The end of 2021 turned into quite a frenzy here at the World Headquarters of the Slow Woodworker. Definitely had a very productive couple of months, and it has spilled over into 2022.
The table? Finished!
Put three coats of shellac on the base pieces, then glued it up. Put four coats of James Krenov's polish on the table top, the attached it to the base. Voila! Just in time to go under the tree at Christmas - Merry Christmas to me!
Then while I was basking in the glow of completing that project I was casting about for something quick to do. I had a bookmatched piece of spalted maple that has been kicking around the shop literally for years looking for a home. I decided, since I got my training in a cabinetmaking school, that a cabinet would be a good way to deal with it! So I resawed some arbutus for the body, made a small panel of some oak, finished everything with a few coats of shellac and glued it together. Then I made some brass hangers for it, a shelf and called it done. Very satisfying to get this done in about a week instead of my usual three+ years!!
Also nice that all the woods were harvested and dried by me. The air dried oak was like working with butter, it planed so beautifully. I will definitely come back to that wood again in the future.
Well not being satisfied with two projects done I embarked on a third! I had always wanted to make a veneered jewellery box and even had some koa wood set aside many years ago (cough cough) for it. However I thought I should do a 'test' box first before using up my precious koa.
After much consideration and examining various options for wood using what I had in my shop, I decided to go with arbutus for the outside and maple for the inside.
I had some beautiful English oak which I bought years ago that I really wanted to use but it was an absolute bear to plane without tearout so I gave up on it. For now! It is obviously kiln dried, very brittle and has lots of reversing grain which I struggled to tame.
Rather than using plywood I decided to make my own ply, it will be three layers, poplar in the centre with a layer of alder on either side with the grains running at 90 degrees. The maple and arbutus veneers will glue to this, so five layers in total, about 9/16 thick.
So I resawed all the poplar and alder for my ply, then resawed all the maple and arbutus for the veneers. I glued up all the poplar and alder to make the 6 ply sections that a box requires, then trimmed each one to slightly oversized.
I put a piece of arbutus on the bottom edge of each of the four side pieces, this way the bands of the ply will not be visible if someone looks at the underside of the box.
Once the box is all glued up I will cut it on the bandsaw to separate the lid from the base. Since I don't want the edge of the ply visible on the cut, I actually first cut the ply and inserted a 3/8" thick piece of arbutus. So when I do the cut to separate the lid and base it will be cut along the arbutus strip!
Last night I glued up the arbutus and maple veneers to the front piece of ply. The back piece is in the clamps and the remaining four pieces will be done over the next couple of days.