Boxguy Re-Builds Khufu's Pyramid

 Project by Boxguy posted 05-18-2012 03:29 AM 3293 views 8 times favorited 12 comments

Pictured is a pyramid-shaped urn for the ashes of four Saluki dogs.

The Story: A friend raises and rescues saluki dogs. They are the grayhound-looking dogs you see pictured in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. When her dogs die she has them cremated. She said that she was looking for a suitable urn to store these ashes. Like a fool I said I could make her a box that was shaped like a pyramid and divided internally into four distinct chambers so she could put four sets of ashes into one pyramid. (Remind me to keep my big yap shut in the future!) However, it seemed like such a simple idea at the time. “Easy money”...I thought to myself.

With the help of Mr. Smith’s geometry class from 50 years ago, and a couple of fellow Lumber Jocks, I had a pretty good idea of where to start on the angles and the size. I won’t bore you with the math, but it starts with Khufu’s Pyramid being 440 cubits on each of four sides and 280 cubits tall. It’s all downhill from there.

Techniques and Tips:

The outside triangles: These are cut at 33 degrees. Edges of the triangles are chamfered inwardly at 43 1/2 degrees on all three sides. Though I could cut these as a compound angle, I had better luck not tilting my blade and instead I cut the chamfers on a router table with a 45 degree bit. I raised the triangle up with a scrap board to lessen the angle a little.

Assembly: Clamps are useless here. I put the outside triangles face side up on my glue-up table, aligned them carefully, ran 2 inch masking tape along all the joints, flipped the assembly over, applied Tightbond Trim and Molding glue to the chamfers, brushed it out evenly, then stood the whole thing up, pulled it into a pyramid shape and taped the final joint. After letting this glue set for a day, I added the internal triangles.

Internal Triangles: The inside triangles intersect, align with the corners, and are cut at 49 degrees. These are half-lapped and glued in place with Locktite Glue. This glue comes in a caulking tube, is very thick and dries clear in a day. I rounded off the tops of the internal triangles so they would fit better in the corners. (A short section of 4 inch plastic pipe made a good holder that allowed me to turn the pyramid on its point while the glue set.) So, the internal chambers are sealed at the top.

The bottom: My plan is to put the ashes in, add glue or caulk to the bottom of the intersecting triangles, and screw the bottom board in place. Then I will seal the small crack running around the edges of the bottom board.

Conclusion: Lauan underlayment made a good material for the outside. The grain pattern and color suited me. Once the internal triangles and bottom are affixed, this is an extremely strong configuration. Nothing moves! It was a challenge, but with the angles and design given to you, it will save a lot of time. It took 4 shop days of trial and error to get all the techniques and angles fine tuned. Once that is done, you can make one of these in about an hour, not including drying time for the glue and finish.

Thanks: As always thanks for looking and a special thanks to those who took time to make comments and suggestions.

-- Big Al in IN