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:
- straightforward design that allowed me to practice using all the tools,
- 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,
- 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:
- 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.
- 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…
- 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!