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