Olive and old-chair box

  • Advertise with us
Project by ellgee posted 12-06-2020 10:27 PM 762 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Scavenged an old chair from the street, mainly for the 8 flat approx-12mm slats
that made the seat. Just need to cut to length and stick ‘em together for box sides,
was the idea. Leave the dark red-brown color, was the idea.
In case the so-far-mentally-unpictured box needed a handle or something,
also took the back legs and chair-back rails.
The front legs, only 1 of which was with the broken chair, were turned; I left that on the street.

After I cut it all apart, and left the pieces for a few weeks to see if
they warped, i found the seat-slats’ thickness varied from 11 to 17mm !
Not so much difference within 1 slat, more like 11mm one end, 13 the other,
and a different slat 15mm one end, 17 the other. And everything in between.
Well what the heck, I have worked with imperfect material before.
I still call it old-chair, because I dont know what wood it is;
it is probably from the Pacific islands, judging from the the carved back.

The Olive wood was in a stack of stuff we’d had a lonnng time,
discolored and covered in dirt til it looked like trash.
But directly before the bin, I put the card-scraper to it,
and it came up olive. Very figured.
We later recalled it is nominally from Bethlehem.
About 47mm square by 250mm long .. which explains why the end-panels of
the resultant box are 47 by 125, less a little
(and I mean as little as possible: about 2mm)
for the mortises to hold them in place.
Of the 47mm, I got 5 slices, so that was 2 long-sides, 2 ends, and
a some small pieces for use in the top.

Somehow I got a wild hair and thought the olive should be olive-green,
it would look good with the dark-red-brown. Managed that using
dliuted gold-teak then blue, then walnut and/or brown-japan stains,
some sanding or scraping-off and a few weeks of continuing revisions.

It was when I cut up some of the old-chair for frame-pieces
and lid-pieces that I found the mix of green-brown heartwood and
creamy-color sapwood.
So back to the stains, this time brown-japan and black, sometimes
masked off to stain only the sapwood, to resemble the heartwood.
A few coats of that, then walnut stain-and-varnish to add the red,
and repeat the revisions.

In the meanwhile, the vertical posts at the corners got their mortises
for the panels, and for the bottom-rails, and for the top-rails.
Small pieces on the router: bad idea. had to make holders of
various shapes/sizes.
The top rails got very very small tenons. the top rail is about 4×15mm,
so the tenon is the bottom half of the 4, but of course the
olive panel mortises go thru the middle of the 15mm, so not there, and also not right to the edges.
Little sticks 2×2.5 mm, they looked like, off the saw. But then
they got rounded-over with the chisel, well octagonned at least,
so they fit into their mortises which are merely drill-holes.
Yes I could drill a 2.5mm hole 3.75mm from the edge, if I
held the piece at its ends (bench vise) and
sides (barbie-doll size bar clamps).

Then just glued the 5 pieces of each end (2 posts, 2 rails, 1 panel),
let that dry, glue the long sides similarly.
Okay, there’s a lot of checking-for-square somewhere in there,
plus checking all 4 sides fit, before gluing any.
but doesnt that go without saying?

The lid pieces were to be 14mm high visible around the outside,
and about 4mm lower at the inside making a tenon / lid-keeper.
That was easy the first time: just a 30-degree cut at the right
place for the lid-tenon to jussst fit inside the sides-frame,
and a flat cut to the 14mm.

This box was about the side-panels more than the lid,
but I could find no plain single-piece option for the lid-panel.
Didnt have all-olive. Didnt want all something-else.
Did want windowpanes between the pieces.
Ended up with 5 pieces of olive,
2 of a veneer that was green to start with (skipping
a step of staining, “seemed like a good idea at the time”),
and 2 of some other scrap.
If only there was more of the green-brown heartwood, I’d
use that in a minute, but the other pieces seem to be
more grey.

All 9 sub-panels having been colored to somewhat-similar olivey colors,
they were coated with matt water-based poly, then
joined with the windowpane dividers, which have satin or gloss.
Then joined with the lid frame. But when that glue was dry, and the
lid was tried in the box, it was was found to be a squidgin too big to
seat down in. Better than too small, I s’pose.
So, sawed a mm or less off the lid-keeper tenon, requiring more dark stain,
more reddish varnish, more clear overcoat .. I got a bit impatient here
and admit the lid-underside is not up to the usual standard.

The result is about 30×17 x 10 cm.

7 comments so far

View therealSteveN's profile


7220 posts in 1580 days

#1 posted 12-06-2020 11:01 PM

Nice save. I like that lid.

-- Think safe, be safe

View hairy's profile


3211 posts in 4538 days

#2 posted 12-06-2020 11:06 PM

That’s a nice box!! And it has a story to go with it.

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View MrWolfe's profile


1452 posts in 1129 days

#3 posted 12-07-2020 04:02 AM

Beautiful box!
Going into my Favorites bin.
Thanks for sharing and nice write up.

View ellgee's profile


70 posts in 2933 days

#4 posted 12-07-2020 09:20 AM

Thanks guys.
This year I started keeping little textfiles with “the saga” of each one that gives me a hard time.
That way, there is something to say when-or-if an item is worth posting.

The Saga of this one starts in JUN2020; the last comment 22OCT is that I went to
buy more matt poly .. so must have been another week or 2 til it was
brought upstairs.

View madburg's profile


319 posts in 1849 days

#5 posted 12-07-2020 10:02 AM

I like the paneled style, and the contrast of your solid woods.

-- Madburg WA

View jeffswildwood's profile


4834 posts in 2983 days

#6 posted 12-07-2020 08:32 PM

Olive and old chair. I like it. Nice save of some nice wood!

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

View ellgee's profile


70 posts in 2933 days

#7 posted 12-08-2020 03:30 AM

Thanks again for the compliments.
I can almost Not Believe this has a DT3, I still think the not-maple one
is a lot lot lot better.

There will be more of the old-chair-parts coming .. but not soon,
presently WIP is:
1- cherry formerly at LJ Robscastle’s
2- another leadlight-pattern
3- red gum formerly at robscastle, with a burl from elsewhere
4- hexagon pens-box

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics