Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thrown for a Curve

While I was tinkering with the design for the Birdseye Maple box lids, I flipped the bent laminated arcs upside down and ended up liking a completely different look than I had originally planned for.  I think this is one of the most enjoyable parts of the design process…being surprised by something new right in front of your eyes. 
Since I hadn’t shared the results of all the bent lamination glue-ups previously, please peruse the following…
I used the bending form to glue up six laminated arcs.  As you can see the finished arcs really held their form with no spring-back or twisting.

As each laminated arc came off the form I sanded the sides to clean up any glue squeeze-out and flatten the sides square to the top and bottom surfaces.

I’m really pleased with the shape and with the look that resulted from the alternating strips of Wenge and Padauk.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see the consistency I was able to achieve.  Not bad for a bending rookie!

I opted to beef up the box lids a bit, so I’m gluing the 1/4 inch stock (smaller piece) to the 3/8 inch stock.  I’ve marked the center of both pieces and carried those lines out the corners to assist with lining the pieces up during the glue-up.

The smaller piece gets a thorough coat of Titebond III.

Both pieces are then glued together utilizing the center lines to align them perfectly.  I’ve glued these together with the cross grain of each piece perpendicular to each other.  This is quarter-sawn Wenge, so the movement should be very minimal and this cross grain orientation will protect the lids from any splits that may occur along a grain line.  (A real danger with such thin quarter-sawn stock.) 

The smaller, bottom piece forms a “rabbet” around the underside of the lid that will fit into the box top opening.  A few clamps and a couple hours is all it takes.

Once the clamps came off, clean up was easy with a sharp chisel.  I also trimmed the bottom piece, a little shaving at a time, until I snuck up on a nice fit into the box top opening.  It was a great opportunity to use one of my most recent Christmas presents, the Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane.  Thanks Dad!

With the tops glued up (I actually made two of these Wenge lids) it was time to move on to the preparation of the laminated arc for the lid handle.  After playing with various angles and positions I located the point where I wanted the arc to attach to the lid and sanded a small flat into a section of the arc.

I spent quite a bit of time laying out various lines to identify where the handle would be attached.  I’ve centered the handle on the lid and am running the handle in the same direction as the grain on the top of the box lid.  Once I was happy with my placement I drilled a small hole through the handle and into the lid.

This hole will receive a screw that will serve two purposes.  First it will help me align the position of the handle when gluing it down to the box lid, and second, it will provide the holding pressure needed while the glue sets.   The screw will be removed later, and I have an idea to “hide” the hole with a decorative effect.

There is still some work to be done on the final design, but this is the basic look I’m going for on this one.  The handle overhangs each side of the lid by the same “length”, just a touch less than one inch.  I also trimmed the ends at angles that allow them to run parallel to the edges of the Wenge Lid.

We’re coming down the home stretch on this one.  I’m still thinking about the design for the second lid.  I was thinking of doing two of the same and then decided that it might look cool to have two different handle styles with the same material, especially if the boxes are placed together.  Maybe some kind of contrasting or competing design…a little yin/yang type thing.


Vic Hubbard said...

I really like the yin yang idea. I've added you to my reader. I definitely want to see where you go with this. Good work, Pete.

Pete said...

Thanks Vic. I really enjoyed working on these. Final entry on the construction is on it's way. And, as always, critique is always welcome! :)

Pete said...

Oh, and congrats again Vic! For any of you reading here, Vic just had one of his pieces published in the reader's gallery of the latest issue of Fine Woodworking!