Box 4 – 52 Boxes in 52 Weeks

Quartersawn white oak, walnut, Lexington green milk paint, hemp twine

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What a difference one week makes. Unlike box 3, which I still have a hard time liking (even though some of the comments folks made have softened me on it), I like everything about this box. I know this one is fairly different from last week’s box, but I see the two as directly related. When thinking about how I’d change box 3, I came up with box 4. This is especially true about the overall dimensions. Box 4 is about 3 in. narrower, but twice as long (if you are reading width across the grain and length with the grain, which is how I do it). It’s also much shorter. These are the proportions I had in mind when I first came up with the concept for box 3. I don’t know where or why I changed them on box 3.

I also like a particular design leap that I made with box 4: the walnut divider. I have always, without even thinking about it, made drawer dividers from the same species as the case or box. Most of the time, I think that’s the right way to do it. But there is something very nice about this walnut divider paired with the white oak box. Perhaps it’s the walnut stand the box sits on, or that the divider is a preview of the beautiful walnut drawers inside. (By the way, this is all air-dried and unsteamed walnut. Hence, the rich and variegated color. Steaming walnut destroys what’s most beautiful about the wood. I’ll never use it again, if I can at all avoid it.) I’ll definitely revisit this design detail in the future, on a wall cabinet or large case piece.

The pulls are made from key rings wrapped with a very thin hemp twine. I like them very much, even if there’s a bit of a hump where I tied off the twine. I used cotter pins to attach them to the drawer fronts. I blackened them with some chemical from a bottle. I have no idea what it really is, as I got it from Mike Pekovich. It’s something used to darken the lead in stained glass. I think it was also used by Sauron when he was crafting the one ring to rule them all. I’m sure it’s not all that bad, but I have been referring to the box as my precious. And all of my other boxes are slowly beginning to turn invisible. By the way, I’ve used gun bluing on metal before, and this looks much better.

The drawer boxes are walnut, mitered at the corners. I know this is a risk, but the drawers aren’t going to be loaded down with gold bullion or lead. The painted fronts are white oak, which I chose because I knew the milk paint wouldn’t completely cover the open grain of the oak. So, you still get a hint of the oak through the paint. I looks nice. I cut the Lexington green paint with a bit of snow white to lighten the color a small amount. Also, the drawers are inset about 1/16 in., to create some depth and to disguise the box’s seasonal movement.

Random thoughts:

  1. Quartersawn white oak is really starting to grow on me. I love it’s color when finished with shellac or Waterlox. It especially looks great with walnut.
  2. The base is a mitered frame screwed to the box. To accommodate seasonal movement, the pieces on the sides are cut a bit short (you can’t see this unless you really look, because the darkness of the gap blends well with the darkness of the walnut).
  3. Wrapping the twine around the key rings wasn’t hard to do when holding the ring and twine in my hands. However, I wrapped the ring several times each in an effort to get the best wrap I could. After the first attempt, I held the rings with my fly tying vise. This made it much easier to get a tight wrap.

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