A version of Andy's box

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Project by cathyb posted 07-15-2011 08:04 PM 2620 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I thought I’d try making one of Andy’s Art Boxes, because they are awesome. Everything was going smoothly until I decided to use a pair of the massive collection of hinges that I have purchased over the years. Once I mortised out the hinges, I realized that my original top was 1/2” too narrow. The piece of koa that was to be medallion was more than big enough. You probably know where this is going…without the medallion, I didn’t have the thickness to really attack the top with my grinder. Initially I was a little bummed by that, but I have to say I don’t mind the final product. I used that piece of koa for the top, took off a much as I dared and added the dividers. The entire box is koa, it took about 17 hours from start to finish. It was great fun and I highly recommend Andy’s blog on Art Boxes for your next project.

You know I can’t leave you without a tip: Do I think my box captures the sheer beauty of Andy’s art boxes, no way, but there’s a caveat. In the process of making this box, it occurred to me that I could attack other pieces of furniture with the same approach. The cabinet that I am currently making will be soon become softer and organic with those sensuous curves. I’ve made the sides and top 7/8” thick to give me plenty of material to work with. Although many woodworkers get frustrated when things don’t “go your way”, nothing could be further from the truth. You have just had a eureka moment. Rejoice and be glad because a whole new creative path has just opened up. SEIZE THE DAY!!!!!!!!

-- cathyb, Hawaii

15 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4756 days

#1 posted 07-15-2011 08:28 PM

well i can say your a brave girl, i dont have the ummph yet to try one of his boxes…yet…but i will some day…right now im busy with a project that is close to my heart…and i have worked hard all week on this…and you say SEIZE THE DAY…WELL RIGHT NOW IM SEIZED…..IM TIRED WORE OUT AND IN BED….OOOPPSS dont ya hate it when you dont realize your typing in caps…and dont want to erase it or retype it…lol..well kathy i thinki you deserve 4 stars for trying and thats what counts in wood working…i think your box is beautiful…and i would be proud to own it…so keep trying to capture the andy flair…cus you will get it…once you strike it…youll have mastered another art form….bravo …grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5671 days

#2 posted 07-15-2011 08:34 PM

Another rider on the Andy bandwagon!

This is a fine rendition. Seize the day…. er… grinder!

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

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4250 days

#3 posted 07-15-2011 09:10 PM

Don’t sweat the little s* Cathy.

The box looks just fine to me and any day you learn something new is a good day indeed.

I see a sandy beach or perhaps a furrowed field fringed with bushes out of which many eyes are watching. I think that’s my way of saying that the top is a fantastic piece of wood. The 3D effect just adds to the scene.

Nice one!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4468 days

#4 posted 07-15-2011 09:20 PM

I think for a first attempt it turned out very well..I like the rounded looks like it’s hand friendly.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4761 days

#5 posted 07-15-2011 10:30 PM

You did an excellent bit of sculpting work on your box. Very very good for a first try indeed! Hope to see many more. How is that Koa wood for sculpting? I never see any around my part of the country.

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4711 days

#6 posted 07-15-2011 10:42 PM

You have done a excellent job on the box. The sculpting came out great.

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4696 days

#7 posted 07-15-2011 11:54 PM

Thanks all for your remarks. Paul you might notice that I didn’t get to the marquetry yet. When I told my sister I wanted to give it a go she said,” No, you have to wait until I come to your house, because I want to learn how to do that.” She’s coming at the end of August (though if I can get my cabinets done before my upcoming fair, I might start without her.)
Greg koa is not hard to carve. It has some properties that remind me of mahogany. It has a medium density; opened pores; bends ok-not quite the radius of mahogany; glues up well,but I only use epoxy; takes a finish, but you have to build it up. It is quite expensive. The top of that box was $42 a board foot. It is loaded with oil which is the positive as well as the negative. The oil gives it a warm glow when it is finished. Getting to that finish can be a bit taxing. The oil will coat the carbide tips of every cutting tool, coat your sand paper abrasives to the point that you have to change paper every 5 minutes, coat your grinder head, all that oil will heat up on the wood and leave black burn marks which you will painstakingly remove with another fresh sheet of sandpaper.
Sounds bad, but koa is still a diamond in the rough. Every project creates challenges because of the wood, but with some patience you will finally be finished and the product is always worth the effort.
I’ve got to cabinets out there. Gotta run. Pictures will be coming in a week or two….........

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4641 days

#8 posted 07-16-2011 10:35 AM

Very nice Andy will ne proud! This project is on the list of things to do for me soon.

Well done.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4319 days

#9 posted 07-16-2011 02:27 PM

Very nice looking and a wonderful job.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Andy's profile


1726 posts in 5361 days

#10 posted 07-16-2011 02:52 PM

Way to go Cathy, this is very nice and especially considering its your first.
I like the soft shaping, it blends the grain and patterns into something very organic looking.
Well done!

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4456 days

#11 posted 07-16-2011 07:27 PM

Wonderful box

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 5038 days

#12 posted 07-16-2011 07:31 PM

nice kind of rustic. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4295 days

#13 posted 07-17-2011 02:05 AM

Thank you for taking us on your magic carpet ride. It is you in the box. It will be an interesting journery to do a larger piece. I fired me 10 times on my last build. Hired me back cause I work chea! Learned a little about finishing, joinery and keeping my numbers accurate. And what I won’t do on the next project.

Great Job! looking forward to seeing your growth.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4696 days

#14 posted 07-17-2011 08:43 AM

Thanks Andy. You can see what I meant when I told you that it was sink or swim when I lost the chance to use my medallion to build up the lid. I just didn’t have enough material thickness to get those deep grooves. This box is average, but a great learning experience. The cabinet that I’m currently building will use the elements that I learned from this box. Tomorrow I’ll be adding the dividers, a shelf and then choosing my door material. The top is sweet and I can hardly wait to get a grinder on those sides. I have you to thank for that inspiration. I hope other LJ’s will take on the challenge and build one of your boxes. They are really special….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View blackcherry's profile


3351 posts in 5275 days

#15 posted 07-25-2011 06:04 PM

Great first attempt, which I know quit well, these box are a challenge but so much fun to attempt. I learn so much on the first go around and getting better at it now. The wood is beautiful looking forward to see more thanks for posting …Blkcherry

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