Crawford Box

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Project by dclark1943 posted 06-15-2014 04:19 PM 3141 views 12 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently returned from a 5 day workshop with Andrew Crawford in the Shropshire hills of England. The trip was awesome ! This is something I had been contemplating for some time, and the trip did not disappoint. I shared the workshop with a couple other fellows, one from England and one from Texas. The course walked us through the basics of box building, at the knee of a master. As Roger Bean said in his blog on his time with Andrew, working with him is experiencing the “gold standard”. The course was structured around building a pretty straight forward box from the bottom up. The process brought out the details of working with veneer, inlay, mounting hinges, locks, escutcheons, lining with leather building the tray and finishing. Going over there, I felt pretty confident I had a pretty good grip on those process’s. But the insights and process’s took on a whole new light when put into the structure of his class. Each morning started with a cup of espresso ! how cool is that? Andrew is a musician, so of course music in the background was an essential part of the day as well. Lunch at the Station inn in Marshbrook included a Pint of Ale (half pint for me) and a lively exchange of experiences and idea’s with new found friends. The days started at 9:30, with lunch at 1:00 and then finishing up @ around 5:30 to 6:00. My bed and breakfast was about a mile away, and I had planned to walk to the shop each day, but Barry had a car, so he provided the transport – Thank you Barrry ! As Roger also said in an email: about every 10 minutes you have one of those ” Aha” moments, well so true. all the way from construction technique to shop idea’s. We chose our timber ( walnut or cherry) first thing, then launched into the intricacies of the veneer top – laying out the bookmatch, and refining the seaming technique to produce a flawless seam. The bottom was also veneered at this time. The machining of the timber was next with the rabbets for the top and bottom and the corner joinery followed by glue up. The top was separated on the bandsaw, and the banding was next. I chose Walnut timber and sycamore banding. The process for mortising the lock and hinges was explained in detail and then completed with Andrew’s own “Smarthinge”, and new “Smartlock” installed. This hardware is exquisite, and I have become a convert and will continue to use them. These items are available on his website : I chose mother of pearl for the escutcheon, cutting it to shape, drilling and installing again with lots of advice and processes to produce a perfect fit and finish. The box interior was completely lined with pigskin, and the tray included ring rolls and had corner keys of costello and brass pins to fasten the dividers. The exterior finish was three coats of danish oil, and the only exterior machining was a small 45 around the top and the bottom. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to “up their game” The class will do that, but the experience is priceless.
If anyone is interested, my pictures are on Flickr :[email protected]/sets/72157644773477179/

-- Dave, Kansas City

14 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5562 days

#1 posted 06-15-2014 05:53 PM

Beautiful Box and a great story to go along with it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View neverenougftackle's profile


195 posts in 3008 days

#2 posted 06-15-2014 05:57 PM

Hello there Dave, I also happen to live, in your part of this world.

So I am fairly new here at LJ’s, read your report, and went over to flicker to view your journey, then to view into your past work here at LJ’s. I’d have to say it was not at all boring….What intrigues me about museums showing past achievements. Was what the engineers and artisans of that day ( ),,,,, was able to achieve. Using their in sites, their fathers before them past experiences, then into their craftsmanship, that had been passed down, with what tools they had that was available in their time. No matter how big their project, it was then as it is now, the attention to detail, matter’s.

In these to compared, these small boxes, weather you are a novice starting out, or a seasoned woodworker. The artistic craftsmanship all highlights his efforts, but also rewards him in the the viewer admiration as to his attention to the detail. Reminds me of walking threw those museums, there before me, and though he is long gone, illustrates his thoughts and his care, in his work,,,,, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow,,, that will remain the same.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3966 days

#3 posted 06-15-2014 08:29 PM

This is one fine box. Very elegant, very smooth. I like it a lot.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Patti Zongker's profile

Patti Zongker

209 posts in 4588 days

#4 posted 06-15-2014 09:18 PM

Hi Dave~~~ This is a very beautiful box :)

-- Follow your passion, and success will follow you.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5380 days

#5 posted 06-16-2014 01:40 AM

It looks as though you learned very well… and had a wonderful time in the process!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ruddy's profile


550 posts in 4101 days

#6 posted 06-16-2014 01:51 AM

Dave…that is a superb piece of work. Congratulations. And I am sure you have been inspired by the experience of working with such an extraordinary teacher. The hinges and lock are all class. Thanks for posting all the photos.
I lived in the UK for a number of years in my youth and actually grew to like the taste of English Ale but nowadays, whenever I visit , I wonder whatever was I thinking
Regards from Sydney

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View Brice1's profile


113 posts in 3510 days

#7 posted 06-16-2014 11:02 AM

Dave – Excellent pictorial essay on your blog! Makes me want to go out and by a plane ticket today. Really nice job on the box too… It looks like you all had a great time, and were able to learn quite a bit at the master’s knee.

Thanks for posting all the photos.


-- Brice, Philadelphia

View dclark1943's profile


270 posts in 3349 days

#8 posted 06-16-2014 12:58 PM

thanks for all the nice posts: Brice, you would love the experience ! Ruddy, The Ale was part of the “British” experience. wouldn’t have missed it :- ). Patti – good to hear from you, hope things are stellar in Omaha ! karson, Roger, Charlie – Thanks for looking! and “Neverenouftackle” how true your comments. Hope you all had a great fathers day, and keep making sawdust : – )

-- Dave, Kansas City

View jimee's profile


4 posts in 2753 days

#9 posted 06-16-2014 01:24 PM

Awesome box! It turned out beautifully. I appreciate that you shared the story as well as additional photos of your experience.

How did you cut the splines in the tray corners? I see in one photo where you have the tray turned on end against a fence, but am not sure what that tool is. Is it a table saw?

Again, thanks for sharing!


View Randy63's profile


252 posts in 4054 days

#10 posted 06-17-2014 12:24 AM

Well done Dave. Must have been a delightful experience and I envy you. Having heard about Andrew’s teaching from Roger and now seeing you photos I would really like to go there one day.

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2986 days

#11 posted 06-17-2014 01:36 AM

Beautiful box Dave, the wood choice and inlays look great, you did an awesome job…thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4198 days

#12 posted 06-19-2014 12:51 PM

Nicely understated with quality construction and detailing.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2856 posts in 4754 days

#13 posted 07-08-2014 08:40 PM

Hi Dave,

This is one beautiful box, such clean and crisp lines and made to perfection!!

I know this for a fact because Dave just visited my shop in Omaha NE. I have to say it was really great to see you and bringing your box with you was quite the surprise. Thank you for making my day!!!

What a great story and pictures, I’m glad you got a chance to see Andrew, what a wonderful experience that must have been!

-- Dennis Zongker

View dclark1943's profile


270 posts in 3349 days

#14 posted 07-08-2014 08:53 PM

Dennis, Thanks for your post, and kind words; It was a great experience. It was also a great experience to visit your shop and see the work you and your team are doing as well. Thanks for the tour and your time, and I look forward to our next visit!

-- Dave, Kansas City

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