Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Old Romantic

It was my wife's birthday recently and because she has got most things that she needs, (and quite a few that she doesn't) I decided to make her a trinket box. I cut it out from a piece 20mm thick maple and added a couple of lugs on the back to take the lid.

However, the maple was a bit on the shallow side so I cut out a piece of 6mm mahogany to make it a bit deeper. The bottom, which was cut from a piece of 3mm plywood was then added. As you can see in the photo below I made the box in a rectangular shape to give it clean lines and because of that the lid was easy to cut out. It is made from a hardwood called obeche, which I like because it takes pyrography very well.

In this case, the pyrography that I choose for the lid was a fuchsia, which is one of my wife's favourite flowers. However, it wasn't all plane sailing because I drew it by hand before burning it in with the pyrography and that is when I discovered that I didn't like it. In pyrography terms when that happens it can be an absolute disaster, I did a lot of mutter and almost tossed it in the wheelie, but I managed to retrieve the situation by running the lid over my belt sander. A layer about a sixteenth of an inch was soon removed and I did the pyrography work again.
I was much happier with the second attempt. My wife was pleased when she took the wrapping paper off the box and even happier when she opened the box.
I guess she'd have been even happier if I'd slipped a diamond ring in as well, but you can't have everything.

I think the inside would definitely benefit from a layer of flocking but I ran out of time. Perhaps I will do it one of these days and show it to you again.

Anyway, I've done enough boxes for a bit so I'm going to try my hand at a bit of intarsia work with the scroll saw and pyrography iron. If you haven't come across the term intarsia, don't worry because up until a couple of months ago I hadn't heard of it either. If I've whetted your appetite, please watch out for my next post where all will be revealed

Friday, 15 August 2014

Pants Box

Hi all,
In my last post I showed you the latest box that I was working on. Due to pressures of tiling our kitchen it was a while ago, so here is the photo again to jog your memory.
When my wife saw the box she said the shape reminded her of a pair of y fronts and I have to admit that she is right. However, that isn't the only reason I have called it the pants box because the design turned out to be failure. When I cut out the lid and fixed it to the two lugs at the top of the box I found out that it wouldn't open.

With hindsight I should have realised that the top of the box would need to be at least square to allow enough clearance for the lid. Anyway, a box that won't open is about as much use as a concrete float, so I was more than just a tad fed up. To make matters worse, the box was sawn from a plank of maple which is a very hard wood to cut, so after I'd invested time in cutting out the shape I was extremely reluctant to bin it.

The only thing I could do was take the two offending lumps off the top of the box to allow it to open and that is what I did. I then did a drawing of some mushrooms on the lid and burnt them in with my pyrography iron. It was a simple drawing but seeing as the original design had been compromised I didn't want to spend my time doing anything too elaborate on it.

Here is a photo of the box which just needs a coat of flocking on the inside to finish it off.
 The lid is cut from a wood called obeche which is a light coloured hardwood that shows up pyrography well.
I am pleased with the box especially the hinge mechanism which, although a bit fiddly to make, works well. I shall use it again in my next box design, but the general shape will be less organic. Hopefully, when the grouting is complete I will find time to share the finished item with you.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Easy Boxes

Hi all, sorry that it's been a while between posts. I guess it will carry on being that way until this house renovation is over, so please bear with me.

In between knocking off the tiles in the kitchen and re-plastering the walls where they came from I have found, what seemed like a few nano seconds of time to do a little bit of craft work. I managed to finish making another of those small square boxes and even did a little bit of pyrography on the lid.

I sometimes get a little stuck when it comes to choosing what to decorate the top of a box with and this was no exception. In the end, I drew a heart shape and then just did a bit of a doodle pattern around it. I didn't bother pencilling it it first, I just let my instinct take over with the pyrography iron and tried to keep the design as symmetrical as possible. The thing with doodles is that you know each one is unique. This is the only box like this one and it will always be a one off.

I haven't made my mind up yet, but I might sell it on folksy to see if anybody else likes it. Usually, when I finish a box my wife bagsies it, but she didn't seem so keen to snaffle this one up, so perhaps it's not to her taste. If anybody has any view or constructive criticism I'd be pleased to hear any comments.

Anyway, beside the square box I have started working on another of a totally different shape. My aim is to find a way to make boxes with lids that are easy to make. Not because I'm bone idle, but because it will allow me to spend more time on the decoration, be it either scroll work, pyrography or both.
The box above I am hoping will go someway towards achieving my goal. It is cut from a single piece of maple and the inside contours match the drum of my spindle sander. The two lugs at the top will take the hinges that will be pinned, just like those on the square box.

It is too early to say if it will be a success, but I will let you know in my next post.