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Bogged Down No More…

November 17, 2017

Sometimes I have so much going on that nothing ever seems to make progress. Right now, I’m working on… well, I’m working on several projects all at once, it seems. That’s not unusual, is it? One of them is another collaboration with my friend, Rab Gordon, of Rainnea Ltd. It’s an interesting project in that it is driven by form more so than function. The client recently had a sgian dubh made and wanted a reminder of it that he could put on his desk at work. My guidelines were to use a provided cabochon and bog oak – and that’s it.

Honestly, it can be challenging to build something with very minimal information! So it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do.

And, of course, I had to go with something that would challenge me, right? I’ve made dovetail boxes before. And I’ve used bog oak plenty of times. I’ve yet to make a dovetail box out of bog oak, but that’s the plan. The goal, then, is to make a dovetailed desktop pen box out of bog oak with a lift-off lid that has the cabochon inlaid into the top of it.

Bog Oak Panels 01

I have an aversion to thick-walled boxes, so the first thing I needed to do was rip down some wood. I decided to give the new Luban 043 (copy of the Record 043) a try with the resaw attachment. I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t completely impressed by it, but I think I need to use it a few more times before coming out with a proper review. It served its purpose, though, and I was able to finish resawing the piece with my Ron Bontz rip saw such that it would require the bare minimum of cleanup afterwards.

Bog Oak Panels 02

A freshly sharpened Hock blade in my Stanley No7 made this clean-up an easy task. For being 5,000 year old wood, the bog oak planes wonderfully and the shavings look like curly black Shirley Temple ringlets.

Bog Oak Panels 05

Check out those medullary rays from the quartersawn oak! This really is some wonderful wood. But before I go any further with the bog oak, I want to brush up on my dovetails.

Bog Oak Panels 07

This first run is in mahogany. 

Dovetail Practice 01

Dovetail Practice 02

Considering it’s been a few years since I’ve cut dovetails, I was pleased with the final result. Nice and square, very few gaps, and just one saw cut past the scribe line. I decided to be useful while I was practicing, so I took a page out of David Barron’s book and made a device to help line up the tail board to mark the pins.

Dovetail Practice 03

But I want to get a few more done before I cut into the most expensive wood I have in my shop…

Stay tuned for more. And I’ll try to include an update on the other big project I’ve been working on. And the last batch of knives? And some other ideas I’ve been kicking around? I think it’s time to kick the blog back into activity…



5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2017 9:03 pm

    There wouldn’t be enough bog oak left behind for a marking knife or two, would there?


    • November 19, 2017 12:41 am

      Yeah, I have a bit squirreled away. What did you have in mind?


      • December 7, 2017 9:02 pm

        I forgot I posted! (Thanks WordPress for reminding me)

        I looked before I leapt shortly after that when I thought I was going to need to turn a handle for a veneer scraper plane. Turned out the plane wasn’t what I was looking for, but I had already sprung for a chunk of cocobolo for the handle. I’ve had a knife idea bouncing around in my head for two years now and thought that bog oak would make a beautiful “perfect” handle for a hand-forged knife, but then this cocobolo happened.

        But I don’t know any smiths so it might be a moot point anyway.


  2. Brian Eve permalink
    November 21, 2017 6:53 am

    Nice looking dovetails! I’m interested in that Luban plane. I’ll have to think hard if I want to buy one or not.


    • November 21, 2017 8:57 am

      Do you have a Record 043? Or can you track down a used one for little money? If so, that would be my recommendation right now. Not sure the Luban is worth the additional cost for the features it has… but I want to play around with it more before saying anything definite.


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