit I am after.
Once I am satisfied with the fit of the hinge, I need to verify the artistic look to the cover. I have decided to capture some of the light coloration that runs through the grain of eastern red cedar. If I can capture some of this color transition near the ball of the stem, it could add an additional feature on the cover that I did not plan. This is the fun part of the project when you make a discovery in the middle of your work.
I found a piece of cedar that will fit the coloration we are after, and cut another sample hinge to verify the artistic appearance of our design. The coloration looked really cool, so I need to carefully position the cutting portion of the laser program to match the exact position where the color changes on the cedar board. Once the artwork is positioned properly in the wood (right & left hand version of the hinge) we can finally start to cut the finished components.
At this point I want to really want round the edges over on the hinge inlay. This will bring out the grain, and transition in color we are after in the design. This operation is very time consuming, and you must be careful not to break or damage the work. You must also be careful not to reduce the physical size of the piece, so it still fits accurately to the engraving in the cover. Once the hinge edges are sanded, we test the fit & the appearance in our work.
We then proceed with finish sanding all of the hinge edges. We are progressing pretty well, and it is possible we may finish this box sooner than I thought. So far I like the appearance, and look forward to mounting the hinges. We will save this operation for tomorrow…............