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My first boxes up for critique......

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Kalimna

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Greetings folks,
Here are some photo's of a couple of boxes I completed this week. My first attempts at cutting mitres (hand mitre saw and shooting board) and making a box, so design wise, as basic as it gets.
Smaller box is some Scottish elm with a ?mahogany (wood came from an old table my mums' dad made - and he died before I was around, so don;t know exactly what it is) lid insert and camphor laurel inner-box-insert (don;t know if it has a 'proper' name or not), and the second one is much the same only bigger and purpleheart/scottish laburnum.
Upon neither did I attempt fitting a hinge, so the lids are loose, though reasonably snug fitting (the larger box's lid even fits if turned 180 degrees - Im quite chuffed with that). The lid and base grooves were cut using a veritas plough plane (liked using it a lot), the lid insert bevels with a block plane and then sanded over in the case of the smaller box.
Both sanded to 400, given 4 coats chestnut hard wax oil and then a coat of microcrystaline wax.
Overall, Im happy with them - the mitres came out better than I had planned (though you may notice the 'design adjustment' to hide slightly ill-fitting external edges - all stringing, walnut or maple, made in garage), particularly on the purpleheart box - the corners of the stringing were a bit finickity with the bevel 45 degree bevel on two edges.
However - I managed to cut the base groove a little too close to the base on the larger box which wasnt ideal with brittle purpleheart which then chipped and doesnt support the base as much as I would have liked, and also the maple edging didnt llike being planed at all, due to some nice ripple. I also didnt get around to adding strengthening splines, eejit that I am.

So, have a look, and any comments or criticisms and suggestions for improvement/next box project are very welcome (however good or bad!)

Cheers,
Adam

Purpleheart and laburnum
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Elm and ?mahoga-wotsit
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TheTiddles

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Yes they're simple, but so are Ian's boxes and then it all comes down to getting everything dead on. Some nice crisp work there, the design doesn't really do it for me but the details on them, like the edge banding, is really well done, looks like you've got a bit of a talent developing there, I hope you make some more!

Aidan

ps - am I the only one who an smell purpleheart? It's so unpleasant I have never used the material I bought as I just can't stand it!
 

Kalimna

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Aidan - thanks for the comments (Im glad someone else likes the banding!). May I ask which part of the design do you mean? I did have in my head to make the lid insert much thicker, and protruding from the top of the lid (if that makes sense in a raised-panel way), and I think the purpleheart might have worked better if it was a little thicker... As for purpleheart, I think it smells like candy-floss!
And, which Ian do you mean?
Cheers,
Adam
 

TheTiddles

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Personally, I'd bring the lids flush to the top, I just like them that way, the purpleheart is a very striking colour and I'm yet to find a use of it where I think "that looks just right", that said, maybe I don't like purple... The purpleheart I have smells of dog poo, at least to me and everyone else who was withing twenty feet of the workshop when I was cutting it down.

Ian at Hawthorne Crafts makes some lovely boxes, he doesn't use complicated dovetails etc, just laps and rebates but it doesn't detract from what he makes at all, the workmanship, materials selection and finish are so great it doesn't need an elaborate joint on show, have a go at his approach, I've found it quite fun and you can really focus on getting simple details perfect, a bit like your edge banding. It's only a simple touch but getting the three-way mitre on the corners just right shouts out "quality work"

aidan
 

wallace

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Hi Adam I really like the purple heart box. The contrast between colours works for me. I tried a box recently and it was terrible. I'd had the wood planked for years and it still moved when I brought it in the house (hammer)
Mark
 

andersonec

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Love the Purple-heart, I have never used it before it seems like it finishes well and could lend itself well to contrasting with other timbers as you have done with the Maple edging.

Here's my penny's worth Adam,

Firstly the lid panel, when it is rebated like that the corners could, in time, develop into a bit of a dust trap, were they a bit of a swine to finish and get wax into the corners? The problem with making the lid flush with the top is the join with the sides, I have serious problems sometimes.

Did you think of putting some trays inside? It is deep enough to take two trays, one on top of the other and the top one could have extended to form your lid, with no trays it is just one large void but with a couple of trays, maybe the top one with a couple of dividers would extend it's uses and allow it to hold more shiny stuff. I suppose you could still fit a couple using the same timber you used for the lining.

That is the only thing I would say except to say how well you did the Maple edging, did you make the box first then cut the rebate for the Maple? I think the colours go together well and the workmanship is crisp, I am trying to make mine the same way, neat, clean and crisp lines, the problem with boxes is that they can be picked up and viewed close up so every little flaw shows, I get mad when anything goes wrong, grrrr. #-o

Look here to see Ian's boxes and be prepared to drop your jaw..........http://hawthornecrafts.com/

Andy
 

Phil Pascoe

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Sorry, purpleheart looks awful in this context.
And any other context I can think of.
But no doubt someone likes it.

Laburnum is beautiful, though!
 

woodbloke

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Purpleheart looks OK at the moment but will eventually fade to a dull brown colour :( ...not something that I'd use in a project, though a forum member did give me a lump to play around with a couple of years ago - Rob
 

devonwoody

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I should think you are pleased with the boxes especially saying its a first.

I myself prefer using purple heart mainly as a contrast and usually the minor partner.

