Monday, March 23, 2015

Ye Olde Tupperware

I did some research on the Shakers.  My favorite discovery is their "invention" of the Shaker Box.  I put the quotes, because it's likely they didn't actually invent them, so much as they got really skilled at making lots of quality ones.  Sort of how Henry Ford didn't "invent" the car or the assembly line - he just jumped it ahead.
Anyway, the base conundrum is:  You live before plastics exist, but you want to keep critters out of your food ingredients.  Hence the Shaker Box.  It is the old world version of Tupperware.

I'll add little "in-progress" pictures next time I make a batch, but you have to make a very careful form for each size box so that they will all store inside each other.
First you steam bend the bottom and tack it closed with copper nails, then you steam bend the top right onto the bottom, getting a near perfect seal (perfect seal if you use the standards from 100 years ago).  Tada!  Air tight boxes for storing anything dry that you want to store.
Now I make these for people as potpourri storage, desk organizers, decorations, and gifts.  Also great for storing jewelry or as special gift boxes.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Doorbell chime covers - gone wild!

Once enough people saw my doorbell chime cover I started getting some requests.

A fellow black belt at my Taekwondo studio had one of those doorbells with 100 different chimes, so he needed a cover that could be hinged open.  He also wanted a cardinal to be sitting on a branch, with the tree wrapping around the corner like a actual branch.
A little tricky, but here's what worked out.

The background is walnut.  The cardinal itself is carved from basswood.  The border of the box is Maple from a tree that fell down on his property.  The twist was to perform the joinery so that it would be structurally sound, and then to carve a tree like shape out of the board (without going through!)

Here's a better view of the "tree" side.  One piece of wood.  On last check the Cardinal was just fine, and is currently playing the "Westminster Abbey" chime sound.

Here's a cute little chickadee.  She's about to peck at some dangling pine cones.  Walnut background and Maple border.  Ironically, the pine cones are carved from Mahogany.

Here's a horrible photo of very nice rose.  Walnut background again.  Spalted maple box, and the rose carved from Mahogany and Basswood.
 If you look carefully at the sides, you can see the decorative splines that join the box sides, and if you look really carefully you can see the rose vines and leaves cut into the sides - these allow the sound to escape to the room.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Beautiful House, Beautiful Entryway, Ugly doorbell chime cover

It started with my house.  We had a pretty walkway.  Beautiful doorway.  Lovely foyer with nice appointments and fresh paint.  And a dog-ugly, sun faded, cheap-o, plastic box covering the doorbell chimes.
This had to be fixed.  My bride loves roses, so I made this box to replace that plastic eye sore.

I got much better after this, but it was a nice improvement.  Rose is made of basswood.  Each pedal is carved separately, then glued back together.  The surround is made of maple, and I cut out some vines to allow the sound to escape.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Inaugural post - now that it's 2015, I thought I'd catch up to the 90's and start a blog

The first post!

I'm going to attempt to show some of my woodwork for your enjoyment - and of course hoping you to inspire you to commission something special for yourself.

I'm also pretty weak on photo skills, but I plan on getting better.  So until then...

I made this plaque for a local TKD studio.  He allowed me to enter it in our NWA woodworking competition/show. Won 2nd place!

It doesn't show well in this picture, but the background is actually 1 piece of oak, that I cut into two Ying-yang halves, then stained two colors.  The "opponent" is cutout into negative space (as he is the opponent of the trainee's imagination).
The hardest part was inlaying the black belt on the main character.  It had to fit perfect, but still flow like it was made of fabric.  Now's when I realized I should have shot a close-up, but the piece is long gone, so lesson learned.

2nd place for Training Spirit plaque (for local TKD studio)

Luckily for me someone commissioned me to do something even better!  "What if you put a clock into it?" he said.  "You're brilliant!" says I.