|Project by hingeman||posted 08-05-2011 08:57 AM||3552 views||24 times favorited||38 comments|
‘Veneered’ can mean different things to different people depending on your point of view/experience. It can mean ‘fake’ – an attempt to fool the buyer/observer into thinking that a piece is made from a more expensive/pretty timber than it actually is.
But it also allows the maker to use far more figured timbers than would ever be practical in the solid. A highly figured timber such as the burr oak used on this tea caddy would never have the stablity or mechanical integrity to be used in the solid, even if it was available.
So, this box had to be veneered – but what to use for the carcass? My early attempts to make curved-form boxes veneering onto solid timber [it seemed to be the ‘proper’ way to do it at the time, and the most ‘acceptable’ to customers] were not a success. Even when using well-seasoned straight grain stuff, the removal of material to create the curves for the main carcass, followed by the subsequent veneering, could cause significant distortion.
The main parts of the curved boxes I make now are formed by laminating mdf, rough shaped and simply constructed with mitres and internal keys. The lid is then formed from 2 or 3 layers of 1.5 mm [1/16”] birch ply laminated onto a curved form – this method produces a lid that is extremely light and stable.
The main box and base are then united from the inside – there is no base at this stage and the parts are taped together around the inside of the lid margin. It is then worked as a single piece using a hollow plane and by careful scraping and sanding, ensuring that all curves and edges are perfectly smooth and continuous. It is then ready for veneering and the ‘real’ work/fun starts …
But this is turning into a long description, sorry – so I will stop the technical details here! But suffice to say, I generally keep the construction of a box as simple as possible as I like to spend my time on the exterior veneering, decoration and finishing. So, perhaps I’m not a box maker – more a box decorator?
So, this is a tea caddy veneered with burr oak. The curved inlay motifs set into the stripy maple round the front and lid were made from slivers cut from a curved laminated ‘pack’ of dyed veneers and the dots are abalone and mother-of-pearl. All the hardware [hinges pre-smartHinge] is gold plated.
The interior format is copied from a Victorian box of my mother’s – it has two separate tea caddies in ripple maple for different teas and a hand made lead crystal blending bowl.
-- Andrew Crawford, Shropshire, UK http://www.box-making.com