Red Zebrawood and Cherry Box

By , 9 January, 2014, 2 Comments
Box Front

Box Front

This box is made of Red Zebrawood or Ebiara, Curly Cherry and Ebony.  The top is Cherry and the rest is Ebiara except for the black Ebony highlights.

Once again, Gerry at Midwest Woodworkers brought in something that I just had to have.  The Cherry I used for this box has a little bit of curl in it that you can see from some of the pictures, but I also liked the sapwood along the front edge.  In a couple of the pictures you can see the green colored streak separating the sapwood and the heartwood which gave the top a lot of nice features to look at.

Top View

On this box I decided to try a little Ebony highlighting along with the handle.  Originally I planned on a smaller handle, but once I started thinking about it, I envisioned something longer and sleeker.  This one felt just right after I shaped it and glued it on.

Opened

Opened

Since the Zebrawood was about 7/8 inches thick, I was able to rip the board before I cut the sides so that I had a nice piece for the bottom.  My last one had a piece of wood that was plywood and just had the wrong feel to it.  I like the consistent look on this one.

This Red Zebrawood, like regular Zebrawood contains interlocked grain.  A sharp plane and a gentle touch are needed to get a nice smooth finish on the boxes.  Otherwise, I found this wood to be a delight to use, and the color and grain of this board are very nice.

Back View

Back View

I bought enough of it, that I should be able to make several boxes, and perhaps something else.  I plan to make several with this combination of the two woods, but the next one most likely will not have the same Ebony highlights.

I finished the wood again with Deft Danish Oil.  Two coats were necessary for the Red Zebrawood, as the first one really soaked in.

Angled View

Angled View

I will leave you with one last picture taken from the front right corner.  I made my wife hold some newsprint paper up for these pictures so that I did not have a busy background, and it turned out pretty well.

This box is also 9 1/2 by 5 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches.

This box went home with my daughter Jodi.

 

 

Marblewood and Walnut Box

By , 31 December, 2013, 1 Comment
Closed Front View

Closed Front View

Over the Christmas break, I dug out a small piece of Marblewood that I picked up a year ago in Kansas City at Metro Hardwoods.  Ever on the look for a nice piece of wood for a small project, I found this one while in KC for a wedding.  The piece was 3/4 by 48 by 3 inches.

Tob of the Box Lid

Tob of the Box Lid

Obviously, there was not enough wood for a bottom or a top, so when I got ready to put this one together, I went back through other small treasures that I had accumulated over the last few years to find a nice complement for the lid. I see a lot of boxes on the web that I like and a lot that I don’t.  Pulling together a wood that is a huge contrast to the rest of the box is a tough job.  I see a lot of them that look bad, and rarely see one that looks great.

Box Opened From the Back

Box Opened From the Back

For this box, I wanted something that would be close in color to the Marblewood so that it would look close, but really pop.  I had a couple pieces of figured walnut that I purchased locally at Midwest Woodworkers  here in Omaha.

I selected a piece with a big knot in it.  The knot had a distinction of its own with some nice figure around it.  At this point, I was wishing that I had made the box just a bit larger because I was forced to trim off some of the beautiful figure and the outer rings.  One half inch larger each direction would have saved a bit more of the rings.

Inside of Box Lid

Inside of Box Lid

Gerry at Midwest has a great store with an extraordinary selection of hardwoods.  In the back of the store he keeps a pile of small figured pieces, most of which are walnut.

As you can see from the pictures, there is a lot to look at on both sides of the lid.  Chatoyance is one of my new favorite words.  It describes the visual changes of wood viewed from different angles.  This is obvious on this piece, where it looks differently depending upon the angle from which the wood is viewed.

From Right Corner

From Right Corner

I chose a piece of 1/4 inch quartersawn white oak plywood for the bottom which I dyed medium brown.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but it is the one thing that I would change.  The oak just did not fit.  I am planning to cover the bottom with a piece of dark felt or something similar, so that will not show.

This was a new style of box for me.  The lid is pinned instead of hinged with traditional butt hinges.  I plan to continue working on this style for a while.  On this box, the lid comes right out to the front, and a handle is glued on even with the bottom.  The fit turned out really well.  I have seen other boxes where the lid is recessed into the four sides, and I plan to try that also as another option.

Left Front Corner

Left Front Corner

I used a small piece of Marblewood for the handle.  I picked a piece that had a couple of small lines going through it that would give it a nice blend and detail for the box.  This piece of Marblewood had some nice marbling that I selected for the front and back, and then the tighter grain I used for the sides.  That gave it a nice uniform appearance when the lid was opened, and you can see the front and back (inside) at the same time.

Obviously the sides are finger or box joints.  I like that look but it takes a little finesse to get it right, and I can see that I am going to need a better jig because I had to tweak a couple of the joints to get it to fit nicely.

Final notes.  I wanted a 3/16 walnut dowel for the pins, but I could not find any locally.  I might need to make my own later.  I found a very greenish colored one made from Poplar wood that looked fine.  I used Deft Danish Oil for the finish.  Wipe it on, let it set and rub it down.  I have resisted the gloss look, so this is working for me now.

The box will sit on my dresser for now, as it was mostly an experiment to try out a new style.  The dimensions of the box are 9 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches.

This box went home with my son-in-law Michael.

