Secrets of the String Box Revealed #2: Laminate The Strings

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Blog entry by newTim posted 08-26-2010 07:42 AM 7569 reads 20 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro and Invitation Part 2 of Secrets of the String Box Revealed series Part 3: Resaw & Bookmatch »

I’ve prepped over thirty pictures so far so I tried to break them up into logical groups. The first part is to laminate the strings. For this box I’m using the re-saw technique and start with a thick piece of wenge (8/4) milled flat and square. I re-sawed some strips of maple and ran them through the drum sander for thickness and to remove any larger saw marks. I made a single rip cut on the wenge with a gentle random curve on the bandsaw and glued a thin strip of maple in between the two parts and clamped them tight. Try to keep the bottom of the boards flat as this will save some planing later on. Also, I avoid making any sharp or compound curves to make the glue up easier. One option if you make tight curves is to use thinner strips. You can double or triple up on the strips using the same wood type for a thicker line, or mix colors for a different effect. Another tip when crossing strings is to keep the ends of the block in alignment when clamping. Again, you can use a long clamp to keep it square (not pictured here). I got a question about whether I needed to smooth the surfaces of the curves in order to get a tight fit and sharp edges. No, not really. I just took them straight from the bandsaw to the clamps. I think the trick is to make gentle curves with a continuous cut and even feed rate. You can smooth the surfaces with a flexible sanding block or use a scraper. It could also be that the glue caused the maple strips to swell up and cover any small defects. Don’t know.

I usually let the glue set up for thirty minutes or so then scrape off the squeeze out. Once it has set up awhile I simply make another random curved rip cut on the bandsaw and repeat the lamination steps until I have all the strips in place that I want. One thing to notice is I experimented with cutting curves that go from an end to a side, instead of end to end, thus cutting off a corner. The two parts will slip out of alignment in the clamps so I just use a long clamp end-to-end to keep everything in place. When all the lamination is complete I trim any flaps (maple strips) at the bandsaw or with a handsaw, the use normal milling techniques at the jointer, planer, and table saw to square it up and flatten and smooth the surfaces just like any other piece of rough lumber.

On this box I will grain match all the sides as well as match the strings. Next blog I’ll do the re-sawing and book-matching.

-- tim hill

6 comments so far

View Vince's profile


1209 posts in 3940 days

#1 posted 08-26-2010 07:51 AM

Well done, love to see part three.

-- Vince

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 08-26-2010 09:49 AM

Wow. Great idea with the contrasting woods. Seems like a natural inspiration for those of us with new band saws to experiment and create new designs. Thanks for sharing!

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View degoose's profile


7258 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 08-26-2010 10:38 AM

Cut and resaw… a good way of making a different design… I noticed the tumbling blocks in the background of Pic #2…I that the one you posted a few months ago or is it a new one..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 4020 days

#4 posted 08-26-2010 10:20 PM

Brilliant concept! Can’t wait to see the remainder of the tutorial.


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View newTim's profile


615 posts in 4118 days

#5 posted 08-27-2010 05:53 AM

Thanks all. degoose… Yes! That is the (your) diamond board I finished a couple months ago. However, I have a bunch of tubes cut, some glued, getting ready to crosscut. Another day, another blog.

-- tim hill

View tdv's profile


1202 posts in 3581 days

#6 posted 10-13-2010 11:27 PM

Love those flowing lines beautiful choice of wood with the Wenge & maple, There is just so much inpiration on this site we’ll all be busy for the next 50 years.
Thanks for sharing it

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

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