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17th Century Carved Box - a la Peter Follansbee my way

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Blog entry by Mauricio posted 11-10-2011 10:10 PM 2506 reads 6 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just posted this project and I wanted to share some details of the things I learned and some of the obstacles I overcame. Hopefully they will be helpful to someone wanting to tackle this project.
The project: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/55715

I first saw this project on the Woodwright Shop and had to make it. I had never done any carving so there was a steep learning curve. I’ve been working perfecting the design off and on for a year. I have 3 practice boards, each less ugly than the last until I was ready to buy some Quarter Sawn oak and give it a try.

I didn’t get my wood straight from the log like Peter but it still turned out alright.

So here are some tips that helped me.

Tip #1: In Peter Follansbee’s article he shows you how to lay out the design with a compass and carve out the archs. The problem is that no matter in which direction you cut your V tool is going with the grain on one wing and against the grain on the other. You can see how there is some tear out on the against the grain side of the cut in the pic below.

The strategy I used to avoid this was to keep in mind that one side of that arch is the “levee” you want to keep and the other side is going to be relived for the background. So I found that keeping that in mind helps you decide which direction you want to go in so that the tear out happens on the side that will be wasted away. So one side then flip the board around and do the other side. I hope that makes sense!

Also, the accuracy of my archs got much better once I stopped trying to keep the V Tool centered on the scribe line. Instead I put one wing of the V directing in the scribe line and my archs improved considerably.

Tip #2: Keep some super glue on hand. I don’t know how Peter does it. Maybe it’s because his wood was green and mine was kiln dried but I had a lot of chips pop off that I wanted to keep. I little super glue followed by a scraper fixed that without leaving a trace.

Tip #3: Axle Key Punch. Pretty straight forward. I used an 1/4” Axle Key I bought at ACE Hardware for next to nothing, I used a triangular file to put a cross hatch pattern on it. Also I filed off one of the corners which really helped me get into some tight spots. This also helped me hold the punch diamond shaped instead of square against the arch which looks a lot better. You can see in the pic how the left side of the Fleur looks better and more random than the right side.

Also the little Cross punches you see everywhere were done with an old screw driver I filed the tip off of .

Tip #4: Design change. I couldn’t get the top of the Feur de Lis to look like good and then one day driving to work I saw the logo for the Hampton in Hotel chain and had an epiphany.

And, this is what I came up with…

Design Change #2: I wanted to do the sides he has in his pics but he had no instructions. I winged it on a piece of scrap and it came out ok. The problem is that the design dictates the dimensions of the side and I thought that it would make the box way too big. So, I decided not to use it but I was happy I tried and it could prove to myself that I could do it.

Tip #5 Finish. I wrote to Peter on his blog and he says he uses Turpentine and BLO as a finish, he doesn’t finish the inside or the back of the box at all. I had already done mine by the time he replied so it was too late. I used Danish Oil all over, I’m going to have to seal the inside with Shellac to seal in the odor.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got. I’d be happy to answer any questions if one of you guys/gals decides to tackle this project.

Edit: Here are the chisels I used.


They are #7/8mm, #5/20, #9/13mm,,V #12/8mm, and #7/22mm

Thanks for looking,

Mauricio

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch



12 comments so far

View daydrik's profile

daydrik

64 posts in 1069 days


#1 posted 11-10-2011 10:45 PM

I would like to be able to do all that carving but I’ve never carved enything that intricate. What kind of carving chisels did you use? that is an awsome looking box! great job!

-- "by all means read what the experts say. Just don't let it get in the way of your woodworking" ;John Brown

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1805 days


#2 posted 11-10-2011 11:18 PM

Here are the ones that Peter Follansbee uses. I pretty much used the same. I post the exact numbered sweep tonight. As far as brand most of mine are Pfeil.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9907 posts in 1272 days


#3 posted 11-10-2011 11:29 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! Well done! Bravo!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1308 days


#4 posted 11-11-2011 12:03 AM

Crap, you have me looking at tool catalogues.

Thanks,

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Brit's profile

Brit

5148 posts in 1496 days


#5 posted 11-11-2011 12:21 AM

Respect is due Mauricio. Great Job and thanks for taking the time to document some tips.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1805 days


#6 posted 11-11-2011 04:01 AM

Thanks for all the comments guys. I just posted the info on my gouges.

RG, I’m just returning the favor. Reading your blog had me shopping for a Jack plane, a hand crank grinder, sharpening stones. I’ve only bought the Jack so far….

If you have time hunt around on ebay. the last one to the right was form ebay. But your probably lucky if you get the sweep and size that you are expecting since there are different scales. My ebay chisel wasnt what I expected but I made it work.

And I also go another one that didnt work for what I needed.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1308 days


#7 posted 11-11-2011 03:58 PM

Good point. What goes around does in fact come around. I really need to get that next entry posted.

I have already grabbed on deep carving gouge…but that was just because it was pretty and I wanted to use bulk to negotiate a dealer don one a mortising gauge. The sharpening gear is what gets me. It annoys me greatly to have just gotten rid of my scary sharp stuff only to have to dig it out again just because I don’t own a slip stone.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1805 days


#8 posted 11-11-2011 04:16 PM

I dont own a slip stone. I use the gouge itself to carve the inside and outside profile of the gouge on a piece of soft wood charged with stropping compound for honing. You can do the initial sharpen on your stones.

I use the flexcut yellow compound, it has a mix of large and small (.5 micron) particles to help it cut fast. It actually handles all of the touch up. No need to go back to the stones unless you seriously ding the edge by dropping it or hitting something hard.

Cambering a plane iron free hand is a breeze after learning to sharpen a carving gouge.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1308 days


#9 posted 11-11-2011 06:57 PM

Or the other way around. I think once you get comfortable with a grinder (or any other sharpening technique) a world of possibilities open up to you.

Thanks for the tip on the charged wood slip stones. Sounds effective enough to me. I just used a dowel and some sandpaper. I think I may just make a slip stone shape out of wood and glue SIC to it like I did when I made my stones for other tools. That should buy me enough time to make an order that includes slip stones and the gold compound.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#10 posted 01-30-2012 08:15 PM

I’ve not done any carving but this looks like alot of fun. Thanks for sharing.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6819 posts in 1805 days


#11 posted 01-30-2012 08:23 PM

Thanks for looking Lysexic! You should try it, it’s nice to work on things that require no measuring…

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15792 posts in 1520 days


#12 posted 01-30-2012 09:39 PM

This is a very nice pattern. Good job, Mauricio. You inspire me to try this pattern one day.

helluvawreck

https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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