Scroll Saw Projects #2: Tree of Life Tiger Maple and Walnut Scroll Box Part Two

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by David Craig posted 02-05-2011 06:57 AM 5441 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Tree of Life Tiger Maple and Walnut Scroll Box Part 2 of Scroll Saw Projects series no next part

“If you are not willing to be bad at something, you will never be good at anything” – Me

That is what I tell my sons when they express outrage at the lack of instant gratification when setting down to try and learn the guitar or try something in sports. Life isn’t a video game and it takes a little time to develop any skill. Something I need to remind myself from time to time.

This project hit a couple snags. I completed the top portion of the top -

But I needed to create a rim for it. The rim is cut and glued to the top to fit over the box bottom. Problem is that I got so obsessed with sanding and making the oval properly rounded that it shrunk. It was still larger than the bottom, but too small for the ring pattern. In the past, my method would normally be to panic, decide that immediate corrective action would be required, then do something really really stupid.

Fortunately I must have hit the proverbial brick wall a few times and knocked some sense in my brain along the way. I decided to think instead of panic. The answer to the dilemma is probably obvious to most of you, please let me enjoy my little lightning flash even though it is more like a mini flashlight bulb. :)

Since I didn’t have a pattern, I decided to use the box top and the bottom as the template. I took a piece of walnut and traced a line around the top -

Cut out the piece, then centered the base on that piece and traced a line around the base -

I didn’t do both lines at once because I didn’t want my eyes and hands to instinctively start sawing between the lines. After cutting the second line, I glued the rim, worked the edges some with a dremel and I now had an acceptable rim to slide around the base -

Keyword is “acceptable” not “great” not “awesome”. I was willing to cut myself some slack since I was doing this freehand and circular shapes without a guide are rather difficult.

So we now have a box top and a base -

I didn’t like the flat edges on the box and I wanted it to look a little more rustic. I knew the box was flawed and I didn’t want straight lines causing more notice of them. I ran the box top through the router and gave it a rounded edge. While the top is far from perfect, I really liked the look with the roundover added -

And as imperfect as the box is, I kind of like it. Kind of like an annoying older brother who has his flaws but you still like drinking with him on occasion because he is fun.

I finished it with clear coats of Shellac and called it finished. It won’t be my best project, nor should it. Instead of giving up or freaking out, I worked through the problem and that made me a happy camper this evening.

Thanks for reading and keep making sawdust,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

12 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3214 days

#1 posted 02-05-2011 07:30 AM

Sweet. Like it. Curves are one of those…...seductive things in life.

Out to dinner….....this darn little town of 800 has a 5 star, or very close, restaurant. Have eaten there many times before. And the town has great places for lunch, or beer and pizza. Think thats one of the reasons we enjoy this place.

Understand about the brother, I have one that basically meets the description.

Now, home tomorrow, hope to get some things done in the shop on Sunday…...........

Miss the sawdust….......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2731 days

#2 posted 02-05-2011 07:35 AM

LET’S scROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.................nice work

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2522 posts in 3734 days

#3 posted 02-05-2011 10:32 AM

No wonder you are happy with it David, turned our real nice. Like you David, if I don’t succeed the first time, I just keep at it until I have create something I am happy with. We will never learn if we don’t try.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4210 days

#4 posted 02-05-2011 11:48 AM

that is beautiful

I heard this quote a long time ago – very similar to yours: “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing wrong.”

And I’d say that your “wrong” turned out very “right” in the end. It’s a beautiful box, worthy of being honoured and treasured.
You did the wood proud!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3086 days

#5 posted 02-05-2011 02:47 PM

Don’t know how I missed part 1 of this one, David. Flaws are what others call ‘Character’ and they add to the piece. Its very easy to be self-critical. I know. I didn’t write the book but I’m mentioned in the appendix.

I also have to agree with your opening comment for this blog. I am at present involved in being very bad at circle cutting. I put it down to experimentation. If you don’t try something new though you never know about it.

