I will begin this WIP series with a little history. I have been creating Intarsia since 1992 after reading an article in Wood magazine by Judy Gayle Roberts about how to do this beautiful woodworking artform. After doing a couple of her patterns, I started creating my own Intarsia patterns and began collecting many different woods to use in my art. Learning about the wide selection of natural colors and grains of the various woods and being able to incorporate them into my pieces is still the best part of the Intarsia process.One of the best ways that I have found to utilize these woods was to incorporate them into the tops of keepsake boxes which are functional , don’t require a lot of wood and can be detailed and easily customized. Although I do 20-30 of my standard boxes every year it is the custom patterns that are the most fun to create.
For this WIP I will be designing a pattern for my wife’s cousin who owns a Buffalo farm in North Carolina and wants the boxes to be auctioned at the Buffalo conventions that he will attend.
I will begin by showing the steps for making the box.
These boxes will be made from Black Walnut and will measure 6” x 8” x 3.5”
Here is the walnut stock that will be used.
A couple of passes through the jointer make it nice and flat.
The next step is to resaw to the rough thickness. (9/16”)
2 passes through the planer gets me to 1/2” thick.
Once the stock has been sized to the correct thickness and height, it’s over to the miter saw to cut the box sides to the correct lengths. I like to cut the sides of my boxes so that the grain runs sequentially around the exterior so I begin my miters by cutting one end at a 45 degree angle.
The inside dimensions of the box is 6” x 8” so after measuring and marking the first 8” side I do my miter cut. The piece of masking tape on the saw fence is used to mark the reference for the other 8” side.
Swinging the saw over and sliding the stock over I continue cutting until all 4 sides are cut to the proper length.
Once all of the box sides have been cut ,it’s over to the router to route all of the grooves for the top and bottom back boards. I use a 1/4” router bit for the grooves
The bottom backer is 1/8” from the bottom of the box and 1/4” deep.
The top backer is 1/4” from the top and 1/4” deep.
These boxes also will include an accent strip groove which is located 1” from the bottom of the box and is 1/8” deep.
This concludes the milling process for the custom Buffalo Keepsake boxes. The next sequence will be the glue up process.
-- Mike --www.midlothianwoodworks.com