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  1. #1
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    Default Cubism Competition 2022 - Alkahestic

    As the due date is 27 October, I'm thinking I might have a fighting chance of producing something (potentially two boards nailed together, but they'll be artisinal nails, hammered in with an antique hammer) in 5 months. The scary part is, it's been a month and I still haven't settled on what to make! I do need to do a display/shadow box type thing but at this point it looks like it's going to be a lot of glass and will likely break the 80% wood rule. The other likely candidate is a jewelry box for the other half but a 500mm cube is a big box and might encourage her to fill it, so a 250mm cube sounds a lot more manageable.

    I need to dream of cubes this weekend.

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkahestic View Post
    As the due date is 27 October, I'm thinking I might have a fighting chance of producing something (potentially two boards nailed together, but they'll be artisinal nails, hammered in with an antique hammer) in 5 months. The scary part is, it's been a month and I still haven't settled on what to make! I do need to do a display/shadow box type thing but at this point it looks like it's going to be a lot of glass and will likely break the 80% wood rule. The other likely candidate is a jewelry box for the other half but a 500mm cube is a big box and might encourage her to fill it, so a 250mm cube sounds a lot more manageable.

    I need to dream of cubes this weekend.
    Alkahestic,

    Great too see another contestant put there hand up,
    Your item only needs to fit inside a 500 mm or 250 mm cube.
    It doesnít actually have too be a cube shape, it may be any sharp or shapes your heart desires.

    Cheers Matt.

  4. #3
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    I've succumbed to the bullying of a particular judge and will be attempting weekly updates here, especially since time is rapidly advancing. And because it'd be hard to even be in the running for a competition if there is nothing to judge.

    After tossing out some ideas for a small wall cabinet - 500mm length was going to be too short, a stool with storage - I don't think I could make it interesting enough for a competition, I've settled on either a small tool chest or a larger jewellery/curio box. I'm leaning towards the curio box as toolboxes are a lot more utilitarian, and I'm not under any illusion that I'll be producing a Studley tool cabinet in the next few months.

    Timber selection has also occupied the few brain cells I have left active at 10pm. I am leaning towards white oak or similar light but not white timber for the, for want of a better term, casework. And I need to start practicing my dovetails... We're going to go mostly traditional joinery on this one I think.

  5. #4
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    Whee, look it's 1 August

    There have been a few hiccups. It seems quartersawn white oak isn't stocked anywhere in Brisbane, so my original plan is down the gurgler. While veneering is an option, I'd rather not deal with the hassle of it just now. After much humming and hawing I've decided to go with Wenge with hard maple as the secondary timber.

    wenge and hard maple.jpg

    It's quite the striking contrast isn't it? I love the face grain of Wenge, the alternating brown and black is almost hypnotic.

    wenge face grain.jpg

    As this box is going to use some expensive timber, I thought I'd do a mock up out of cardboard to see if I like the proportions. Size is approximately 48cm width, 18cm deep, and 20cm tall.

    mock up front.jpg

    The initial box dimensions were based on the smaller Wenge board I had, but really 150mm-ish wasn't going to be deep enough. I scrapped my miserliness and decided to make the box deeper so it could take these ready made trays for when I'm scrabbling for time and can't make them. The client likes this particular tray size as well, so it's win-win. The plan is to have 5 drawers, one of which will be extra deep, each taking one tray. The main body of the box will have two swing out doors. But my original board wasn't enough timber now.

    Fortunately I had another Wenge board bought a few years ago in my stacks, after digging it out, it's this beauty. It's 3m long, 130x50mm. If I mess this box up, I'll cry many, many tears. This box is going to consume nearly 2m of it for the top, bottom, and sides. I've been afraid to use it because quite frankly my skill level and cost of this timber are very far apart, but hey, wood is from trees and trees will grow again right? Also, ignore the absolute state of my garage.
    wenge board.jpg

    Check out the wild side grain.
    wenge side grain.jpg

    The 50mm thickness means I'll be able to resaw and get bookmatched 19mm thick panels for the top, bottom, and sides. If I don't mess up the resaw too badly, I might be able to get the back as well from these same pieces.