Good post and a very charming box (said with no sense of irony whatsoever).

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3159 days

#6 posted 02-05-2011 04:43 PM

Jim – Are you trying to sell me your vacation home? You sold me on the community. Offer me a couch and I will help you set up shop ;) Appreciate the kind comments. You are right on the curves. I don’t think “Boxey” is a comment that has ever been taken as a compliment. Not even by boxes :)

moment – I have not offered my welcome yet to LJs. My apologies and thank you for the compliment. Fine work you have posted as well and I look forward to seeing more.

Bob – Thanks for the kind words. I am quite inspired by your work. I often wish I could get you and jockmike2 in the shop together. You both have a free working style I greatly admire where projects are interesting to do for the project itself and difficulties are just part of the fun.

MsDebbieP – I like the quote you heard better. Sounds better on the tongue. And I can’t ask for a better compliment than “You did the wood proud!.”

Martyn – A compliment from you on a box is like adding a peacock feather to the cap. And the comment on the lack of irony gave me a nice chuckle. I am following your blog on circle cutting on the bandsaw. I have a small one I use semi-regularly and your solution to problems is always heartening. Jigs always make me feel good when I read about them. 1. There is a solution to my problem. 2. My lack of perfection is more universal than I let myself believe at the time.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3214 days

#7 posted 02-05-2011 06:52 PM

David Craig
Getting ready to drive down to Seattle and fly home. I have lots of thoughts about the vacation home. We knew this was a very small town, but I had forgotten how really small communities work. When I was in the military, I was the medical officer for a small military community in southern Taiwan, about 500 hundred people. Being the only doc, of course everybody knew me, even if I didn’t know them…....(-; This town is very similar in the way it functions.

Last evening we went to the cozy bar-restaurant with the great food. We met someone who had worked on our house, and lives across the street. He introduced us to the owner of the restaurant. By next week, everybody in town will know who purchased “Laura’s house”, it somehow is the name it received from the community, apparently a previous owner who was a single gal. It was purchased, dolled up, and then the people never moved in. They moved to Arizona instead, so it has been empty. So we enjoyed our fabulous meal, which we ate in a tiny enlosed rustic booth in the bar (the only booth, small bar) decided we would rename the house “Lara’s House”.......yes?.........and now have to plan how to furnish it, fix up the kitchen and stuff, etc.

It’s an excuse to buy more tools, you know…......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4296 days

#8 posted 02-05-2011 08:12 PM

I’ve already commented on facebook about your box, but had to here too, it wouldn’t be right. You did a fine job, and as a model student you learned the never ending possibilities and uses for CA glue as I mentioned before. I personally have used 40-50 gallon in my work so far. No, it has to be more than that. Anyway, good on you for jumping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. With wonderful success I might add. For anyone else reading this, no, I haven’t gotten new glasses, just found out how to make the print bolder, so I can read it. Thanks for putting up with me. You too David. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3723 days

#9 posted 02-06-2011 02:14 AM

Nice work on the scroll saw.

View Kristoffer's profile


675 posts in 3266 days

#10 posted 02-06-2011 05:32 AM

Thanks for the inspiration. Not just with the box, but…. I have a bad habit of not trying or stopping in the middle of a project out of messing up or after I have made a mistake. Good reminder that if we push though with our heads on straight, we’ll be happy with the finished product.

-- Cheers and God Bless

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2731 days

#11 posted 02-06-2011 08:50 AM

Thanks David

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3159 days

#12 posted 02-07-2011 03:01 PM

Thanks Charles and Mike for the kind comments. Kristoffer, I have been notorious for quitting halfway through. My excuse would be that the project would look awful if completed. However, I have yet to find much visual appeal on my half finished ones either :) Jim, I will have to remember that tool buying strategy. If I buy a house, I can get a sander with no guilt or fuss whatsoever :) I can’t wait for my budged to allow that kind of compromise…


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics