A Pair of Boxes


I made these two boxes during the Christmas building season.  I had already finished my shopping, but my kid wanted to make a box for his special lady friend for a Christmas gift.  It made sense to me that if I was going to set the shop up to make one box, we should make three for the same amount of effort.  Also, this way we would have an extra in the event one of us made a mistake.

The boxes are cherry and the lids are bird’s eye maple.  I used a dovetail jig to cut the joints.  The lids are not hinged, they sit in a rabbet at the top of the box.  

I made the handles from offcuts of the box sides.  I ran the offcuts over a round over bit for the top and the bottom was done with a round nose bit.  They were pretty easy to make.  The hard part was working with small pieces.  The first handle is padauk, which is what The Boy used for his box sides.  The second handle is cherry.  

The finish is a few coats of boiled linseed oil and wiping varnish.  

I am donating the box with the padauk handle to the fundraising raffle for the Artistry In Wood show in Anchorage.  I’m keeping the other one for myself.  

Pretty Good Maple Plane


About a year ago, Jonathan S. from the Alaska Woodworker and I taught a Krenov style plane building class for the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association.  We had a dozen or so guys in the class.  We used Hock irons and chip breakers and the plane bodies were made from maple.  At the end of the class, my plane was substantially done and sat on the shelf for close to a year.  Does that make me a real woodworker?  Maybe I need a router table to be a real woodworker.

Each year ACWA participates in the Artistry in Wood display at the Northway Mall.  As president of the club, I encourage all of the board members to lead by example and put at least one piece in the show.  That was my incentive to finish up my Krenov plane.  A little bit of filing, contouring, and finish and I was done.  It did quite well in the show, perhaps because it was the only entry in the woodworking tools division.

The body of the plane is nice, straight grained maple.  The wedge has a little bit of curl to it and it has a pretty streak of spalting to give it some color.

I tried a new finish on this plane.  I made a beeswax and boiled linseed oil polish.  I melted the beeswax and poured it into the BLO.  I had to heat the mixture up to get it to blend.  I applied the first coat to the plane while it was still liquid.  Subsequent applications were when the mixture had firmed up.  I applied it to everything but the wedge, cross pin, and ramp.  Those areas received plain BLO.  No need for the wax to work against the wedge!

I’m happy with the way this plane turned out.  It is a pretty good maple plane.  Certainly not a Nice Ash Plane!

Wood Veneer Hammer

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I made a veneer hammer patterned after the style Steve Latta uses.  I have a commercially made all metal hammer, but as Steve explained to me, a metal hammer gets too hot.  He sets his hammer in a shallow pan of water on a hot plate to keep the hot hide glue from sticking to it.  A wood head hammer stays cool to the touch.

This hammer is made from figured maple and cocobolo.  I did the maple work and I had The Boy turn the cocobolo handle.  I say he helped me make the hammer, he says I helped him make the hammer.  I said I could have turned the handle.  He says yeah, but what he did in an hour would have taken me all day and three pieces of wood.  Fair enough.

It is hard to see in the photos, but The Boy burnished in some accent rings into the handle with an old guitar string.  I think it turned out nice.

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The metal squeegee portion of the hammer is a piece of 3/16″ brass stock.  I started with a square edge and rounded it over freehand.  Before I secured it into the maple head, I polished the brass on a buffing wheel.

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The brass strip is attached to the head with epoxy, then three brass pins (visible at the bottom of the picture above) provided a mechanical connection should the epoxy ever fail due to heat or moisture issues.

The cocobolo handle is attached to the maple head with a wedged tenon.  For a touch of style, I made a brass wedge.

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This hammer was used to veneer this mahogany fan pattern.  It worked just as well as Steve’s hammer and stayed cool to the touch.  What more could you ask for?