Woodworking

WP_20151111_20_37_46_ProMy father was a hand carver and while he didn’t teach me, appreciating wood work is something we had in common. I love collecting turned vessels and hand carved spoons, I even have a few pieces of wooden jewelry. There are so many gorgeous grain patterns, colors, even burls and knots, that make wood crafts so diversely beautiful. I use wood for encaustic paintings and mosaics, creating art on it but not of it. So far the only piece I’ve created from wood is a bandsaw box. These boxes are very unique and fun because the bandsaw opens up endless potential for curves and shapes, while freeing the artist from the meticulous measuring that goes into most functional woodworking. I loved the creativity this project allowed and I still enjoy seeing artists coming up with more elaborate boxes. If you’re thinking “aren’t boxes just square?” I recommend googling bandsaw boxes or picking up “400 Wood Boxes: The Fine Art of Containment and Concealment” by Lark Brooks. This is a favorite of mine and looking at the amazing photos I could wonder for hours over how these boxes were made. boxes Bandsaw boxes start from a single block of wood, in my case this was ash. From there, it really is a matter of dissecting a puzzle. Looking at the block and determining the order of operations that will allow you to cut out all the pieces, then glue them back minus the cavity you’ve created for storage. Bandsaw boxes can have tops or drawers, but the puzzle is very similar. There are YouTube videos (here is a good one) and step by step diagrams online  to explain how this works and once you get the trick you can look at many of these and follow the kerf (cut created by the saw) to see what the artist did. Of course, the more WP_20140201_002complex the piece the harder it is is to trace their work. For my box I went with a curvy asymmetrical shape and dove right into work. If you look closely, these pieces are all labeled “front” “drawer” “back” etc. Ash has a very light wood grain (especially in this stage being cut and sanded) so it’s much easier to label when you make cuts than try to line up faint patterns later. WP_20140201_004To practice pressure and control when making turns on the saw I had used poplar and mahogany, both softer woods than ash. Taking the ash to the saw I ended up with wider curves than intended, but I loved the almost heart-shaped face. Then came all the hand tooling and sanding. Using files on this harder wood was no picnic, but I’ve always loved the look and feel that goes into art that was worked by hand as opposed to solely machine. I did use a spindle sander to get into the curve on top and a disc sander to work on the left side which was tough end grain. To add some accents to my piece I painted the drawer with brown and green milk paints, and added a knob of walnut. This was actually a scrap piece with some rich color that was sitting around the woodshop and after a little shaping it was perfect. I’m really proud of this piece and it’s given me a lot of ideas for classes and projects I’d like to take on some time. I think if he could see it my dad might like my woodworking too.

woodworking

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