Competition Box - progress

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Established Member
24 Jul 2003
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14860, France
Managed a couple of hours in the workshop last night and had a play with that animal glue stuff. Liberon Pearl Glue was what my father had loads of so that's what I used. I only needed a smidgeon to glue the walnut inlays to my box lid but ended up making about a cup full.
I used an old backpacking gas stove for heat, an old saucepan and a jam jar. Only took about 30 mins to heat up and the smell was not as bad as I had been led to believe.


It really was very easy to make. Here is the four fold book matched inlay glued in place

each piece is about 1" square.

They are all of unequal thickness due to my lack of skill/practice with the band saw that was used to slice them. I hope I will not have too much trouble getting them all level with the box lid. Any recommendations would be useful. I sharpened up by block plane in readiness but as the grain in all 4 inlays is going in different directions I am just a little nervous.

Hopefully I'll get another hour or two in the workshop at the weekend to finish it off, except for the finishing of course.

I had a bit of a disaster at the weekend levelling the inlays. I found a wide chisel the most comfortable way to reduce the inlays followed by a cabinet scraper. Using the scraper parallel to the grain of the box lid seemed to be going well until I realised that where the scraper came off the inlay onto the oak lid a slight trough had formed. In the picture on the above post that would be on the left and right of the inlay. These troughs may well end up as a design feature as I cannot see a way of removing or hiding it.

I had also added splines to the mitred corners of the biox, using the scraper to finish the sides I managed to knock the corner off 1 of the splines, a small piece only about 1/4" deep. I cleaned up the spline where the break occurred and tried gluing a new oversized piece in but this came adrift while sawing off the excess. I'll try again later in the week.

At this rate I'll be lucky to have it finished by Xmas.


As you have found, a scraper can do unintended things(DAMHIKT). It is always hard using a scraper or when sanding, to level a surface like yours, with a mixture of woods or end grain showing in face gran as for your inlays or - as in the case of end grain plugs. The more resistant end grain has a tendency to stand proud as the softer face grain is preferentially worn.

A sharp chisel or plane is best to do most of the work, with scraping/sanding reserved for the very end and then with a very light touch.

You could run a groove all around the inlays and "frame" them with another inlay of say a white wood to disguise the groove you have unintentionally made.
Hi Chris,
I had thought about this but then I would have to level off another
inlay with different woods on either side. After my last experience this
could be a recipe for more problems.

I've learnt a lot while making this box:-
Cutting mitres ( by hand )
Adding splines to mitres
Making a using framing clamps
Sharpening & using a scratch stock
Using pearl (animal) glue
Cutting & fitting inlays

and I've still to decide on a finish.

A mitred box seemed such a simple idea but I have been pushing my skills
and abilities every step of the way which is, I believe, what the competition was intended to do. If only I had more time.....


I dunno; keep inlaying further borders outside until you get the technique maybe? Okay, so if you're me you'd probably end up with an entirely veneered top in the end, but it's a thought... :wink: I've had trouble with splines breaking too, and as for the whole mitred box thing. Urgh. I'm not sure dovetails aren't easier in the long run. :roll: But on the other hand you've, as you say, tried out a lot of new techniques. As you correctly summise, that was the point of the competition, which <cheesy gameshow host grin> makes everyone a winner </cghg>. :D

Cheers, Alf
Alf, yes DTs would have been much easier. As for the inlays the person who gave me the piece of wood that sparked the whole idea shall remain nameless :wink:


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