6th Nov 2011, 08:33 PM #1
WIP - Redgum Bandsaw Box (Picture Heavy)
I was recently asked by another forum member if I was able to make a bandsaw box. Never one to pass up an opportunity I thought it was about time I got back into the bandsaw boxes as it would have been 2 years or so since the last.
As I enjoy work in progress posts I thought I may as well turn this into one. Warning it will be picture heavy, but I will keep the picture file size down.
Ok ..... step one. I had shown the client some images of some of my completed boxes and as all of my boxes so far are from the excellent book by Lois Keener Ventura we selected the cover box.
[ame=http://www.amazon.com/Building-Beautiful-Boxes-Your-Band/dp/1558705228]Amazon.com: Building Beautiful Boxes with Your Band Saw (9781558705227): Lois Ventura: Books[/ame]
If you are looking at getting into bandsaw box making Building Beautiful Boxes With Your Bandsaw (BBBWYB) is a great start (and this post ).
With the design chosen it was time for selection of timber. Normally I use a soft wood for the boxes, typically from a selection of old pallets I picked up from a bloke who collected them off Ford Motor Company in Geelong. Unfortunately my stock is all but turned into boxes already so I thought I would try something either completely stupid or brave ..... Redgum!
I have a collection of old redgum fence posts that I purchased off an old forum member Ozwinner most likely 5-6 years ago:
The posts look a bit rough on the surface however I was always confident that there was some good wood waiting to get out.
The swirl of the grain had me reserving this timber for the good project pile for years.
The first step with the bandsaw box is creating the blank. BBBWYB gives patterns that can be photocopied and provide the size required for the blank. Personally I work the other way and create the blank size and then adjust the plan to suit what timber I have available.
Being very careful to avoid any nails I put a cheap blade in the tablesaw and cut up the posts:
This started to show the hidden grain:
The timber was hard, heavy and difficult to work. It would breakout as soon as a hand plane looked at it and I was starting to think if this would fail before it got off the ground. With the jointer still not restored and the thicknesser needing new blades I finally got to the point of gluing up the blanks with the help of the tablesaw and a scraper:
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6th Nov 2011, 08:34 PM #2
Before gluing I assess each piece of timber to determine its best face and if there are any visible faults. When I have determined all of the best faces I then compare the four and select the best two for the front. The other two become the back.
With the blank ready I then glue on the plan from the book. I photocopy a number of the plans at various sizes and then just select one that fits on the blank.
This entire box will be completed without taking one measurement. The back of the blank needs to come off first so I guess at about 10mm or so:
The bandsaw is setup to make sure the blade is 90deg to the table and the guides and the like are set:
The back is then sliced off:
For reference the blade is 3/8" 3tpi!
With the back off the blade is swapped to 3/16" 6tpi to cut out the drawer shape:
The handy thing about BBBWYB is that it shows the best cutting path so that you dont run into trouble. The first cut starts at the bottom and runs up and across to the top left drawer, and it stops at a sharp corner, requiring the need to back the blade back out of the kerf:
Backing the blade out is a bit of a pain. Today was no different. I had quite a bit of sawdust stuck in the kerf. At first I tried turning off the bandsaw to back the blade out but I was getting stuck. Then I tried to back it out with the blade running as it sometimes helps. Before too long I was stuck. The blade came off the wheels, but luckily it didn't break. I then had trouble trying to get the blade and the stuck block out of the saw. The blade guard on the badsaw is a pain and in order to get it off, to get the blade off, the guide needs to be lowered fully, not something that can be done with a box in the way.
Finally I managed to get the blade and box off the saw. This made it a little easier to clear the kerf and get the blade out. The poor blade was bent and twisted which is frustrating as it is brand new. Fortunately with a little panel beating on the blade it was back on the saw and manage to straiten itself, the good thing about a small blade I guess.
The first cut was a bit rough, perhaps lack of practice. The good think is that it doesn't really matter too much if you go just outside the line:
Cut two required me to come back in through the first kerf to relieve the drawer:
The quality of the cut was better than I had expected:
It was then a matter of backing out again to remove the first drawer and get ready to cut out the second:
Before long all drawers were cut:
6th Nov 2011, 08:56 PM #3
With the back off it is necessary to clean up the inside of the box:
It is best to try and make the cuts in one continuous movement but sometimes you need to back off a little to correct the path of the blade and when this happens it often leaves little marks:
When it comes to this task there are many approaches. Ideally a spindle sander would be good but I don't have one. The sanding drums that attach to a drill press are handy but they are not long enough and sometimes make it difficult. To clean out the inside today I used a file, sanding paper attached to some mdf and the small sanding drum:
After a few hours of this fun task it was off to the disk sander to clean up the back face of the drawers:
Then with the blade swapped back to the 3/8" to cut off the front and back of the drawers. Again no measurements but around 8mm or so.
One thing I have found in the past is you need to make sure that when cutting the front off the drawer there needs to be sufficient contact with the bandsaw table. As many drawers are rounded in shape if you don't get good enough contact the drawer can often get caught in the blade and then get jammed. In my experience that normally results in the drawer slamming into the table, leading to the risk of getting your fingers cut, often damaging the drawer, and more often than not buckling the blade beyond repair.
To get around this and to be a little safer I now attach a scrap wood ski to the drawer. The screws go into the drawer where the waste will be cut out so that isn't an issue:
With the front and back cut off I put the drawers back into the box. You can see that the plans indicate where the inside of the drawers are to be cut.