    Because the Wenge is so striking, I don't really want to have a huge mass of other colored timber (opinions invited and welcomed!) for the drawer fronts. I think I will keep the drawer fronts in the straight grained Wenge but with hard maple pulls and drawer boxes. Ditto for the doors. So joinery wise, the drawers will have to be half blind dovetails or pocket holes for the drawer fronts. The carcass will have to be either mitred or secret mitred dovetails. I think having visible joinery on the carcass won't be as nice as uninterrupted bookmatched grain across the side and top.

    I'm going to sleep on this for a day or two or three, then commit to the plan and cross cut the Wenge board.

  6. #5
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    I had to google what a curio box is. Sounds great. Now I want to make one too. Well, some day [emoji6]

    Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cklett View Post
    I had to google what a curio box is. Sounds great. Now I want to make one too. Well, some day [emoji6]

    Sent from my SM-G781B using Tapatalk

    I like to start with big dreams! I think it is going to end up being more of a jewellery box style thing. In my mind the difference between a curio box and a jewellery box is that the curio box has things that open so that you can then take out other things that also open, etc. until one's patience runs out. I don't have any curios to stuff the box with so I'll leave that part to the client (my wife). I'm sure the kids will have plenty of suggestions for random stickers, shiny rocks, and other assorted junk treasures.

    This weeks delay was actually worthwhile... I had second thoughts on the design and changed plans a wee bit. The box is going to get a bit taller with a lift up lid and no drawers will be visible on the front. One of the issues that occurred to me on Wednesday was that with the straight grain wrapping around the top, bottom, and sides, the cathedral grain would be visible on the edges of the boards on the front. My doors are going to be frame and panel style and I wanted the frame to be straight grained too. For the look I'm imagining in my head, I want all of the front grain to be straight and the panels in the doors to be a little different - I may use the cathedral grain side here or maybe a piece of figured wood with metallic hot pink epoxy inlay.

    But whatever I decide, tomorrow afternoon the crosscutting begins. If I have any energy left after a BBQ lunch. What's with this life thing that is always getting in the way of workshop time?!

  8. #7
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    So I lied and also I didn't. We did some cross cutting last weekend but it wasn't on the wenge. Rather I dug out this board of silver ash that was once a church door. It was almost the right thickness and I used nearly the entire board (there was a split along one of the ends due to a hidden natural defect). I'm going to go relatively quick on the joinery on this box so I can iron out any issues when/if I get to the wenge and not have some very expensive waste boards.

    silver ash cross cut.jpg

    I could use the mitre saw but a) have you seen the state of my garage? I'm not sure I have two meters of clear space on either side of the saw b) where is the fun in that. So instead, we use this lovely little Wenzloff half back that Derek kindly sold to me.

    cross cut action.jpg

    It is a very agreeable saw to use. After the cross cut, the usual jointer/thicknesser milling and trimming to size. I decided to go for mitred corners to expedite the whole process. Cut the mitres on the table saw and then a test fit, diagonals are spot on.

    test clamp.jpg

    The insides are also scraped/planed and given two coats of shellac. Most of the interior won't be seen but I didn't want the silver ash to get grubby, sanding the inside of a glued up box is my idea of a terrible time. Silver ash planes and scrapes so nicely, it's just so well behaved.

    scraped.jpg

    Two coats of white shellac brushed on. Didn't add much color, which was desired, but already the grain is popping out. That's an unfinished section on the left. It's at this point I'm thinking, why didn't I just make the project out of silver ash.

    white shellac.jpg

    So now the next deviation that needed testing. I want the drawer fronts to come off the same board that is also the front of the box. First thought was to cut the fronts out exactly - I tried a rip tenon saw held against a guide but frankly I think I'd be at it for the next two months. Maybe an azebiki would be faster but I don't have one and I'm in a hurry.

