Roy Underhill published a book with the title The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop and eclectic as a woodworker fits me also. You see I love to build everything from Windsor chairs to other period furniture, but recently I’ve gotten into building boxes. Part of my reasoning was that after my last two moves, I had to look for woodworking projects to tackle during the chaos of not finding stuff and doing home improvements. The answer was building boxes for candles and making oak boxes like Peter Follansbee of Massachusetts. I’ve had the perfect excuse to build boxes as they don’t take as long to build, can include carving, and are great for doing demos. As a pastor, my shop time is pretty limited, but building boxes seems a good fit for me now. The other shop time has been to set up and organize equipment.
My current project is an oak desk box. Peter Follansbee put out numerous DVDs through Lie Nielsen and the beauty of them is that you can watch them a bunch of times. I haven’t had the opportunity to take a class from Follansbee, but for now his blog, and watching his DVDs on building boxes are refreshing for me. The oak desk box is a design from the 17th century and was originally built from either red or white oak split from logs. I opted to use some red oak that I had split much earlier from a log. Because the pieces are not very wide, I had to edge glue the stock together. I used hide glue to be period correct.
So here are pictures of the desk box that I’m building. I have cut the two sides, the front, and the back. Riven red oak will get used for the sides and front. Flat sawn red oak will be used for the top, lid, and back. White pine was edge glued for the bottom. I’ll use a combination of riven and flat sawn red oak for the compartments and drawers. I use wooden planes and occasionally a metal bodied plane as much as possible. I confess that I also use power tools, when necessary, to expedite the progress.
I’m pretty excited about the project, enough to ask Blacksmith Peter Ross to provide me hand wrought nails and dovetail hinges. I love Peter’s skill in blacksmithing and his hinges and nails will make the project. Barb will claim this desk box, but at least I’ll have some nice pictures for any future clients.
The crazy thing is that red oak won’t be available around here in ND, so I’ll have to use other woods in the future for making carved boxes. But for now, I’m using up oak stock and I love the grain pattern and look forward to carving this design utilized by Follansbee.
I’ll be posting on my progress and the next post will feature the carved panels.