Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finished 'M' box

Here is the completed 'M' box.  It is going to be used as an urn for a beloved dog's ashes.

For the lid lift and drawer handle, I used some ebony salvaged from an 1895 piano headed for the dump.  From what I've learned, old pianos cost a lot of money to tune and/or in thousands of dollars.  People end up not wanting them because of this, and once they decide they don't want the piano in their home any more, there's nowhere for it to go.  Sad, really.

The box is finished with shellac, then buffed with wax.  The finishing process is much more complicated than that simple sentence conveys.  It's really 9 steps in all (couple coats of 1# cut shellac, wet sand, more shellac, wet sand, more shellac, wet sand several times, then buff with wax).  The result is a beautifully smooth surface that you have to touch to understand.

See my previous post about some of the other construction details.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Latest box - the "M" box

I've been working on a custom box for a customer lately.  They chose Macassar ebony for the box, with a circle of bird's eye maple and an imbuya pommele "M" inlaid.  I was going to build this just like a humidor, but they wanted a small drawer in the bottom so it changed up the construction a little bit.

First off was to get the veneers.  I'm trying to swear off commercial thin veneer, anything under 1.0 mm.  It's too easy to muck it up.  And thick veneer is so forgiving.  Exotic Hardwoods in Frederick had some small pieces of 6/4 Macassar ebony, so I bought a "board"...all of about 2' long and 4" wide.  It cost almost $70.  Glad I was making veneer out of it.  Here's that "board".

And here's the 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick veneer I cut it up into.

I figured it was just enough to do the box.

Next up was the inlay.  But the only imbuya pommele I could get was commercial thickness, and I had commercial thickness bird's eye maple.  So I made thick veneer out of it by taking 3 layers of each species and gluing them together in the vacuum press.  It matched pretty closely to the thickness of the Macassar ebony.  Then it was on to cutting the inlay.  I cut it on the chevalet, of course.

The M loosely put together in the cutting tray
I decided to jazz up the top a bit by laying the ebony in a reverse diamond pattern.

The box itself is constructed using full blind dovetails and shop made plywood for the top where it is veneered.  The edging is walnut with some holly stringing.  There will be a walnut molding base, as well, but I haven't gotten that completed yet.  Here's the box with the drawer, sans base.  I was careful to use the offcut veneer from the front to veneer the drawer face so the grain flows.  And all the seams in the sides, front, and back line up perfectly.

I have rounded over the corners all around (sorry, no pic).  I'm currently working on installing the lock and hinges.  Then there's some lining to create a seal, attach the base, make and install a handle and a pull, and brush on some shellac.  There is a lot of work in a small box done well.