First, let me remind readers that this is a project which was built during the Spring and Summer of 2020. See part 1 of this series here.
With the opportunity to build this box, I tried a few things that I had never done before: 1) The box itself is a first; I’ve never built a proper box before. 2) I decided to try making my own quarter-sawn material from what originally were flat-sawn boards. 3) I had a piece of live edge walnut lumber which I thought would be ideal for this project. I’ve never worked with lumber directly from a saw mill. In short, this was going to be a totally new and fresh project for me.
Making Quarter-Sawn Ash
I bought a supply of ash a while back, intended for a chair project I lost interest in. Some of this ash was close to 1 3/4″ thick or more. It has since been in my workshop waiting to be used on some other project. I was thinking that the light color of ash would work well with the dark color of walnut. I’m not a fan of flat-sawn ash (also referred to as plain-sawn). The grain is strong with cathedrals which are broad and pronounced. I’m at a point where I like grain that is more quiet. In a video by Philip Morley, he talked about how he likes to take thick, flat-sawn lumber and slice pieces off turning these slices into quarter-sawn boards; a process he calls the “rip and flip”. I used this method to make quarter-sawn ash. Take a look at the image below…
Above, the thick ash board on the left and a stack of slices on the right. The resulting slices have a very linear grain. Then on to the jointer and planer to get uniform edges and faces. And then some glue-up.
Forming the Basic Box Shape
Following the simple plan I created in SketchUp Layout (see it here), I had to create rabbets and grooves along with 45 degree miter cuts to each end.
Note the little router plane above. I’ve always wanted a router plane and this project was the impetus for buying one. So this is another first for this project: using a router plane and I’ll add that it was fun to use. Now I need a large router plane. 🙂
So far, everything is going well, the lid and box components were cut to length with the same set-up at the table saw. What I mean is that I cut the two long sides of the box as well as the two long sides for the lid at the same time with the same set-up (fence location, stop bock) ensuring these parts were identical in length. Then I did the same for the short sides. The grooves were all cut with the same set-up as well.
With the box and lid components fabricated and fitted together, next comes the walnut parts. I’ll be using a rustic, live edge piece of walnut for this which was a first for me. That will be coming soon.