"For Frank"

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Project by Triumph1 posted 02-29-2012 12:25 PM 5384 views 32 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was very lucky this summer to have toured Frank Llyod Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The house and property are absolutely breathtaking. While on the tour of the main house I noticed a very unique box sitting on one of the tables and asked the tour guide about it. She said it was made for Frank Llyod Wright, by one of his students, to hold the architectural medals he had won. Now this was a fairly simple looking box that didn’t have a lid or any finish on it but I loved it and was inspired to design “For Frank”.

The five lift off boxes and the base in “For Frank” are made from Black Walnut with a Black Walnut Dowel used to strengthen the mitered joint . The large horizontal portions are made from bookmatched, quartersawn white oak. They are not hard mounted to the box sections, they actually “float”. I designed a way to allow this float, to handle temperature/humidity changes, using a grove in the box and a spline to capture the panel. I will post a picture if I get a chance. The square holes where first cut with a mortiser. After that came the very time consuming action of rounding over all the edges. Thank god for rasps and detail sanding sticks! The vertical inlays are made from quartersawn Bocote and African Blackwood. The grain of the Bocote is continuous all the way up the box.

The base of the lid is made from quartersawn white oak. The top adornment is made from Bloodwood, Wenge and Curly Maple. I designed the pattern myself. Frank admired Japanese architecture so the large red “sun” worked nicely. I related dimensions mathematically where I could to make everything complement itself (1/2” wide pice, 1/2” wide space, 1/2” wide cutout, etc.).

There is no stain on the box. All the quartersawn white oak pieces got fumed using a homemade chamber and 26% ammonia. After 28 hours of fuming they were attached to the box sections and the entire box got three coats of clear Danish oil with 0000 steel wool in between. After two weeks of drying it got buffed twice with BriWax. The boxes are lined in a Cherokee Red fabric. This was Frank Llyod Wrights favorite color that he used on many of his homes. “For Frank” is 10” x 10” x 17.5”.

Thanks for looking!

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

42 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3463 days

#1 posted 02-29-2012 12:35 PM

I love FLW designing and this is an incredible piece! You really did a great job on it and I truly enjoyed seeing it and reading your story. Great work! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3168 days

#2 posted 02-29-2012 12:37 PM

This is an incredible piece. As soon as I saw it I thought of FLW. I think you captured the essence of FLW. Thanks for sharing, it makes me want to build some grand.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View patron's profile


13658 posts in 3884 days

#3 posted 02-29-2012 12:43 PM

this is quite a statement
for a man of incredible vision

your work is always so well done
it is truly an inspiration

i’m always in awe
of the gift you share with us

keep them coming please

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Ian Hawthorne's profile

Ian Hawthorne

297 posts in 3191 days

#4 posted 02-29-2012 12:50 PM

Wow love it!! very well done.

-- Worlds Best Box Hardware!

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3496 days

#5 posted 02-29-2012 01:02 PM

Your designs and workmanship never disappoint.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3619 days

#6 posted 02-29-2012 01:06 PM

Jeff, what a fantastic and incredible piece of art you have created here my friend. I am almost embarrassed of the fact I don’t know much about Mr Wright’s work, but after seeing this… Well, its time to educate myself….lol

I got to say the top is my utmost favorite part of this work. I love how it draws your eyes to it and the rest of the box just fits into place from there. Very impressed bro!

You rock!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4425 days

#7 posted 02-29-2012 01:15 PM

A very nice tribute.
You captured a lot of things there.
Beautifully done – as always.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Spoontaneous's profile


1337 posts in 3873 days

#8 posted 02-29-2012 01:19 PM

This is simply an outstanding tribute to Mr. Wright. I love the materials selected, the craftsmanship and especially those vertically diminishing ‘windows’. Definitely a ‘Triumph’ !

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2849 days

#9 posted 02-29-2012 01:52 PM

What an incredible design, nice job.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 3112 days

#10 posted 02-29-2012 01:53 PM

Jeff, what a box and what a talent you are. Creations like these inspire me to be more creative than I think I already am. I grew up close to Frank’s Fallingwater in PA and that place is amazing!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3579 days

#11 posted 02-29-2012 02:03 PM

Beautiful piece, Jeff. You’ve caught the style perfectly.

Strangely the red part of the top piece makes me instantly think of ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) but thats me.

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3829 days

#12 posted 02-29-2012 02:18 PM

Beautiful job Jeff. Awesome design!


View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3703 days

#13 posted 02-29-2012 02:21 PM

Simply stunning in design and execution. Thanks for sharing all of your works with us.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Ken90712's profile


17784 posts in 3731 days

#14 posted 02-29-2012 02:36 PM

Amazing work and what a great peice of art! Bravo!!!!!!

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

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3081 days

#15 posted 02-29-2012 02:54 PM

Very well executed. Congrats.

-- I never finish anyth

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