Woodwork #1

Over the christmas break, I had a bit of time to actually do some woodworking. Since I’m new to the whole thing, I wanted an easy project.

My requirements were:

  1. straightforward design that allowed me to practice using all the tools,
  2. small enough to allow me to do several items at the same time – if I make a mistake (when I make a mistake!), it’s far less tragic since I have a number of other units in production at the same time,
  3. functional and decorative at the same time

I decided a simple desk penbox would do the trick – it uses a minimum amount of wood, and is handy everywhere I am.

I made several out of River Red Gum and Camphor Laurel. There is plenty of Red Gum available where I am so it’s a useful timber for me to use – it certainly looks better than Pine, though it’s taken me a while to find a good source at reasonable costs (Peterson Sawmills in Little Hampton).Camphor Laurel is extremely pretty timber, isn’t it? – Leanne now has me booked up with a bunch of projects using it! I found the Red Gum easiest to cut because it is so hard – there was no tear out to speak of.

The photos below also show a “bandsaw box” I made using White Cedar that was given to me by Douglas Bell (woodturner, sculpter, pyrography, teacher). It finished up rather well. I was taught how to do this at a great course run by MIK International.



OK – whilst I’m quietly pleased with these first attempts, there are a number of defects which I’ll be trying to fix on my next round of box making:

  1. There are some gaps in some of the dovetail joints (see last photo). I didn’t fill these this time, but will in future. Even better, I’m attempting to understand how they came about in the first place. I use a Leigh Dovetail Jig to make the joints – the wonder jig – so I suspect I will improve with some experience.
  2. I used 6mm MDF for the base inside the box. Next time I will veneer these because it is so unattractive. You don’t really see it, but I know it’s there…
  3. The design is too simple. It would be far more visually interesting if I routed some arches in the base to make feet, perhaps added a thin inlay if the wood was rather plain,…

My next project will be to extend the design by creating a money box for all the loose change I seem to be carrying around. Same proportions as the penbox, larger size, add a removable lid (with coin slot) and arch the base to create some feet!

Stay tuned!

One thought on “Woodwork #1”

  1. hi shane, looks fantastic. don’t know where you find all the time for it? I’ve really been into time wasting lately, not doing any jobs around the house. just sitting and living the moment with vicki and the kids. very unproductive in some ways, but it’s been a real chill out season. have given up cycling even, recent hamstring and calf injuries. still have the motorscooter and planning on a ride today to meet the family out at a friends farm, could go in the car with them, but I think I’ll take the bike to get the breeze between the knees. my next door neighbour john has had a couple of trips to adelaide recently with vintage cars, he recently went there to pick up a model T ford ute, I thought I could of went with him and said hello to you guys but it has been a bit busy up here. will catch up with guys sometime, we might even send you a late xmas card but we are really into inactivity and procrastination at the moment.

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