With the drawers in place I rough in where the inserts are to be cut out, making sure that the base is parallel to the box and the sides vertical:
Back to the bandsaw the verticals sides of the drawer insides are cut down:
The plans show cutting down and then cutting a curve to connect with the bottom. I just cut them to a right angle. You could also drill out the corner which will make it easier to turn the blade to cut the bottom.
6th Nov 2011, 09:08 PM #4
All of the drawers are now cut out:
I then use the disk sander to clean up the vertical surface of the drawer inside:
Then it is back to cleaning up the base of the drawer, which is very similar to cleaning up the inside of the box:
The inside of the drawer will be flocked later on but it will not hide bad work so I try and get it as clean as possible. Ideally the bottom should be flat.
When it is all smooth the inside faces of the drawers are cleaned up on the disk sander before gluing back together:
When the drawers are glued back together again they are look a little flat:
This is where the fun starts for me. I like to shape the box to remove any straight lines or right angles. I like the form to be flowing like a Sam Maloof rocker.
You can see from the underside of the drawer where the front has been glued back on. I use this as a reference:
6th Nov 2011, 09:25 PM #5
I go back to the disk sander (or larger drum sander when I have paper for it) and start to knock off the corner. The disk sander just helps remove most of the bulk quickly:
With the bulk out of the way it is then back to a smaller drum sander to sweep the round over back, basically to the line of where the drawer front is attached:
The paper pattern is being removed by the rounding of the corner, not sanding the front of the paper. This shows how much the round over curve sweeps around from the side to the front. On some smaller boxes I have made this sweeping action completely removes all of the paper so the front of the drawer is slightly curved and not straight.
This image shows how the rounding of the corner has swept back to the glue line, almost making it disappear, creating a flowing form.
The change to the drawers at this point is interesting. They become much more tactile and the form feels much more comfortable in the hand with the hard lines knocked off. I know it sounds strange however if you give it a go you will all of a sudden hit the same point.
This photo indicates an almost completed drawer back in the box next to one that hasn't been subjected to the rounding yet:
I don't think I have a photo of it but there was a huge crack running along the top of the box. I was hoping that it would be cut out when the outside of the box was cut. With the drawers now free the back of the box was attached again so that the outside could be cut.
This image shows cutting the bend of the box and luckily most of the crack was cut out, you can still see the next bit yet to be cut:
Whilst I don't mind some cracks and features in the timber it was fortunate that this crack will be mostly cut away. There is just a small section which will be removed during final shaping:
Ok so here we are at the end of the day. From this:
The next step is to finish refining the drawers. A similar treatment used on the drawers will be applied to the outside of the box and also the inside faces to create flowing lines.
So far so good. The redgum isn't as difficult to work as I had initially feared ..... although there is still a fair way to go.
7th Nov 2011, 09:44 AM #6
Have pulled up a chair. I do like a good WIP, and this is a ripper already. Keep up the good work, I could watch you blokes work all day.
7th Nov 2011, 10:34 AM #7
My sentiments exactly Pops.-Scott
7th Nov 2011, 10:43 AM #8
Excellent WIP - more like a tutorial. Bookmarked
7th Nov 2011, 05:52 PM #9
7th Nov 2011, 08:16 PM #10
A very good work in progress, I did the same patten as yours in snowry river red gum i used 6mm 10teeth pi. i found that made very few marks on the inside of the box, when i sand the inside of the draws i use the 50mm sanding pad in my makita 10mm angle drill before i glue b/f of the draws.then i also use the same to sand the outside of the draws then i blend the draw fronts and inside and outside of the carcass with a laminate trimmer with a roundover bit it seems to work very well. your bandsaw box looks very nice
ps it is marvlous what you can make with some rough wood
7th Nov 2011, 08:16 PM #11
Tops, I can't wait till I have some time to try this.
SBaaah the smell of wood
7th Nov 2011, 09:12 PM #12
11th Nov 2011, 07:06 AM #13
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Very interesting, look forward to seeing the rest of it.Reality is no background music.
11th Nov 2011, 05:04 PM #14
Hi Sir Stinkalot, Enjoyed the WIP and detail. Also picked up a few pointers which I'll try as I'm in the process of several boxes at present. Look forward to seeing your finished project.
11th Nov 2011, 08:37 PM #15
Well its good to see there is some interest!
On the love side it cut through the thick redgum without too much of a struggle, but the hate is that it is sometimes frustrating to use due to poor design. I think the marks are caused as when cutting the bandsaw seems to pulse (for want of a better description) and it is almost like the blade is surging forward and then retreating back leaving a small wave. I got similar results with either blade used for either cutting off the backs or the more detailed cutting out the drawers. I think it could be the guides.
I like the idea of the 50mm sanding pad. I have some that I make up for sanding the inside of carved burl bowls so I might have to try them out. The good thing about bandsaw boxes is that it challenges you to try new techniques based on what tools you have at hand.
The round over bit in the router would do the job well however in my opinion (not often right) the results are often too uniform and "machined" for my eye. The one thing I like about the bandsaw boxes is their organic forms and I find I can achieve this through hand rolling any edge or straight line. This is what I was trying to get at in the post, when rolling the edge you can feel the box becoming soft and tactile in your hand and this is one of my favorite moments when making the boxes. The good thing about woodworking is there are many approaches!
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