|Project by Triumph1||posted 02-26-2014 10:38 PM||2575 views||12 times favorited||35 comments|
The announcement for the winter woodworking awards came at a very good time for me. I was just beginning to get back into the shop after taking some time away to heal myself. Last February I had a bad fall that resulted in a non-dislocated fracture of the sacrum….not fun and nothing that can be done about it. Shop time was replaced with relaxation and then gym time….but the box making bug always comes back. I knew I wanted to get back into box making in a big way and “Vertebrae” is the result and the awards was a good push. The idea for this box first came about by seeing some skeletal remains of deer that just didn’t make it across the road. Spinal columns and the interlocking vertebras are very beautiful when you really study them. So between the deer and researching human anatomy due to the fall I started sketching.
All components of “Vertebrae” started from an 84” x 3” x 7” piece of black walnut. Each vertebrae began by attaching compound cut sketches to a block. Next I drilled a 2” diameter hole about ¾ of the way through the block to create the cavity. After that I ran them through the table saw creating the flat needed to be able to stack them and still have the tail of the vertebrae hang down further. Then all the fun started. Using a mixture of bandsaw, chisels, rasps, Foredom, coping saw, drill press, etc … I hand carved/shaped all the vertebrae.
I created a fixture to make the intervertebral discs. The fixture, using double sided tape, would place a precision disc onto a piece of walnut. Using a straight bit and a router bushing in my router table I was able to machine a 2” diameter stub tenon in the same location on each side. One side would end up being the bottom of one box and the other side would hold the box inline with the other ones. Doing the discs separate from the vertebra allowed me to ebonize them. I used a vinegar/steel wool mixture to accomplish that. One side of the lid was also created using the fixture. Although, for the top of the lid I created another routing fixture to make a figured walnut insert. I domed this insert using rasps. I left the insert natural so it would really stand out against the ebonized walnut. The insert represents the nucleus of an intervertebral disc.
The sacrum portion of the box was created by doing a glue up of two walnut pieces. It started as 6” x 6” x 7” block. I sketched up the shape I wanted and attached the compound cut sketches, drilled a 2” diameter cavity to except the first intervertebral disc and then started the cutting and hand carving. I left two flats on the ends to create mounting locations for the two pelvic bone carvings. I created two routing fixtures that allowed me to mount the pelvic bones using a mortise and tenon and dowel joint. Once I got the rough pelvic bone blocks to mount I removed them and started the lengthy carving session on them.
The stand was created using some scrap black walnut. I antiqued the paper label using a coffee/coffee grounds/bake at 200 degree method.
“Vertebrae” was finished with four soakings of Danish Oil. It was waxed once with natural Briwax and then again with Satin liquid wax. “Vertebrae” is 12.5” x 12” x 18.75”. The stand is 17.5” x 17.5” x 2”.
So “Vertebrae” represents walnut to me in that walnut is the backbone to many a Lumberjock project!
Here are a couple more pics and some process pics:
-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!