Monday, April 13, 2009

Woodworking as a math equation...

No shop + Short Deadline = Intense Pressure

As luck would have it, just about the same time I totally dismantled my temporary shop setup in order to start working on building the more permanent one, I received an email from someone who wanted me to make a box for them. I didn't have a whole lot of information other than what the box needed to hold (a dirk and a sgian dubh) and the deadline wouldn't be far off.

Aside from the fact that I could certainly use the extra money for shop construction, I was drawn to the idea of making my first dirk and sgian dubh combination presentation box. So with less than one month to completion date, I accepted the job.

Fortunately for me, I do some of my best work under intense pressure.

After a few days of e-mails back and forth, the buyer and I finally agreed upon some specifics (reclaimed white oak box with Irish bog oak accents, bog oak and brass inlay, and a closure method I've yet to determine - either a full-mortise lock or a push-button lock). I worked out most of the design ideas, milled my lumber to approximate dimensions, and am now ready to start turning wood into something functional.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning and an eye doctor appointment tomorrow afternoon, so I'm just going to take the whole day off from work. That will give me a few undisturbed hours in the middle of the day where I can knock out the first five or six steps to making the box in one go. I've found that once I get the initial construction started, the rest seems to fall in place.

As much as I'd rather use as few power tools and as many hand tools as possible, with the mess I have in the basement, I'm afraid most of my hand tools are not conveniently accessible so many of my cuts will be on the table saw. I will be doing some block planing on a 2:1 champher I'm putting on the lid and there's always a fair amount of tablesaw cleanup I can still do with my bullnose plane and scrapers and chisels and whatever else it needs.

I have received several requests for step-by-steps on one of my boxes, so my goal with this one is to document it as best I can. I have the camera batteries charged and ready to go, so we'll see how well I do at photo documentation...

Oh, and I'm also excited about making this box because I've solved an issue I had with fuming my boxes with anhydrous ammonia (it had to do with the lining and whether or not I could fume a box with the lining in place), so I'm going to fume this one as part of the finishing process. It's a technique I take severe precautions with, but I enjoy the end results.

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