Once upon a time...

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Project by KnickKnack posted 08-11-2011 03:49 PM 2032 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Once upon a time (well, strictly speaking, it was 2000), in a land far, far away (Northern Kenya, specifically here) we were driving down the “Trans-African Highway” – shown as the “A2” on that map, which seems to imply there is a road – there simply is no road – when we came around the corner and the road was no longer there…

The corrugations on the road meant that we had to be traveling at high speed, and it’s very very difficult to steer.
We crashed, badly – our lovely Landrover Defender, Zebedee, took the brunt of it and sacrificed himself, rotating by 180 degrees thus ending up backwards in the hole that you see…

It took us 3 months to get together the paperwork necessary to leave the country.

Now what, I hear you ask, has all this got to do with this box?

We were traveling with a Dutch couple we’d met after a particularly horrific attack (where Zebedee protected us from stones, axes and spears) we’d suffered a month or so earlier in Ethiopia. There is no law up in this part of Kenya and had they not been with us we’d almost certainly have been killed by the bandits that rule this region.
Once every few years we get together – either in Holland, wherever we happen to be living, or somewhere else – and in a few weeks they’re coming to visit us here in Portugal.

I wanted to make a very very special box – it was to be small (since they’re flying here), elegant and beautiful and really well made – and this is the result. I think it’s fairly elegant, pretty well made, but it isn’t what you’d call “small”.

This was not the original design – but when I was resawing the lovely piece of eucalyptus I rescued from a friend’s bonfire a while ago I was going to bookmatch for a “wrap around” two things happened. Firstly the wood shattered towards the end. Secondly the inside surfaces were actually pretty boring. They matched, sure, but there was no “wow” factor.
Having only a smaller, single piece to play with I did a redesign around that single piece of amazing wood – the pictures don’t do justice to the depth of the pattern, but it’s the best I seem to be able to take.

All the pieces before assembly…

The other woods here are ash and beech. I’d hoped the beech would just go a touch darker than it did with the finish, but c’est la vie. “Aluminium dowel type” hinges for the flipping top. It’s 28cmx15cmx11cm (11”x6”x4”).
Finished with many coats of tung oil.
I may take off the high gloss – I haven’t decided yet.

As ever, all comments, positive and negative, most welcome.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

6 comments so far

View will delaney's profile

will delaney

326 posts in 2660 days

#1 posted 08-11-2011 04:41 PM

Another nicely designed box. The eucalyptus front really give it a real distinctive look. I am sure you friends will cherish it. Is eucalyptus a common wood in Portugal? I visit Portugal every year and will have to bring a few pieces home with me next time as it looks like a nice wood to work with.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#2 posted 08-11-2011 04:56 PM

I’m crying about that Defender. I looked at Range Rovers, nice; but what I really wanted was a Defender just like yours, battle proven. The only thing nicer than this box is the story behind it. I also stumbled across a piece of eucalyptus with extraordinary grain. I made a special box for my mother out of it. She cherishes hers, as your good friends will cherish theirs.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View nebulous's profile


53 posts in 3152 days

#3 posted 08-11-2011 06:30 PM

It’s nice to see my fellow Dutchmen’s positive influences. Quite the adventure! And I’m sure they’ll love the box. Simple in design, yet beautiful.

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3143 days

#4 posted 08-11-2011 11:13 PM

Very Beautiful Box, the wood is exquisite, and wonderful design, Your story of Your adventure is out of this world, being here in America and not having any real danger similar to what You have experienced gives me moment to pause, I am glad You all have made it OK, and Your Box must have very special meaning to have been created from out of such an experience, thanks for sharing You Story and work

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View EyeOfTheJen's profile


205 posts in 2441 days

#5 posted 01-08-2012 05:32 PM

That eucalyptus is amazing. and once again, your story was very well written and made me smile.

-- Jen ~ Happiness is being covered in sawdust.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2828 days

#6 posted 06-24-2012 01:05 AM

Holy moly! I thought ya did some kinda trick-stretchin or photo-shoppin on that truck. Glad ya made it through that ordeal. This box is just super. That grain, well, wow!!

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

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