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Thread: My Burl Box

  1. #1
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    Default My Burl Box

    Recently I purchased two burls, cut into 15mm slices. Burls are Coolabah and RedGum. Slices are about the 15mm mark, maybe somewhere between 14 and 16 or 17. I was keen to try out one of the burls for a lid insert, this one being Coolabah, boy it has come up nice, just like polished marble. The rest of this box is from Red Mahogany. The old Red Mahogany in the tray is very typish to burl timber, maybe it was, very twisted grain. A very large box 350mm x 220mm x 120mm, a little larger than I would normally do. But I prepared a section of the burl and didnt want to waste it.

    Took me a fair time to sand the section of a burl down to 12mm, basically just on my home made drum sander. I don't have a thicknesser/jointer or such. Soooo I have now started to make a small overhead router/sled to hopefully facilitate getting these down to about 13mm, then finish down to 12mm with my drum sander. I'll do some pics of it when finished.

    I'll of course have a fair bit of wastage from these burls, but as long as I get what I want I'll be more than happy. Pen turners would love the offcuts. Maybe I'll think of something else that I can do with them in the meantime.

    I took a pic of the burl slices also so you can see what I am getting at. If you're wondering what the white box is next to the burls in the pic, my old drill press, well it didn't stop working but the chuck kept falling off the tapered shaft, mainly due to me misusing it. I was putting a router bit into it to drill out cavities in guitar bodies and it didn't seem to like that much. It was a cheap drill press, so when I bought a new one, I pulled the old one apart, and rebuilt it into that box basically so I could turn it into a spindle sander. It comes in handy as if you look closely at this box, I make the little scallop thingies where the ring holders sit in. They are 5mm wide and the soft ring holders made from soft rubber (covered with velvet) just tuck up underneath and you don't see any tacky ends on them. They just push in and stay there, don't go anywhere, no glueing in etc.

    Paul
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  2. #2
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    Default

    That's a lovely box Paul. I especially like the burl. [emoji106]

  3. #3
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    That's really nice, I like the way the burl is fitted, and it's come up well.
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  4. #4
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    Beautiful box as usual Paul.
    Are your dovetails machine or hand cut?
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  5. #5
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    Thanks Alex and Dave and Jacques, very kind compliments. Dave, yes the dovetails are made with the gifkin jig. When I bought my Gifkin dovetail jig etc from Col, I made my own router table. Followed the plans from Roger which he had on his site back then (about 6 years ago). For the top of the table I used MDF and then covered that with laminex (all around). But lately I've noticed its not as flat as it used to be. Perhaps the glue and/or the laminex was lifting, who knows. So about two weeks ago I bought a table from Col, should have bought it a few years ago to be honest. His tables are excellent. I've been away for a couple of weeks and need to now make some fences.

    The small overhead router/sled is taking shape, might have it finished early in the week. Fingers crossed it works as I want.

    Paul

  6. #6
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    Hi Paul,

    A beautiful use of the burl and a great box overall. Congratulations! It must have been hard work getting the burl down to size, but definitely worth it. A very clean and elegant box!

    You are spot on about the router table. Flatness is so important, especially in boxmaking where precision on hinge cuts, lock rebates and inlay channels can make the difference between joy and disaster. Unless the top is very thick or well braced underneath the weight of a big router can create a dip in the surface over time. I think I’ll be in the market for a new top soon, so I look forward to hearing about your experience with Col’s table.

    Brian

  7. #7
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    Hi and thanks Brian, you are totally correct on both accounts. I didn't really notice the "unflatness" of my router top obviously creeping up on me. I was routering the slot for a smart hinge and one side was spot on at 3mm in depth, other side was 2.7mm, which as you know becomes a total pain in the correction of such. And yes those big routers, in my case a Triton TRA001 are quite heavy over a period of years. I went up to Col's and bought that table, then we headed off for a couple of weeks, family catch up trip. So I have only had limited use on it thus far, still need to make some fences. But I do like it, very well put together, easy to assemble, very sturdy, leg adjustment for uneven flooring. You still need to have some sort of a power outlet. Col just attaches a 4 point power board to his. I happened to have a proper tool type power ON/OFF switch that I bought when I built my previous one.

    I'm out in the shed endeavouring to make this small overhead router/sled. The bed is all finished, I am using a large cutting board made from that HDPE product for the sled, talk about strong they are, boy. I even had to put a ripping blade on my table saw just to slice it up. Now I am trying to router a largish slot through it and having all sorts of fun.

    Paul

  8. #8
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    As others have said Paul, a very elegant box and love the style of the lid frame which I have the plans for from Col's site but haven't attempted one yet.
    I understand how you feel about the burl insert. I have made quite a few pens and always enjoy the result when a burl has been used for the wooden sections. I use a CA finish which really makes the colours pop.
    Did you bring the thickness down by sanding only? Look forward to seeing your router sled and your opinion on how well it works as you have quite a stash of burls there.
    Cheers,
    Dallas

  9. #9
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    Thanks Dallas and all. Well I finally finished my little router invention. The sled is made from a cutting board I bought at Big W $20. 10mm thick. I think it was around 400 x 300, and that stuff is as hard as anything, HDPE its called. High Density Polysomethingorother. For a test drive this arvo I grabbed the next slice of burl which was RedGum, however it was only about 14mm thick, so I didnt have a lot of work to do on it. I need to set up a couple of little things to set my height to (whilst router is on the sled). The photos tell the story.

    I put the burl through my drum sander after routering process was finished.


    My son owns the router, I borrowed it from him some time ago, now I borrowed it again. It wouldn't be an expensive one, but very lightweight, handy and small and easy to use.

    Paul
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  10. #10
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    Hi Paul,

    With your new table the uneven hinge cuts will presumably be a thing of the past. However, just as a thought, I have found a small router plane cleans up this sort of thing really well. As a regular thing now I run the router plane around any channels I cut for inlay just to be sure.

    Looking forward to seeing your next creation with the burl!

    Brian

  11. #11
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    Nice and simple and very effective. I take it there is no flex in the main bottom panel, but I guess if you don't put any downward pressure on the Router there is no reason for it to deflect.
    What diameter is the bit you are using?
    Cheers,
    Dallas

  12. #12
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    hi Brian, I had to google to see what a small router plane was, very interesting. One I just looked at has a cutting blade of 1/4 inch on it. Shall keep this in mind. And I started to make a couple of fences this arvo also, I am very happy with this new table. The fences I had on my old table were getting a bit old so they can be all tossed out now also (along with the old router table).

    Hi Dallas, I had to go and look, the diameter is 30mm. I think its called a planing bit. And no flex in that sled, not sure how I thought of using that material, kinda just jumped into my head.

    Paul

  13. #13
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    Hi Paul,

    This is one of my favourite tools when I’m doing inlay work. I use the ‘closed mouth’ small Lie-Nielsen plane, fitted with either the 6mm or 2.5mm blade:

    CAE8C14E-905E-4AB8-AE8B-EE29F876E202.jpeg

    I was using it just this afternoon to clean up inlay channels on my current box - wouldn’t be without it:

    8632CA36-81D4-47E0-BB28-77507EF24A62.jpeg




    Brian

  14. #14
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    Thanks and very interesting Brian. Never thought these would get down to a 2.5mm cutting blade. I am guessing you make your initial cut with your sawtable?. I shall toss this around in my old head, as to uses for this for my purposes.

    Paul

  15. #15
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    VERY nice box. The burl looks somewhat like some i did a series of. Mallee root slices

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