 

A Box for My Wife

By , 5 November, 2013, 3 Comments
Birdseye Maple With Sycamore Handle

Birdseye Maple With Sycamore Handle

Yesterday was a special day for my wife and I.  I proposed on that day in 1975, and we always try to remember the date in some special way.  It was a perfect time to wrap up this box made from birdseye maple with a curly maple inset for the top.

The construction is finger jointed and the top and bottom were dadoed in to make a very strong frame.  I bought an expensive set of hinges from Rockler, but the finish was really poor so I defaulted to a pair bought at Lowes.  The box measures 5 1/2 by 9 1/2 by 4 inches tall.

Box Open With Walnut Framed Tray

Box Open With Walnut Framed Tray

The soft curly maple is from a board that I purchased a couple years back in St. Joseph.  I have only used a few feet of it thus far, from an end that was full of figure.  A later picture in the blog shows it better and I left it larger so that it can be zoomed to see.  The sycamore handle is also from St. Joseph, MO and is a remnant from the desk that I made for her a couple years back.

Back of the Box

Back of the Box

The tray is made of walnut framing and a maple bottom, the rest of the piece of wood used as the bottom of the box.  Judy positioned the separator to her liking.  It is a quarter inch taller and I cut a little dip into both sides with a gouge so that she can grip it better to pick it up.  The tray sits on two walnut rails that I dadoed into the sides before assembly.

Showing Curl With Lid Open

Showing Curl With Lid Open

The birdseye maple was bought here in town at Midwest Woodworking.  They had several nice pieces that I rushed down to buy.  I have quite a bit left, so I will likely make a few more boxes and some other items as I get time.

I finished the box with Danish Oil.  I like this finish because it is easy to apply and has a silky feel to it.  Of course with an oil finish it is necessary to sand it down pretty well before applying the oil.  This box was sanded with 400 grit so that I had no sanding marks showing.

Side View Showing Finger Joint

Side View Showing Finger Joint

I’m glad she said yes all those years ago.  We still enjoy our relationship and had little idea what the future held for us.  We really only had our love going into the marriage, and we still have that today.  What more can you want?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beli Wood Arts & Crafts Clock

By , 30 June, 2013, 1 Comment
Front of Arts & Crafts Clock

Front of Arts & Crafts Clock

This Arts & Crafts clock was made for my wife’s birthday.  As usual, I finished it late, but she is happy none the less.

The clock was made from a single plank of Beli (or Bali as marked by the store) wood.  The wood resembles zebra wood in many ways, but is cheaper and does not have the unpleasant odor associated with zebra wood.

This single piece of wood had wonderful grain throughout, but as you look at the pictures, you can see that it varied greatly within the plank.  That one piece looked like plenty before I started, but I cut the plank on a bit of an angle to straighten out the lines a bit.  That left me with a bit less than if I had just begun cutting.

Left Side of the Clock

Left Side of the Clock

I found a couple of complaints about the wood.  First it has row grain, or interlocked which means that it is a bear to use a hand plane.  I got tear-out when I was going with the grain.  Row grain has places where the direction changes in rows or furrows which makes it very challenging to work.  I used card scrapers and fell back on sanding when I knew the risk of taking off just a bit more.

The wood also seems very splintery.  I got a number of little slivers as it seems to be a very stiff, dry wood, a lot like purpleheart if you have used that.  Lastly I consistently got sore throat during sanding.  I thought I had a cold or something the first time.  According to The Wood Database, there should not be any reaction to the wood, but I did experience some.

Right Side of the Clock

Right Side of the Clock

Even though I found the wood challenging to use, I love the way that it looks.  If you go in knowing about the interlocked grain and the other characteristics, you will probably love the overall look too.

I saw this clock on the web, and very much enjoyed the look.  We like Arts & Crafts furniture, and this looked like the perfect addition for our home.  This clock measures 17 inches tall by 15 inches wide by 6 inches deep.  I confess to copying greatly from the pictures.

Of note, I made the clock face using Microsoft Word and a macro that gave me a clock layout.  I put on the numbers and corner squares and then printed it on a fancy heavy paper we found at Office Depot.  The paper is glued to a piece of plywood that had a couple of sanded coats of shellac.

Clamping the Clock Door

Clamping the Clock Door

The clock movement I also picked up locally at Midwest Woodworkers, the place that sold the wood.

This last picture my wife made me take.  I glued the mullions in around the glass, and I used a lot of clamps to make certain that the pieces were all tight and flat.  Like all wood workers, I always need more clamps.  I was pointing out the fact that I need a lot of them for some projects, so she make me take a picture.  After gluing, I laid the door on top of the clock base so that the clamps could hang nicely.

Birdhouse Update

By , 23 May, 2013, No Comment
House Hung

House Hung

When the kids and grand kids were over for Mother’s day, we hung the birdhouses in the backyard.  One was out in the open, and the second was hung in a closed in area.

By Friday a pair of wrens were moving into the house in the closed area.  Makenna built this house, and it was an inch longer than Liam’s.  Did they prefer the larger house or the location?  Maybe it was the paint job…

At any rate, we are happy to have pick one of the two houses and serenading us with there wonderful songs.  Congrats Makenna on renting out your house to a fine couple.  May they have many children in the house that you built.