Box 12 – 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

52 Boxes in 52 Weeks
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The proportions and general design of this box are strongly tied to the boxes that I’ve already made, but there are two new twists, and both work nicely, I think. First, the complete interior is painted. The inside faces of the top and bottom are painted, but the inside faces of the box sides are not. Instead, I painted some liners and put those in after I cut the lid from the box. I did this instead of painting the sides, because I wanted to use the liners to achieve the second new feature.

Box 12 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

Notice that there is a liner not only in the bottom (a common technique to keep the lid in place), but also in the top to create a small (1/16 in. wide) separation between the box body and lid. By adjusting the height of the liners in the lid, I could alter the width of the space between the box and lid. I like the dark shadow line it creates. I settled on 1/16 in. because that’s the width of the kerf cut by the blade in bandsaw (it has carbide teeth, so it cuts a wider kerf than many bandsaw blades). The grain flow from bottom to lid is natural this way. There’s no discernible hiccup in the flow as there would be if the lid sat directly on the box sides. Also, the top and bottom are both 1/16 in. proud of the sides to mirror the shadow line between the lid and body.

Now, back to the painted interior. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but this is first box it was suitable for. Perhaps it’s not a surprise, but I like it. To do this successfully, the interior must be lighter than the exterior. Right now the cherry is still a bit reddish pink, but it will darken in time, the marigold yellow on the inside will stay just the same, but pop all the more as the cherry darkens. It’s really going to be eye catching in about a year. And, of course, marigold yellow milk paint has once again done me right. If only she could drink whisky, dance to Van Morrison in the setting sun, and cook a mean low country boil.

The cherry veneer I used for the top and bottom is much darker than the cherry I used for the box and lid sides. Part of that is a function of age. I’ve had the veneer for at least 8 years. But it was dark when I got it, and it didn’t change color when I scraped and sanded it. It is oxidized all the way through. You might think that’s only possible because it’s so thin, but I’ve cut into very old cherry boards that were completely oxidized throughout their thickness—and these were 1 in. thick boards. Jointing, planing, hand planing did not change its color. I hope the veneer is always darker than the sides. They compliment each other nicely. And this can be applied more broadly. What’s a great wood to pair with hard maple? Figured maple. A good wood for sapele? Ribbon figured sapele. You don’t need to go to a strongly contrasted color to create variance. Do something subtle. Subtle is good.

These thoughts be random. Argh!

  1. There is a story of some undetermined quality behind the veneer I used to make the top and bottom. The short version: A cabinet shop in Columbia, SC was closing down. The owner hired two persons of questionable judgment and illegal predilections to dispose of all his veneer. They decided to throw it in a dumpster, which just happened to be behind a local woodworking supply store. I was there that morning. The owner of the store began pulling the veneer out of the dumpster and then had the two fellows unload the rest directly into his store. I had first pick. This cherry was a nice flitch of 15 in. wide highly figured veneer. $1 per sheet. I also got a 15 piece flitch of very curly tiger maple. $1 per sheet. That was a good morning.

  2. The liner was made from some very thin popular (about 1/16 in.) I had sitting around. I originally milled it to make some small pieces of plywood in my vacuum press. It allowed me to create flat plywood with a custom thickness for a small jewelry cabinet with madrone veneers on the doors. I know it’s thin, but that matters. This is a small box, so anything thicker would have looked out of place.

  3. Look at the glorious little pitch knot on the front. It’s not centered. It’s just the right amount off-center. All by design. When I cut out the cherry for this box, I stared for a while, thinking about exactly where to cut it to get that pitch knot where I wanted it. I think I’ve said it before: There are no accidents in design. Be deliberate.

  4. A nice little cartoon I saw once. Pirate says to his pirate captain, “The cannons be ready.” Pirate captain responds, “Are.”
Box 12 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks
Box 12 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks
Box 12 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

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