I am a woodworker and writer exploring and honing both crafts through this blog. Follow along as I discover myself in words and sawdust, moving along the path towards finding the methods of work that are best for me.
I've been writing about my build of what I'm calling and unconventional bible box. I was a way for me to do something with pieces I used to practice the 17th Century carving techniques I picked up from Peter Follansbee's DVD on the subject. I call it unconventional because I strayed from traditional joinery on the corners by using dovetails instead of nailed rabbet joints, and I did a panel carving for the lid where I believe traditionally they were left plain, maybe with a molded edge. I consider my steps outside the coloring lines acceptable here in the fact that I was doing this as practice on the techniques.
If you want to see the sections on the carvings you can read about the sides of the box HERE and the panel carving for the lid HERE
With all the major pieces of the box finished it was down to some assembly. I glued up the dovetails on the sides and after they dried I cleaned up the joints with a little plane work.
For the bottom of the box I decided to go with ship-lapped pine boards. So I made some measurements and cut some pine to size. A little work with the rabbet plane and the pine was ready to be placed.
I laid out all of the boards on the piece to mark the nail holes for the first one. Here I'm using a bird cage awl. You will notice that I oversized the boards both in length and in spacing width wise. More on why later.
The I set to working my way along securing the boards with some finishing nails. I know cut nails would be so much more correct. Well I haven't purchased any cut nails yet and finishing nails will do. By the way I love the echo of the hammer's motion in the photo.
I then worked my way along securing each board in kind. I used a couple of dimes as spacers between the ship lap boards. Why dimes and not nickles or quarters, well dimes are the only coin I had two of in my pocket at the time. So dimes it was, but I don't really have a preference, any consistent spacer will do.
Then I fit the last of the ship lapped sections, and the oversized bottom is terribly evident. You have choices in woodworking, often times between the easy way and the harder way. you see when the user of this box opens the lid they are going to see the joint lines on the bottom, and I want those lines to be space symmetrically. I could do that with a lot of measuring and figuring in board width and rabbet widths and the mess up the whole thing and have to start over or accept the screw up, Or I could skip the long division and oversize the boards, center the whole thing on the box and remove the overlap like this.
This is another of my favorite shop photos ever, with the shavings flying off the plane and caught in mid flight. Seriously though this is the only way to size this kind of work. I've done it the hard way before, and in the end I recommend easy.
So now you have a box with these ugly ship lapped edges sticking out underneath. You can't just leave it like that, so what can you do? You wrap it of course.
I decided that some black walnut would be a great accent to the lightness of this batch of red oak. I planed a little moulding in a piece of scrap and took a close up picture to see if I liked it. I loved the color but in the end I decided to not use the moulding plane but just chamfer the upper edge instead.
I wrapped the walnut around the box and dovetailed the corners, reversing the pins and tails to what's on the box itself. Then I took my block plane and ran it over to chamfer the edges.
To complement the accent of the walnut around the base I wrapped walnut around the lid as well.
Cutting the rabbet on the already carved lid is one of those "put up or shut up" moments in the shop. It's not a difficult operation, but if I screwed up the panel then my effort in the carving would be a waste, Well not a waste in the fact that I got the practice in, but I had kind of become attached to the work now, I didn't want to see it go wrong. To that end I used the table saw to make the shoulder cut in the red oak, then I planed down the rest with a rabbet plane.
Then I sized some strips of walnut and plowed a grove to fit the edge of the panel. I'm hoping that this small breadboard end will help keep the panel flat over the long haul. I used only a spot of glue along the back end and secured the rest with nails.
A few shallow mortises to hold the brass hinges and what you get is a box. My unconventional bible box.
But there is more surprise and unconventional takes on the form to come. So hold on for the next time.