I’ve had a number of comments about the metalwork on my lacewood box. This does seem to have generated some interest so I’ll write briefly on this aspect. Making hinges is a particularly useful string to a woodworker’s bow. Bespoke hinges complete the personal signature of your work, whether a box or a cabinet.
Many, if not most woodworkers on this site will be familiar with scrollsaw work and many specialise in this style of work. In practice, there is no difference between using a scrollsaw on wood and using it on copper or brass. The main differences are that jewellers’ piercing blades are required instead of those used for wood and the fineness of detail that can be achieved is far greater on metal than is possible on wood.
This butterfly design was filled with tinted epoxy resin to form the stopper design for the copper perfume bottle shown at the bottom of this page
This opens a number of possibilities from adding a nice touch to, say, a MOP inlay (see below) to a bespoke hinge design.
One of a couple of rosewood boxes I made with butterfly inlays. The outline of the butterfly and the wing veins was cut out of copper and the pearl cut to fit this
In order to get this level of detail cut accurately, I attached a stereoscopic microscope to the scrollsaw (see below). Viewing such a magnified image takes a little getting used to. All you can see is a radius of a few millimeters around the point at which the blade is in contact with the line… but, of course, that’s all you need to see. A fine jeweller’s blade not much thicker than a human hair appears as wide as an industrial bandsaw blade and three times as thick. The fine line (printed out with a line thickness of 1 pixel and pasted onto the copper) looks more like a footpath. Keeping the blade within the line as you advance the work becomes very easy as you become accustomed to the extreme scale at which you are viewing. What you see is this vast clumsy looking blade hacking out great chunks of copper as it rips through the metal, leaving what seems like a crude, ragged channel. Then you take your eyes away from the microscope and look at the work unaided. The huge chunks of copper is now the fine copper dust around the cut, which appears perfectly smooth and impossibly fine.
Although a little disorienting at first, a particular advantage of cutting while viewing through a microscope is that the inclination to push the work into the blade instead of gently feeding it is greatly reduced. Although, with the naked eye, it may appear as if you are making little progress, which leads to trying to push the work through, when viewing through the microscope, progress seems fast and aggressive.
You can pick up a cheap stereo microscope from Ebay. Mine cost £40 and, as you can see, the mechanism to attach it to the scrollsaw is hardly a work of fine craftsmanship. Finding a way to attach it to your machine would not be beyond the scope (no pun intended) of anyone on this site. Give it a try. It’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities confined only by your imagination.
Copper perfume bottle lined with resin to prevent the copper from reacting with the alcohol in the perfume.Tests so far show no sign of the resin reacting. The stopper / applicator wand is made from black water buffalo horn and the butterfly is the one featured at the top of this page. The copper cut-out was cleaned with acetone and stuck down onto masking tape and the spaces between the veins were filled with tinted resin and sanded smooth and polished. To make the stopper airtight, a section of red rubber tubing was cut to size and fitted around the tapered part of the stopper