|Project by Calmudgeon||posted 10-24-2015 07:33 PM||884 views||2 times favorited||5 comments|
I made these boxes as a gift for other black belts in my karate club. The construction is simple enough: mitered corners with splines. Constructed of maple with walnut accents, these were meant as general-purpose keepsake boxes, but after they were done, I got to thinking maybe I’d worked on too many funeral urns lately, because the dimensions are vaguely suggestive of that function instead. Ah, well, they’re free to use them however they see fit. ;-)
Each box is made from a single maple board, so the grain wraps around on three corners. I’m still waiting to find that board with grain that will match from one end to the other, so all four corners would be continuous.
These are sprayed with satin, pre-cat lacquer. I sprayed the inside surface of components before assembly. In fact, with the sides, I sprayed each board’s interior surface before I even broke them down into four pieces. I do this for a couple reasons:
- I’m no fan of lacquer blow-back when spraying interiors.
- It’s difficult to get even coverage by spraying, particularly in such tight quarters.
- Wiping up glue squeeze-out raises grain, which can be difficult to sand properly in such a tight space.
- With the inside pre-finished, cleaning up glue squeeze-out is a simple as wiping with a damp rag.
In the past, when gluing miter joints, I’ve wrestled with clamps of various types with mixed results. So this time, for assembly, I opted to clamp the sides using only masking tape. I aligned them perfectly with the outer face up, fixed them together with tape, then flipped them over, applied glue and folded them gently together to allow time for the glue to distribute before fixing the fourth corner with tape as well. The results were as good as or better than any I’ve ever achieved with clamps. For projects of this size, I will never use clamps again on mitered corners.
This was my first attempt at inlay. The work was done with a template I purchased and a Whiteside 1/8” router inlay kit. The template wasn’t absolutely perfect in its alignment of the components of the yin yang symbol, but I resolved it was probably good enough for most people, even if it didn’t entirely satisfy me. I just found it frustrating that something as geometrically precise and simple as a yin yang symbol wouldn’t be perfectly rendered on a CNC machine.
When it comes to sanding down this much inlay, I’ve never been so happy to own a drum sander. It was a huge time saver, and produced a consistent, flat surface.
In truth, I only needed about 6 of these, but since I was tackling something new, and with limited time to re-start if I flubbed up, I opted for some redundancy. In the end, there were no major screw-ups, so I may try to sell some of these to recoup some materials cost and make up for some of the time they took away from my paying work.
Finally, the way the light bounces off the lids makes it appear, in some of the photos, like there’s a colour mismatch between the box and the lid. This is not the case.
-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang