Author Topic: Boxes from Uluru  (Read 1681 times)

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Offline derekcohen

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Boxes from Uluru
« on: July 31, 2022, 10:28 AM »
I recently returned from a couple of weeks in Alice Springs and Uluru (the Aboriginal name for Ayer's Rock). This is at the very heart of Australia, both geographically and spiritually.


This is Uluru ...



There does not appear to be much around ...







However it is filled with gorges ("gaps") and canyons and mountains, which one might not suspect unless you visit ...






There is incredible beauty in the desert ..





For many millions of years, the many Aboriginal groups have learned to live off the land, recognising the medicines in bushes, eating grubs and lizards in- and under the grass, and hunting the local wildlife.

Simple but startlingly beautiful wild flowers ...



Uluru had a magic, at times hypnotic ...





For the first time I began to better understand Aboriginal art, its symbols and stories. Much of this is about maps ... landscapes. The circles are usually about women. There are streams and mythical creatures, such as a snake. There are flowers and trees. All symbolized ...









The symbols are everywhere.

What I decided to do is incorporate the essence of Aboriginal symbols in wood (not in colours, however), in boxes for example. In other words, using texturing in the wood to illustrate the symbols.

My aim is to build 2 or 3 boxes before mid-September, which is not far away. More realistically, just two. The reason is that son Jamie is getting married then, and there will be some visitors from overseas and interstate. I would like to make a gift of a box to Jamie's godfather (travelling from New Zealand) and godmother (visiting from New South Wales). As well, Rob Lee suggested a ring box, which I think is a terrific idea. So that will be three boxes.


Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

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Offline derekcohen

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Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2022, 10:33 AM »
The first box is complete bar any texturing. Frankly, as much as I want to add symbols, I am not sure whether this is appropriate in this particular case as the figure is interesting enough to stand on its own merits. I leave it to you to share your thoughts in this regard.

The box is a mini-chest ... single drawer chest. Small - this one is 190 x 175 x 70mm. (7 1/2" x 7" x 2 3/4". Case sides are roughly 1/2"). My thought was that could go on an entrance hall table to keep keys inside. Just an idea.

I scrounged about the workshop for small sections of timber. Pieces of USA Black Walnut scraps. One piece was large enough to waterfall the figure from the top to the drawer. The other two sections were all there was.



Work done over three days. Finish is hard wax oil and wax. All hand tools following machine thicknessing.

The case is mitred through dovetails. Rebate at rear for drawer back. Dovetailed drawer.



One side ...



Turned Ebony drawer pull.

Other side ...



Rear ...



Good extension for the drawer (good fit) ...



I managed to save a thin slice from a resaw, and this became the drawer bottom ...

https://i.postimg.cc/mg4Bm0XD/10.jpg

Drawer with half-blind dovetails at front and through dovetails at rear. Drawer bottom held with a groove at the front and slips at the sides ...



Rear of drawer showing the slips and expanded bearing surface. The drawer front is 12mm and the drawer sides 6mm.



This is how I imagine one use of the box might be ...





Your thoughts now on texturing? If I did, my idea was to add texture to the sides and rear only, leaving the top and drawer as is. This is what I have in mind ....



Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

Offline Kevin Fester

  • Posts: 1
Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2022, 10:38 AM »
Thank you for the images. I agree, there is much beauty in the desert. That of a different kind.

Perhaps a trial panel to see how it would look. Or, arch a corner or two with the design. Preserving the beauty of the grain with the accent of art.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2022, 10:44 AM by Kevin Fester »

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 288
Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2022, 03:04 PM »
Your thoughts now on texturing? If I did, my idea was to add texture to the sides and rear only, leaving the top and drawer as is. This is what I have in mind ....



Regards from Perth

Derek

I think that pattern will look incredibly good!  Are you going to completely cover the sides with it?  Or leave a band around the perimeter untouched, like a faux frame & panel? 

I don't know if you intended this, but I also really like the charcoal color in your pattern image.  Are you going to stain/ebonize/whatever the patterned areas? 

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 1870
Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2022, 07:39 PM »
I'm torn on this one.  I like the idea of the texturing, but I'm just not sure about doing it to walnut? The grain on the pieces you have is already really nice, plus the dovetails, texture too might be too much?
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Offline derekcohen

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Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2022, 10:59 AM »
Thanks CRG.

