Secrets of the String Box Revealed #1: Intro and Invitation

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Blog entry by newTim posted 08-25-2010 07:10 AM 11595 reads 137 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Secrets of the String Box Revealed series Part 2: Laminate The Strings »

This summer’s projects have been boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Somewhere along the way I got the idea of combining the wrapping technique with a simple inlay to see how hard it would be to align the lines all around the box. In other words, at the corners. Turns out it is not that hard to do. So I’ve been experimenting. I’ve posted the first completed boxes as a Project and will post more upon completion. The photos below give an overview of this technique and the pictures at the bottom show the idea taken to the extreme. I plan to expand on these in future installments. But in the meantime, and since I love to learn and 20,000 or so of you know more than me, I’d like to extend and invitation to give this a try. I don’t have time to experiment with all the combinations so between me and a few thousand friends I’m sure we can come up with a few creative options. One idea is to combine this technique with the carved art box construction. It might render some real interesting and creative results.

-- tim hill

15 comments so far

View mahadevwood's profile


415 posts in 3042 days

#1 posted 08-25-2010 07:36 AM

Really wonderful design idea, Thanks for posting

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3058 days

#2 posted 08-25-2010 02:58 PM

Good blog, Tim and an interesting technique. I might have a go at this. Thanks for posting

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

View Russ's profile


357 posts in 3099 days

#3 posted 08-25-2010 03:03 PM

Thank you for sharing your technique

-- Russ

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3189 days

#4 posted 08-25-2010 04:27 PM

Interesting process.
Thanks for sharing

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3629 days

#5 posted 08-25-2010 06:23 PM

Thanks all… I’ll go over the steps in the blog but the short answer is I use the sides of the box as a bending form and clamp the strips to accept the curve. Actually I just rip a gentle, random curve on the bandsaw then glue a strip between the two parts and clamp them together. Try to make sure the bottom of the two pieces are flat as can be. When it dries I just cut another curve then glue those two parts together and just keep adding strips until I have all the strips (lines) that I want. Steam bending would be a good option. Another is to just use double or triple up on thinner strips. If you use the same color wood you’d get a thicker line, but you could also use contrasting colors.

The easiest way is to use 6/4 or 8/4 wood, although you can also use 4/4 stock, cut it to lenght with square ends, then resaw it in half to get two bookmatched parts from which you then cut the ends and sides in a way that they match all the way around. Then you cut each edge 45 degrees while keeping as much of the face of each part as you can. When you make your crosscuts to make the sides and ends of the box, it is helpful to use the thinnest blade you can while keeping the cut as square as possible. A 1/8” kerf removes 1/16” from each side of the corner so depending on the steepness of the curve at that point, it is possible for the lines to be off slightly at each corner. A thin blade minimizes the error.

Save the left over corner pieces (cut offs) as you can glue these to the inside corners to reinforce the joint and as legs to support a tray. They can also be lined up in a way that the lines match on the inside of the box.

The bottom picture above with the protruding strips shows a variation on this method and is a little more complex, but as the picture shows, it is still possible to match the strips at each corner. There are three ways to wrap the wood that I know of and will go over these in the blog.

Thanks for the kind words.

-- tim hill

View QuangFromCalgary's profile


33 posts in 3021 days

#6 posted 08-25-2010 06:54 PM

This is great! Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to learn more from you in the next blog.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3796 days

#7 posted 08-25-2010 09:24 PM

Very informative blog. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3127 days

#8 posted 08-26-2010 06:58 AM

Tim, I’m thinking of using a long board and then cutting 90 degree miters and seeing if the strips wrap around like the grain of the wood does. Is that what you do in the last photos? That seems like it gives the best match. Nice idea. I will try this on a box soon. It is similar to making ’s’ cutting boards.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3629 days

#9 posted 08-26-2010 08:08 AM

Robert… Yes and no and maybe. If you are planing the strips smooth to the surface they will match. However, if you are using a single length of board you have to make sure to enter the rip cut the same distance from the bottom (or the top) and on the same angle as you exit. The two ends will have to match up when you wrap the wood. In the last picture above, the one with the strings protruding the surface, I used a single length of wood. However, I screwed up when cutting the ends so one corner doesn’t line up – the one you can’t see. :) I plan to cover the three ways (I know of) to wrap the wood in the blog. In the meantime here’s a couple of shost that shows the strings will line up even with a 90 degree angle.

-- tim hill

View NormG's profile


6134 posts in 3026 days

#10 posted 09-02-2010 06:50 AM

Wonderful box design

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View shopmania's profile


701 posts in 3204 days

#11 posted 09-02-2010 10:05 PM

very cool!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#12 posted 11-10-2010 03:29 AM

Very kool, and awesome finished project. Nice detail on how-to also. Thnx for sharing

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3311 days

#13 posted 01-10-2011 03:06 AM

wow now that is an awful lot of work, but it is worth every minute of it.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3141 days

#14 posted 02-18-2011 07:15 PM

Very ingenious idea, makes some really nice looking boxes, thanks for all your info on technique, and sharing your work with us

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View javen123's profile


1 post in 945 days

#15 posted 11-16-2015 12:49 AM

I used to use this technique with veneer in boat building, your application is a lot lot prettier though

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