Boxguy Trades Favors

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Project by Boxguy posted 09-27-2017 04:08 AM 3374 views 6 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for looking. Please check back for replies to all your questions and comments. Your responses are what make doing these postings fun.

Pictured is a White Oak urn (12” H x 8” W x 6” D ) with a hinged lid and 6 splines in each corner. The corner splines are made of the same oak board so they will add strength to the corner joints, but not distract from the carved-in designs. The rocks and the maple cross are all inset deeply into the 5/8” sides.

My friend Bob is a carver, painter, and a man of supreme patience. The trees carved on the corners are very detailed. After Bob carved the shallow branches, he then filled in each one with green color using a fine Sharpie. Bob did the design work on the trees, cross, words, and stones. All were design elements requested by the family of the deceased.

My job was to build and finish the urn. and make sure the plastic box with the cremains would fit inside. (For more tips about building urns click here.) The family also wanted to have some words from Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Click here to see the whole poem. This poem is about the choices we all must make as we go through life. The poem’s narrator says he has chosen to travel the less popular paths or those roads that fewer people would choose to take.

The words, “The Road Less Traveled” were also requested by the family, and Bob added those to the lid. It is difficult to include this many disparent elements in a small box, but Bob did a tasteful job of meeting the challenge of what the family wanted.

Story: Bob’s friend died and the family asked Bob to create an urn to hold the friend’s cremains. Bob asked me to help him make make the urn. I had a box with a butterfly on top that needed to be painted. I asked him to help me paint the butterfly. (I’ll post that box later.) So we traded favors. I made an urn for Bob, and he painted a butterfly for me.

It solved a problem. Nether of us would have been comfortable charging the other in this case. Trading favors was a great solution. I have always liked the idea that two of us working together can create something that neither of us could make if we worked just by ourselves.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

21 comments so far

View SenecaWoodArt's profile


487 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 09-27-2017 04:22 AM

Very nice collaboration. I am fortunate enough to have a wife who helps with those requirements. That being said, I am getting more requests for urns, but I just don’t enjoy making them. I try to gracefully turn those projects down. I haven’t had a close personal request to date. Not sure what I will do when and if that day comes. I feel sure the family will be pleased.

-- Bob

View jim65's profile


1021 posts in 3385 days

#2 posted 09-27-2017 04:43 AM

Very nice work. A collaboation like this make something worthy of the purpose. Well done!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4295 days

#3 posted 09-27-2017 05:50 AM

Nicely done Al, great collaboration and it’s still your design.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 09-27-2017 06:37 AM

Replies to Comments:

Bob, I avoid urn requests too, but there are some you just have to do. This box was a challenge because the grain runs vertically. Usually my boxes have grain that runs horizontally. I liked your watch boxes.
how nice to hear from you again. Hope you are having a beautiful summer in sunny Italy. I loved the workbench you made for your five-year-old. It is great. It really is fun to work with Bob. He is quite a carver and fun to spend time with.

Doc, it is a possible to work together on a project and still leave strong elements of your personal style in the project. I really liked your “Butterfly” box that you posted, and thanks for the shout out on the project. I think you really need to make a press like this

and make some $5 band clamps like this.

That being said, you certainly have an impressive clamp collection. Always nice to hear from you again. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24532 posts in 5128 days

#5 posted 09-27-2017 06:47 AM

Nice work, very unique, I can see a top three coming.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Brit's profile


8504 posts in 4295 days

#6 posted 09-27-2017 09:07 AM

Great job Al. Collaboration is a wonderful way of saying to another craftsman, I respect your talent and skill enough to entrust you with the task. Both parties end up feeling good about the end result.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3720 days

#7 posted 09-27-2017 10:29 AM

Replies to Comments:

Topamax, it is nice to hear from you again. I haven’t seen a “Grandpa, I need a…” project in quite a while. Are you doing OK? I appreciate your kind words. I hadn’t thought much about it, but you are right. This is a pretty unique creation.

Brit, what wonderful thoughts from you, thanks. I have several craftsmen I have worked with through the years. We have all combined talents to make different kinds of boxes. They do painting, carving, scrolling, burning, veneering, sewing, weaving, ceramics, metal work, and stained glass. It has always been fun, and they have never let me down on their part of the project. Of course you are right, there is an element of trust and respect involved in collaboration. Thanks for reminding me about that.

-- Big Al in IN

View jeffswildwood's profile


5129 posts in 3429 days

#8 posted 09-27-2017 12:00 PM

Al, this one is awesome. When you work together with another artist, you get the best of both involved. Many times I’ll make a project and get my Son (who is not a wood worker) to apply his painting skills. Great job.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8638 posts in 4805 days

#9 posted 09-27-2017 12:38 PM

The urn is beautiful, you and Bob together made it what it is; perfect in every way. And when you mentioned butterfly I knew we would see more beautiful work! The butterflies are amazing!
Thank you for sharing!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4319 days

#10 posted 09-27-2017 01:08 PM

Wow! Al, this is a beautiful box and a wonderful eye catcher. It has a lot of great character, spectacular details, and fine craftsmanship. I love this box and it’s one of my favorites.

Bob, the carving and artwork is beautiful and adds a lot to this piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3720 days

#11 posted 09-27-2017 01:33 PM

Replies to Comments:

Jeff, thanks. I think you are right working with others is a great way to bring out the best in others and ourselves. I liked your beer tote post. The walnut in the sides is spectacular. The design is classic and the “Bottle Hammer” is funny. Your son did a great job on the photos. Nice story. Keep boxing and keep posting.

Just by way of sharing ideas this is a carrier I posted has similar lines, but fewer pegs.

thanks for the kind words. Bob certainly did a fine job on his part of this project. I liked the drawer unit and workbench you posted. Lovely work. Shop furniture and games is an interesting combination. Thanks for sharing that.

Charles, thanks for saying such nice things about the project. I liked the cabinet you posted. Your Tormac looks quite content atop its new perch.

-- Big Al in IN

View pottz's profile


25655 posts in 2437 days

#12 posted 09-27-2017 06:06 PM

beautiful work cant really say more than whats been said,having done a few myself i know there isnt much enjoyment other than knowing your helping someone get through a painful period in did a gorgeous job and the tree engraving is work well together.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4599 days

#13 posted 09-27-2017 10:42 PM

This is a beautiful box! It’s definitely a Boxguy box, but with Bob’s work, it’s really something!

I’ll bet the family really appreciates it, and all the compassion and care you guys put into it. A unique and beautiful gesture from you guys.

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Luddite's profile


254 posts in 2690 days

#14 posted 09-27-2017 11:21 PM


Beautiful work both in craftsmanship and with others. Truly you are an old soul.


-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View tomd's profile


2232 posts in 5222 days

#15 posted 09-28-2017 12:07 AM

Very unique urn, great workmanship.

-- Tom D

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