As I mentioned at the start, I had doubts that this was the box to start with textured patterns. These are intended to enhance a plain surface, and the figure does not need it. The next box, which is underway, is Makore with some lovely pinks and browns but otherwise plain. A much better choice.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

Offline derekcohen

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Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2022, 09:07 AM »
Box number 2

Originally I planned to make 3 boxes, one each for the godparents, and a ring box for the wedding ceremony. Then Lynndy, my dear wife, suggested making one for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law's parents (who are great people with whom we get on so well). So, now there are four boxes.

I decided to build this box next. And this time to incorporate Aboriginal symbols, as this was not the case with the previous box, where the figure was too nice to disturb.

The wood for the box is West African Macore, which is wonderful to work with, and has amazing chatoyance. It is perfect for this project as it has little figure or, rather subtle figure.

Here are the milled boards laid out for joining. The aim here has been to create waterfall sides to the top, both left, right and drawer front.



Once again, the construction is a mitred through dovetail case with a dovetailed drawer. Overall dimensions are 185mm (7 1/4") wide x 150mm (6") deep and 63mm (2 1/2") high. The case sides are 10mm thick (a little over 3/8").

The completed box ...



Waterfall on one side ...



With drawer extended (a nice piston fit) ...



Half-blind dovetails at front, through dovetails at the rear ...



The drawer sides are 6mm (1/4") Tasmanian Oak. No slips on this drawer. Instead, the 3mm (1/8") solid Macore drawer bottom is attached in a 3mm groove ...



It is free to expand towards the rear, and captured by a round-headed screw in a slot ...



Now let's took at the symbols of the top of the box ...



The two circles (three circles within each other) represent a group, in this case, we have two families. The connecting lines, with circles, reveal the journey each taken by two people to join and bring together these two families.

So, two down and another in the making ...



Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 3092
Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2022, 06:00 PM »
Very nice.  Appreciate the symbolism to the family connection as well.

Beautiful woods in both cases.  And excellent craftsmanship!

Congrats on the pending wedding!

Offline derekcohen

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Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2022, 09:43 AM »
Here is the third box. It is all Hard Maple - case, all drawer parts (with the sole exception of the Ebony drawer pull). This made it a little more challenging as the wood is hard and can be brittle, and any errors will be evident immediately. There is no compression for dovetails, and all need to fix exactly. But the result is spectacular - although I was working with offcuts, I chose clear sections with just a little interesting, subtle figure. This is a box for my son's Godmother, and I was seeking a feminine touch. No adornments.

Case construction, as will the other boxes, is mitred through dovetails. The case is 175mm wide x 165mm deep x 70mm high. 10mm thick.





It is only when you open the drawer that you find strong figure ...



Finally, all three boxes. The Walnut box is for my son's Godfather, and the Makore box (with the Aboriginal message) is for his In-laws.



Regards from Perth

Derek
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 618
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Boxes from Uluru
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2022, 10:27 AM »
Wait, there is more! A box for the wedding bands. Here ... inside this drawer ...



Two boxes, both in Fiddleback Jarrah, both 80mm in length and 40mm wide. One is 20mm high and the other 15mm high. Case sides are 3mm.

Yes I know that they look like blocks of wood. That is the idea   :)



Open the boxes (like a matchbox), and there is a leather-covered recess for two rings/bands ...



The aim was to build the smallest box possible., one that can fit in a pocket without creating a bulge. I made two as I was not sure which size will be preferred.

I know that someone will ask how these were made, so I have preempted this with a pictorial ...

First, find a nice piece of wood and slice it up into 3mm thick "boards". The boards include a section for the top abd bottom, and the two sides. I kept these all in a single piece, and later cut them to length. This way the widths will remain constant.

The most difficult and most important part of the build is creating accurate mitres. This was done on a shooting board with Donkey's Ear ...



The Donkey's Ear is precisely 45 degrees. The Veritas LA Jack uses a 62 degree cutting angle as we are planing interlocked edges  ...




Care is taken to ensure that the bevel is taken evenly to the side edge ...



... and then measure the width down the length to ensure all is perfectly parallel ...



Alternate sides. I was not concerned about achieving a waterfall pattern.



Lay packing tape across the back of the butted boards, and flip them over ...



Add glue ...



And now roll it all up and secure the last end ...



The drawer is simply a carefully hand planed solid section, with two round mortices made with a forstner bit. Drop in fitted leather.

Done.

Regards from Perth

Derek
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 10:30 AM by derekcohen »
Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on joinery, hand tools, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.