I Knew Right Away These Were Not Like Other Curls
Day two for this project is in the books. Ever have one of those days where everything was just… on? Where everything seemed to go smoothly for some reason and things just fell into place? Day two was one of those days. I treasure those days.
On the first day, I got the sides cut to size and the rebates on all four sides of the bottom. My goal for last night was to get the sliding lid fitted.
If you hadn’t noticed, I’m just using ½” poplar from the box store. I’m challenging myself here. It’s pretty easy (my opinion, of course) to take really great wood (figured maple or walnut, reclaimed bog oak, something exotic and dense) and make a box that doesn’t look too bad, even if the design is off or the construction is not clean. If you can sand moderately well and not botch the finish, people tend to focus on the wood instead of the form.
But I want to take plain wood – just something I picked up from the local home center – and make a really good box out of it. Something that draws just as much attention to it, even though it’s just plain ol’ fuzzy poplar.
I buy poplar like I buy pine from the big box stores. Go frequently, dig through the wood, occasionally walk away with a good board or two (but usually empty handed), and stick it in the shop. A few weeks ago, I lucked upon a thin poplar board that was fully quartersawn! Man, it was beautiful and straight as an arrow! I want to find more of THOSE!
It was the perfect contrast I wanted for the lid, so I pulled it out and cut it to length on the miter box and rebated the edges to make it fit the grooves in the sides. Sometimes I struggle with keeping my rebate plane cuts square, so I have to fix them with the rabbeting block plane. But I tried some hand and body position adjustments last night and it seemed to work. These rebates were MUCH better; practically square, even!
Does anyone else ever feel guilty just putting shavings like these in the shaving bin? They look so… cool! They aren’t like your average shavings. I feel like there is something I should be able to do with these wonderful curls of wood! Let me know if you’ve figured out a way to use them, yah?
After that, I used a jack plane to lower the top a bit and even it out with the sides before smoothing (it isn’t long enough to need a jointer plane). Since I don’t use it very much, I don’t mind the weight of my 604 ½ smoothing plane. It’s a beast! But, I can set it very well and I have a great amount of control over it. I don’t usually post pictures of the gossamer shavings, but like I said, I was really in the groove last night…
Now that I have the box proper all set up, I can work on fitting out the inside and maybe tighten up the miters a little. I have some interesting ideas for it that I’m excited to try out! And, if I have enough time, I might try and do a little inlay, either on the front or on the lid. I picked up a box of pure white holly scraps from Bill Rittner, left over from the holly knob and tote I bought from him, and I’ve been dying to try carving some of it up! Or maybe try something else? Not sure yet.
(Raney, hows about you make me a smoothing plane and I’ll stop with the GD references? Not a bad deal, eh?)