To the subject at hand: A walnut and maple box! This box was for a friend's birthday; I am proud to say not a single power tool touched it, and it is the first box I have made that is satisfactory. Also proud to say that the back came from Silver maple branches I sawed myself, pretty darn proud of that.
Woods used: Walnut (I do not know what kind), curly rock maple, plain rock maple, spalted soft maple
Finish used: Danish Oil, plain
So, started with this cracked piece of walnut. Gotta lotta 'rejected' pieces from the yard.
Sadly the board had more cracks that I did not see, which later caused problems.
Here's the first set of dovetails; I did not have a set plan with this material, and I just went with how the material spoke to me and responded throughout the process.
Here, I first was thinking of having a large base and a smaller top, giving it a feel of openness...Later I realized I could probably do the same thing by neglecting a door, but making the top and base a uniform width.
Working with the restraints of spalted wood, naturally split along it's grain, was a bit of a challenge. Parts were prone to cracking which I repaired with shims or designed the back to take into account of.
The first thing is I wanted this box to be special; to incorparate a piece of the garden into the box was a high priority. This was the largest piece of spalted maple I had on hand, but it was not large enough to fit in a rabbet; I had arranged the box mainly around the walnut and curly maple pieces.
So, I decided to come up with a method, loosely inspired by some ancient Viking designs, and boy do I mean loose.
I attached the back using dovetails.
I don't give a finish planing until everything's said and done, so don't worry about the above's picture!
First doevetail came down, but that spalted knot in the bottom looks like trouble.
I've been making a switch from lacquers to oils and other finishes that aren't toxic.
And totally not because lacquer doesn't cure in the cold.
Danish Oil is perfect as it forms a nice protective finish while still allowing the natural wood feel to be present in the home; it also does not conflict with the nose and lungs, meaning it can be applied inside.
I actually got beeswax and coconut natural soap bars for Christmas, the beeswax has proved a nice finish when combing with mineral oil, and I have yet to try a soap finish yet.
I hope you can see how I chamfered and rounded the back, the top, bottom, and sides so to give it almost a coopered look and feel; I felt this blended the materials into a coherent whole.
So, I don't have anything nice to use as a backdrop; I did have this nice ray of sunshine in the garage, however.
I feel like a garage is a perfect backdrop, in a way, for my work- I try not to elevate my work above the reality of life.
Curly maple is always a beauty. It's tough to work with, however it feels like looking into a lake on some days- seeing ripples appear before you, but if you walk away and look back on it, the ripples are gone.
Spalted maple is beautiful. It really is an exhibit of the more abstract paintings of nature, and also a look into how the environment breaks down wood.
Those half-blind dovetails, planed flush, were cut by my azebik. These were my first half blind doevetails and I do not think they came out terrible.