Viking Chest #3: Worst carving ever and jigs are good.

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Blog entry by Woodknack posted 05-06-2014 05:14 PM 2511 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Wood hinges, need your thoughts Part 3 of Viking Chest series Part 4: Pine version done. »

This got backburnered due to a vacation and then family coming to town but I’m back on it.

My prototype wood hinge turned out great, the actual hinges not so great. So I reused some cheap metal hinges that I salvaged from some long forgotten box. I scribed around the metal with a layout knife then cut the mortise with a chisel. This worked fine for the most part but that white pine is really soft and one of my mortises came out too deep. A few pieces of heavy paper shimmed it nicely and don’t show. The lid still sits a tiny bit askew. I might gumption up and remove the hinges for more tweaking.

Before making more wood hinges I’d like to build a box joint jig. I just need to decide whether it will be Matthias Wandel’s, John Heisz’, or Stumpy Nubs’ new Incra style jig; all have benefits. I’m partial to Stumpy’s jig but am hoping to see a few others build it and give some feedback.

The elephant in the room (or blog) is my horrible carving job. The plan was to chip carve it but the wood was breaking out. So I remove most of the waste with a 1/4” chisel then cleaned out the bottoms with a Dremel router attachment. It was a good plan that I executed terribly. In my defense, the white pine is so soft and brittle that it just wanted to rip, tear, and fly apart. And the lines between the lines were too thin. A better approach would have been a relief carving but I gain some experience. I filled it in with black paint which despite what your eyes tell you, actually made it look better.

-- Rick M,

9 comments so far

View mahdee's profile


4008 posts in 1946 days

#1 posted 05-06-2014 06:41 PM

Yes, Rick.. It seems the softer the wood, the more difficult it is to do descent carving on it without chips and rips. You can always band saw that sign on a slightly larger wood and glue/screw it over the existing one.


View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 1717 days

#2 posted 05-06-2014 06:58 PM

I think you’re too hard on yourself Rick. It is obviously your 1st carving experience with soft pine. You learned to use a knife (a scalpel is perfect) on all cross grain. I think it’s a better than a fine 1st job. Just think how good your next one will be. Isn’t that the fun (and frustration) of it?

Nice job. Be happy.


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2185 days

#3 posted 05-06-2014 07:22 PM

Box came out looking fine. What’s the symbol mean?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Woodknack's profile


12402 posts in 2558 days

#4 posted 05-06-2014 07:42 PM

Thanks for the reassurance. If I hadn’t spaced the slashes so close to together it might have been passable. As they say, if you aren’t making mistakes then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Oops, forgot to talk about the mark. It is my initials, RAM, in ancient Ogham, sometimes called the tree alphabet. If I were a metal worker, I’d fix myself up a brand.

Lots more about it here:

I’m in the process of slathering amber shellac on the chest which gives the pine a nice color. This is a practice run for an oak chest that will be nicer. The pine version will just live in my shop as a small tool box.

-- Rick M,

View doubleDD's profile


7783 posts in 2221 days

#5 posted 05-07-2014 12:35 AM

I think you’re on your way to a great build. Your letter carving is very interesting.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View mahdee's profile


4008 posts in 1946 days

#6 posted 05-07-2014 01:25 AM

You still can make a band saw version of it and instead of creating spaces between the lines, router them round on both side to create a separation illusion.


View Woodknack's profile


12402 posts in 2558 days

#7 posted 05-07-2014 02:18 AM

Interesting idea Jinx, might try that on the next one.

-- Rick M,

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1727 days

#8 posted 05-08-2014 04:31 AM

Pine is garbage to carve for anyone. Give poplar a try. Your corner joinery is interesting/cool.

View Woodknack's profile


12402 posts in 2558 days

#9 posted 05-08-2014 06:15 AM

Thanks. I’m curious how the joinery will hold up. It’s a very primitive style going back a thousand years or so.

-- Rick M,

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