|Project by RogerBean||posted 10-16-2010 03:42 AM||3176 views||6 times favorited||14 comments|
THE PLUM BOX:
This little box, #2 in a series of three; an experiment looking for a “simple, beautiful box.” It’s made of plum wood from a dwarf plum tree on my property. I really like this wood …but it’s proven to be a real stinker to work with.
It’s small (trunk was only 6” in diameter), hard, brittle, and warps when drying. On the other hand, the warm color and graining is attractive, and it polishes to a really silky touch. It looks a lot like the nicest European olive.
Box #1 was relatively easy, being walnut and walnut burl. This box is more about how to use this small but quirky wood (plum). I nearly tossed it when it became apparent there was not enough wood to get a continuous grain match on all four sides. Then I get it glued up and find that a big chunk of bug poop falls out to reveal a hole on the bottom edge. But, for some reason I was committed to making this thing work, so I kept going. So far, I’ve fixed splits, cracks, chips, and now holes. Any more fixes, and it will be a match box. It has become a contest of wills between me and this piece of wood. I’m not sure who’s winning, but I’m really becoming attached to this little box.
The interior is lined in leather. Because it’s a bit smaller than the pencil box posted in my last project, I omitted the divider. (due to the reversed lid for a recessed look, and a cut-down of the sides to fix a chip) This makes the interior slightly more spacious. The inlay is walnut burl, bordered with a band of cocobolo. The brown leather is warm, and tactile, complementing the solid wood exterior. Because it is a pencil box, I chose a dark color lining, so ink and lead marks wouldn’t be intrusive. The finish is Sutherland-Welles tung oil over a light coat of boiled linseed and polished back with 0000 steel wool and waxed.
Despite having more fixes than the Detroit City Council, it is wonderful to hold and to touch, the wood is lovely, and the leather provides some texture counterpoint to the hard wood. So this one is #2, and there’s one more to go. Maybe I can do better on the next (cherry) box.
Thanks for taking a look.
-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)