Your inside liner on the p/h box looks well fitted, if it has been glued in situ to the p/h you have created a two ply effect, so technically I would be interest to learn ( and from others) if this might give a detrimental problem later in the future.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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Nicely finished boxes! But you knew that already. I agree that designing a box that ends up a dust trap will not show off the lid in the long term. Is that why so many boxes used to have curved lids?
With regard to the comments about the purple heart fading, they are true but if kept away from strong sunlight it takes an age to darken. Strong sunlight fades it to a purple brown in about a year (even behind glass). I had understood that ultraviolet light faded purple heart but as UV cannot penetrate glass something else must have broken down the chemicals in the wood. If you use it to line a box it will stay bright for longer. However this is not really a problem used with right combination of other woods it will fade and look good as a rich brown alongside other combinations. Almost all woods change colour as they age. African Padouk does the same turning from tomato red to red-brown in about a year, but although other woods darken less dramatically they are also less predictable. Cherry for example darkens quickly and a piece that looked plain can end up horribly striped. Without being too conservative antique furniture can teach us all lot about combinations that work in the long term. Personally I think it is great that you can make something that looks fresh and vibrant then watch the colours mature as it ages. And of course only woodworkers really recognise purple heart most ordinary folk think you have stained the wood...and come to think of it .

Good luck with your next boxes. :D
 

Kalimna

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Many thanks indeed for all your comments :)

Regarding the purpleheart, I know that the colour will eventually change to a muddy brown (as will padouk), but other items I have with it still show the purple (though not nearly as vividly) after 6 years of being in the house (contrasting timber in an electric guitar for instance). And the colour change doesnt bother me - I think it adds to the 'ageing' of the wood.

Aidan - I had initially planned to have the laburnum sitting slightly higher than the lid, with bevelled edges, but the piece I picked up to use was obviously far too thin for that. Interestingly, I find that bubinga smells of manure when being cut, and the purpleheart like candy floss. Wierd? I did actually quite enjoy doing the edge banding (even though initially it was to hide a not-quite-perfect box mitre!), and was chuffed to bits the way it came out. I had a look at Ian's website. Well, there's a hell of a lot there to aspire to! I think I will try and incorporate some other compartments in my next attempt. We'll see...

Mark - well, I've only had the laburnum a couple of months, but the box is a wedding gift for some friends, so it seemed quite appropriate to use it...

Andy - Yes, I see exactly what you mean about the corners being dust traps - something I hadnt considered at all, but will bear in mind for future projects. I finished the laburnum insert prior to assembly, which I think made things a little easier, and to be honest the waxing of the completed lid wasnt too onerous - but then I wasnt aiming for a high gloss, so perhaps that also helped? As for putting tray inserts in - I would liked to have done that, but I don't feel I have the skill (or for this project, the time) to do so to a level I would be happy with for a gift. And I take your point that, currently, it's a bit of an empty space inside! As I work with the to-be-wed couple, I could always take the box back and make inserts at a later date. Thank you for your comments - they are much appreciated. As to how I made the rebate for the banding - I used a laminate trimmer router with a rebate cutter (the thing comes with several differently sized bearings) from StewMac (an American guitar making catalogue http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Speci ... t_Set.html ) that is used for cutting the rebates for guitar edge binding. It seemed like an ideal tool to use for the box.

Phil.c - Whilst it obviously isn't to everyones taste, I don't happen to think that purpleheart looked awful in that context, but thanks for your comments anyway.

Rob - One of the reasons I used the purpleheart (apart from the fact I happen to like the colour, before the muddy brown stage anyway!) was that it was from a piece that was about the right size for milling, and I find it a very stable wood. I had intended to use a piece of bubinga from Timberline, but it was far too warped. Hey ho.

DW - Yes, it the liner has been glued to the purpleheart. Whilst the four liner pieces were a very snug fit without glue, I found that trying the lid was quite a loose fit. Using glue and a little clamping (now that was an interesting "How do you fit clamps inside a box like that?" problem), the edges were brought 'out' suffuciently to allow a snug fitting lid.
What sort of problem would you envisage? And might it be alleviated a little by using only spots of glue here and there?

John - Thanks for the big post :) But I suspect that you could indeed make a box better than the ones I posted. Cheers :)

Gerald - Yes, I thought that it was a UV-catalysed oxidation reaction that altered the colour of woods such as purpleheart and padauk. Perhaps it is only certain glass that is a complete block to UV? Or maybe the sunlight merely speeds up the colour change, not initiates it? This is a topic that crops up every so often on the luthiery forums and the consensus is that a UV filtering finish is the way to go to delay the colour change, but delay is all you can do, not remove. Interestingly, I have seen purpleheart look muddy brown on a freshly-bandsawn face but turn vivid purple only after 24 hours or so exposed to the air.

Mick - thank you.

Again, to all who responded - thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated indeed. I now have several pointers for the next project, so we'll see if I can get anything done before baby number 2 arrives in June :)

Cheers,
Adam
 

devonwoody

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Quote

What sort of problem would you envisage? And might it be alleviated a little by using only spots of glue here and there?


I think the proceedure of gluing two pieces together contradicts the prinipal of ply, they always seem to have uneven layers of timber . In this case you have two different timbers and perhaps one will have a stronger pull than the other then you might experience distortion? However pieces being small nothing might be noticed.
 

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