    front pre bandsaw.jpg

    So instead, the board is bandsawn into seven pieces. Fit off the saw is not terrible. The big gappy area in the bottom right was my hand saw and guide attempt. The small gap on the mid left was me dropping the stick and damaging the corner. I'll have to try to steam it out.

    front pre planing.jpg

    Planed the bandsaw marks away and got rid of the big bottom left gap. A little work to do but it looks pretty good. The next step is to cross cut the drawer front sections and then glue everything except the drawer fronts back together. So at least I've learned a few things - like don't cut the joinery for the carcass until the drawer fronts are cut out. The bandsaw and planing method cost about 16mm of material for 6 cuts. I'll lose another 3mm of box height when the lid is detached and potentially a mm of thickness from the front board when planing it flat after gluing it up post bandsaw work.

    front post planing.jpg

    Doing this again, the way forward would be to cut out the drawer fronts then do final milling and dimension-ing of the boards. I'll have to trim the drawer fronts for some clearance but that won't affect the carcass. Hopefully get a bit of time to do the glue up tomorrow night.

    This weekend I need to get the top and bottom panels selected, grooves cut in the carcass, runners pinned to the carcass, top/bottom panels installed, carcass glued. I'll have to make a call then on whether to proceed with the silver ash or go back to the wenge. I want the drawers to be dovetailed, half blind in front, through at the back, but there shouldn't be any surprises there so I think that would be a good point to stop with a prototype.

  9. #8
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    Small progress. Drawer fronts cut out and the rest of the jigsaw glued back together again. In hindsight it would be a much better idea to do this before final milling. I think I will have to take like a quarter mm off the face and same off the back to get completely clean and flat surfaces again. And consequently the same will have to be taken off all the other boards or the mitres will be out.

    fronts cut out.jpg

    Tomorrow we'll do the (re)milling and get the drawer rails and grooves for the 3 panels cut.

  10. #9
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    Despite being a non work day, I only had a brief time this morning to work on the box. The silver ash boards have all been run through the jointer again, and it was about 0.5mm to clean off. The 3 other sides were then ripped down to match the front panel, since we lost that 15mm when cutting out the drawer fronts. The front looks quite serviceable now. The mitres on the front were recut so they're perfectly smooth and the back board was cut again to match the front dimensions.

    front re planed.jpg

    And I'm really thinking sometime soon I will need to trade in my jointer and thicknesser for a combo machine. Or maybe a true helical head thicknesser, but I have no idea how I would find the space for one of those beasts. The finish off the helical head jointer is just so good. Next up were the drawer runners and I settled on 6x6mm that will be pinned to the sides, you can see the centre marks in pencil on the short boards in the photo above. The big silver ash board that these smaller pieces were cut from had a small tongue on one end. I ripped it off on the bandsaw pre milling but couldn't bring myself to throw it away - and my hoarding proved of value.

    draw runners rough.jpg

    The tongue was just over 6mm in one dimension and about 9mm in the other, so a little cross cutting, then hand planing, and then shooting the ends, and we have our 6 runners. It's nice to see the pristine surface under such a grubby exterior (and which of my brethren will give me an Amen to exwtending that to ourselves as well!). Also pardon my homely shooting board, I made it when I made my bench - and that was when I'd just started on this woodworking journey. They're ugly as sin but one is sturdy and the other is square and that's what counts right?

    draw runners shot.jpg

    And sadly that was it. I don't think the family would appreciate me drilling pilot holes and hammering these in tonight, so we'll just agonizingly wait till tomorrow. I've been tossing up what to use as the panel for the lid/top. I'm tempted to try black stained oak to contrast the silver ash. But this could be a case of every problem looking like a nail when you have a hammer, since I've got a pack of Ubeaut dyes and I've only opened one of them so far.

