Box 20 – 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

52 Boxes in 52 Weeks
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There were several boxes I could have chosen for box 20, but I went with this one because of its link to the last three I shared. I made the body for this one at the same time I made the other three, with the intention of painting it and using a lid from natural wood. Otherwise, it’s the same as those three boxes. (It’s the same size as the smallest of those three, about 2 1/2 in. tall.) And prepare yourself for at least one more go at this one. I want to experiment with different ways of making it. I want to see how it works as a bandsaw box, but I’m also tempted to hollow out the body with a hollow chisel mortises for kicks. So, I think I see two more in the near future.

At any rate, on to box 20. The body is painted with a custom green milk paint that I mixed from Federal blue and Marigold yellow milk paint. I really like it. In fact, it has earned a place alongside Marigold yellow as my favorite. It is very close in color to a glaze used in a lot of Arts & Craft pottery I have seen. (There seems to be some in every RAGO catalog that we get at work. I don’t know why we get them, but I’m glad we do because there is always a ton of great furniture—everything from A&C to Midcentury Modern to Nakashima.) I’ve even figured out a way to apply it with a brush that makes it look very much like a ceramics glaze. I know that many woodworkers would question why I’d want that. After all, don’t we make things from wood because we love its natural beauty? Absolutely, but I’ve been fascinated with the amazing ceramics I’ve seen when teaching at Peters Valley Craft Center and I’ve been working towards incorporating something akin to glazes in my work. This is especially true of my work at the lathe. I want to turn pottery on a lathe. Maybe when I’m done with the box project I’ll do 52 turnings in 52 weeks.

I originally wanted to make a cocobolo lid for this box, but because of how I make it (turning a round lip to fit into the round cavity in the box), the lid begins as a rather think blank that can be chucked up in the lather. I don’t have any cocobolo of the right dimensions to do this. But I do have a lot of offcuts from some 8/4 air-dried walnut slabs. I knew that some of that walnut would have a nice, rich brown color when finished, so that’s what I used. I like the color of the green paint. I also like the bold, straight grain visible on the top face of the lid. To make the walnut darker than it would be when finished only with shellac (my usual finish), I applied a coat of Watco before the shellac.

I forgot to do any random thoughts the last two times I shared boxes. So, here you go.

  1. Part of what makes this box work, I think, is the narrow gap between the box and lid. I’ve tried the box without the gap and it just doesn’t look right. It helps that the bottom is rabbeted to create a shadow line. These two shadow lines create a nice symmetry.
  2. The body is made from cherry. Had I known that I was going to use a walnut lid at the time I made the body, I would have used walnut for the body.
  3. I need to get more milk paint colors so that I can continue to mix custom milk paint colors. (I want to see what kind of yellows I can create by mixing red and green in varying proportions.) I have no formal art training, and my understanding of colors is elementary—truly, I understand it at a third-grade level at best. I do know what I like, but perhaps I need a better foundation than my own preferences.

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