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figured maple tea box

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Project by harum posted 10-01-2014 10:12 PM 2655 views 15 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Decided to foray into the boxmakers’ territory a while ago after seeing projects by Alan, Bob and Blake (and also test the table saw adjustment, the sharpness of the restored hand planes, and use up some nice cut-off pieces).

The sides of the box are figured maple. The top and bottom are floating: the top—laminated bubinga and cherry separated by thin strips of maple; the bottom—laminated birch and cherry. The dimensions are: 11-1/2” × 8-1/2” × 4-1/2”. All wood is 3/4” hardwood, sanded to grit 320 before finish. The finish is: shellac sealer, waterlox and wipe-on poly, a few coats each, with a lot of sanding and cleaning in between coats. I used 600 grit wet/dry SP lubricated with mineral spirits. The hinges are from Brusso. The dividers are of Honduran mahogany; the miter keys are satine wood.

The back panel has a red knot in it. Interesting that the figure of the knot is continuous with the figure of the surrounding wood. How can this be? Does it say anything about how the figure forms?

The finger lift was free-handed on a drill press with a sanding drum.

Cherry and bubinga are great woods to work with, they are somewhat softer than the maple, which makes them easier to hand plane etc.

What I learned: Waterlox gives much more chatoyance and the grain depth to the figured maple than Watco Danish oil; cherry looks much more better under Waterlox when first sealed with a few layers of shellac; brass screws are very soft; steel hinge screws break too when forced into maple without wax.

Also, if you push the box too hard against the fence when cutting the lid off, you get burn marks. The burn marks were pretty hard to get rid off, considering you have to keep the lid square and flush with the rest of the box.

I found the Fine Woodworking article from Sept/Oct 2008 very useful for a first time box project.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."





15 comments so far

View TurnTurnTurn's profile

TurnTurnTurn

604 posts in 2568 days


#1 posted 10-02-2014 01:42 AM

beautiful box!!!

-- TurnTurnTurn

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#2 posted 10-02-2014 01:31 PM

Thanks, T!

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23113 posts in 2326 days


#3 posted 10-02-2014 01:36 PM

All of these are beautiful. You do very nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://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

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#4 posted 10-02-2014 01:58 PM

Thanks Charles! It was a fun project.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 1751 days


#5 posted 10-02-2014 04:23 PM

All are very nicely made and have beautiful displays of grain!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#6 posted 10-02-2014 04:37 PM

Thanks! The second photo is to show the hardwood birch floating bottom panel of the same box, which under a couple of coats of varnish showed quite a grain depth. Bubinga turned out to be beautiful wood, except that it looked much better without finish. The finish (shellac and varnish) quenched its flow of dark red, purple, pink, almost black stripes into some scale of brown. And of course white maple is now yellow too.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

16950 posts in 2648 days


#7 posted 10-02-2014 05:26 PM

Very nice. Great looking boxes and wood.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#8 posted 10-02-2014 05:37 PM

Thanks! The recess on the underside of the top panel is actually a “new design element”, not planned initially. I didn’t have the table saw at the time when I was making the top, so for gluing, I split a 8/4 cherry scrap cut-off into two pieces with a circular saw. To keep the nice grain up, the recess had to be routed to hide deep gouges on cherry from free-hand circular sawing.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View bygrace's profile

bygrace

164 posts in 1428 days


#9 posted 10-02-2014 08:03 PM

Love the bubinga. Beautiful grain patterns all around. The subdued grain of the cherry is a great contrast to both the bubinga and maple, with nice color contrast as well.

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#10 posted 10-02-2014 08:11 PM

Thanks! The bubinga piece from a local mill scrap bin has given a nice 3D grain. The fresh cut satine wood of the miter keys originally was somewhere in between red brick and pink in color. Interestingly, after just sanding the satine wood went very dark—I suspect this is because of its own high oil content.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2647 posts in 2643 days


#11 posted 10-02-2014 08:46 PM

This is a really exceptional box, great job. I love the combination of woods and birdseye figuring. I’ll bet hand planing the maple was challenging.

That coloring is probably an ambrosia beetle stain rather than a knothole, explaining the continuous figure. Mold/fungus creeps up and down through the grain after the beetle eats a hole in the tree.

-- Allen, Colorado

View nblazek's profile

nblazek

45 posts in 835 days


#12 posted 10-04-2014 06:17 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! Very nicely done.

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 830 days


#13 posted 10-04-2014 07:23 PM

Good choices of woods, beautiful box.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#14 posted 10-04-2014 11:42 PM

Thanks, Allen, nblazek and Troy! Allen, yes, this can’t be a knot, must be fungus stain, thanks for explaining this.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

View harum's profile

harum

216 posts in 1102 days


#15 posted 10-11-2014 12:38 AM

The varnish has more or less cured, so all the bagged tea could be moved from multiple paper boxes to the new tea box. Here is before and after pictures:

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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