  11. #10
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    Last Sunday was a bit of a mess. With a small silver lining. I thought I'd be clever and use a plow plane to cut the grooves for the top and bottom, instead of just running it through over the table saw, which was sitting right there with a flat top blade in it. Three of the four sides went fine. The front however, was missing a few bits and not as strong as the other parts. I put too much pressure on the unsupported edge hanging off the bench and snapped the top in two. Well that was dumb wasn't it! The silver lining though, you'll note one end the wood is broken, the other end the glue has given way. I also snapped off another glued up piece right on the glue join by rapping it hard on the bench.

    broken.jpg

    Now at this point it's either the glue's fault or my technique but I know the surfaces mated well and were clamped over night. So I checked out my glue. Apparently my small bottle of liquid hide glue expired in 2015 and once expired, should be binned. I've only used it for some other small boxes for my own use (fortunately) so there aren't any major repercussions.

    So I could have CA glued the bits back together but you know what - I know how to do all of this part a better way now, so let's do it. Because only one thing could go wrong right? If only. Milling a cherry board and at the thicknessing step I noticed snipe on one edge of all four pieces. Well, turns out my thicknesser cutterhead assembly is not parallel to the bed. Fantastic. I think I've got the problem licked and tomorrow morning I'll give it a test and hopefully have a properly functioning thicknesser again.

  12. #11
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    And it's been a month since the last update. Well that isn't good. And about a month to go!

    What is good is that the thicknesser problem has been sorted and it now has some new carbide teeth which are leaving a much cleaner finish than the HSS teeth that I've finally removed. To be fair to the HSS, I likely hung on to them a lot longer than I should have. But what about the curio box? A small if significant step. The aforementioned cherry four weeks ago.

    cherry rough.jpg

    It was milled, cut to size, stacked, cupped a little, flattened again, stacked again, dropped off the saw where they were stacked, dinged some corners as a result, and finally put to use today. Final thickness ~14mm. I took the last two weeks to finish up two dovetailed boxes from random offcuts to get my head back into the process of what I wanted to do with this box. First step, joinery for the carcass. The back will be a floating panel and the front will be drawers. Due to the impending deadline, I'm scrapping the continuous grain drawer idea from above. I've also moved away from the secret mitred dovetails, instead it will be half blind mitred dovetails. The grain will wrap around the side and top but I did want a little of the hand cut joinery to peek through without being as bold as regular dovetails.

    The sides will be the tail boards and for the half blind mitred dovetails, the tail boards need to end in half tails. The tail boards are ganged up and are laid out with what I think will be a pleasing pattern for the pins. I also did a story stick so the tails on the other end of the boards should be pretty close to these. The tails will be the skinniest I've cut so far, which isn't saying too much, but why not make life as hard as we can right?

    tails marked.jpg

    And yes, I mark the waste or I will cut on the wrong side of the line. Or worse, start chopping out a tail instead of the pin recess. Ask me how I know. Actually, don't, it's embarrassing. The base line is only marked on the inside face of the boards for now. Once sawn, I'll use the saw lines to determine where the base lines should be marked for the show faces. The base line is like 0.1mm thinner than the stock thickness to leave something to plane when prepping the box for finish.

    Sawn nearly to the base lines. Needs more practice but we will take what we can get. On the plus side, nothing went past the base line and the tails are the less critical part since the pins will be scribed directly from the tails.

    tails sawn.jpg

    And where I left it this afternoon, the chisel in the photo is 3mm, when I did the tails layout I was aiming for having 6mm at the baseline for the pin sockets so I should (hopefully) be able to stick my 6mm chisel in for the final paring. I find small chisels terrible to sharpen freehand, so these have gotten a full regrind with a honing guide and are razor sharp and perfectly square now. Not photographed but I have a 90 degree block that I'll be clamping along the baseline to get the sockets perfectly square. I really don't want huge gappy pins showing, and when my skill is lacking, I resort to aids! (We may still have gappy pins, pray for me WW forums)

    tails pre chopping.jpg

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