Seeking Elegance

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Project by KnickKnack posted 06-23-2012 04:34 PM 3784 views 14 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Following my visit to doctors, I tried really hard with this one. Really hard – this took about 4 weeks (but I don’t work very hard, it must be said)
The original “design idea” was the “cross piece handle” seamlessly meeting the “deco-ish” verticals – that was the start point. It was supposed to have a handle sitting on wood that wasn’t proud of the rest of the box. The “legs” were supposed to be vertical, the other way up to how they are in the final thing, with an angle cut on the box sides to “mirror” the leg angle, but after I’d made the legs I was messing around and it just seemed interesting to have them “buttressing” into the box (which was, incidentally, supposed to be a tall rather than fat box). Once I’d decided to use the legs the other way up the recessed top didn’t seem to be right, so I came up with the angled top you see. Having started by making the deco-ish verticals the size wasn’t going to work, so the handle became recessed into it. It was too wide, so I added the ash strips on the top, so then, of course, I needed ash strips on the bottom to “balance” the colour. In fact – nothing went the way it was drawn at all!
All that said, I’m actually pretty pleased with it – I took a lot of time sitting and staring and pondering, and going back to reread the doctors’ comments before proceeding.
Technically I think, for me, it’s pretty good – not perfect by any stretch, but not shabby. Design wise, well, I don’t think it gets the capital “G”, alas. The wife’s comment, after reminding me we’re still a mossie screen light – “Not great, but gorgeous”.

Ash, jatoba and (small strips of) unknown wood from the dump which should have been jatoba too.
34cm x 17cm x 17cm.
Tung oil finish – I’m considering adding some danish and trying to get a satin sheen, but I’m undecided on that.

As always, and I really mean it – criticisms welcome.

Edit – the “unknown wood” appears to be Cambara

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

23 comments so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3028 days

#1 posted 06-23-2012 04:46 PM

Now that’s finer than a frog hair split three ways!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3312 days

#2 posted 06-23-2012 04:55 PM

That is a beautiful looking box

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4118 days

#3 posted 06-23-2012 05:14 PM

Very well done a fantastic design.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10784 posts in 4593 days

#4 posted 06-23-2012 05:29 PM

It’s a BOX!

It took me awhile to figure it out!

My first thought was a Headboard for a bed… but the rest didn’t jive… LOL
Some kind of Chair? ... NOPE!
Peaking at other replies did it!

It’s sure different! ... not very many Square edges…


Mission accomplished!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2765 days

#5 posted 06-23-2012 05:58 PM

OK, since you have made it clear you want criticism, here is my critique (which includes boths good and bad as a critiques should):

Although this is also 3 types of wood, the contrasts are pleasing to my eye – in your earlier project they were a bit too jarring for me.

I love, love, love the look of the top. Fabulous. From a practicality view – I wonder how easy it is going to be to get my fingers down in the gaps to get a good grip on the lid to pick it up – will it be easy, will I be in danger of dropping the lid? At first look I expected the top to split open with hinges on the right and left. Not sure if that is good or bad – the lift-off lid was just a surprize to my expectations. You have used the grain of the wood to its best – it draws my eyes to the clever handle.

Front view is where I have reservations. The grain is very clear so the fact that it is not absolutely square catches my eye immediately. I am wondering if it would look better with a chevron look as you did on the top. Although I know you did align it, the slightly off horizontal grain niggles in my mind’s eye and takes this down a notch from Great.

I like the way you did the legs with a strict vertical join with the box proper, and the angle driving the width. But they look slightly off to me. I am not sure what I would recommend – maybe the top edges of the supports could be embellished with a narrow rounded strip of the “unknown wood” to provide a finale to the legs.

Overall, I might like a little more softness to the edges – not round but rounded a tiny amount. I want to touch the box but I do not want to feel I will cut my finger on the edges! (my subconscious talking there – I know the edges would not hurt).

It is a lovely box that would stop me for a closer look if I came across it in someone’s home or a shop. It is so much better than anything I could do. These comments are only my opinion and I know everyone has an opinion and no two are the same!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Woodbridge's profile


3692 posts in 2958 days

#6 posted 06-23-2012 09:42 PM

I love the design. Your process to get there may not have been a straight line from A to B, but the result is a great looking box.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View shipwright's profile


8399 posts in 3338 days

#7 posted 06-24-2012 12:16 AM

You have found what you were seeking, but don’t let that stop you.
Unlike dead and pregnant, there is a “more elegant” to keep striving for.

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

View Roger's profile


21013 posts in 3344 days

#8 posted 06-24-2012 12:54 AM

That is impressive. I’da never thunk it woulda opened like that. Sure looked like 2 lids to me. Very unique, very special, very, very nice.

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3231 days

#9 posted 06-24-2012 01:20 AM

Very unique design. I too expected the lid was 2 pieces and hinged at either end. I like it and really can’t offer any criticisms.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View kiefer's profile


5688 posts in 3207 days

#10 posted 06-24-2012 01:43 AM

You have found what you where looking for, ELEGANCE and a very crisp design .
Very unique .

-- Kiefer

View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

328 posts in 2821 days

#11 posted 06-24-2012 02:08 AM

Great looking design and contrast of woods.

-- Chris, "all we are is sawdust in the dust collector""

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3309 days

#12 posted 06-24-2012 03:28 AM

I like it. A truly unique design. It’s very impressive how you’ve stretched your design muscles and came up with this. I too was really surprised when the top lifted if rather than swing open. Well Done!.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3079 days

#13 posted 06-24-2012 03:34 AM

Very nice! You got it in my opinion.

-- I never finish anyth

View KnickKnack's profile


1098 posts in 4107 days

#14 posted 06-24-2012 06:06 AM

Thanks for the comments, especially to Kay for taking the trouble point out some areas where it could be improved.
You know, I carefully selected the ash for the “legs” to have a symmetrical and broadly parallel pattern. I carefully picked the piece of ash for the horizontals under the sides. I carefully picked the ash for the top. I spent a long time looking through the scrap box for the right ray angles on the ash for the deco-ish verticals. But for the jatoba I just looked and said “yep, broadly straight and parallel” and it never even occurred to me that I should be concerned about the orientation of the pattern. And I was supposed to be focused on the details in this piece! Hopefully that’s a lesson learned.
The “pull part” of the box top does work, but you’re right in that it doesn’t really invite you to lift it – there’s enough proud that you don’t need to slip your fingers in the gap. Two hinging lids never occurred to me either, although, now it’s been pointed out, seems like an obvious thing to have considered – my mind was locked into the original idea.
I have taken off the sharpness from the edges – enough that you can feel but not see, which was my aim point, but perhaps, again, that makes it less inviting to touch.
Thanks again for the constructive criticism – hopefully I’ll have learned.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2808 days

#15 posted 06-24-2012 08:55 AM

First of all I hope the news from your doctors was good.

I looked through your body of work posted on Lumber Jocks and was impressed with your innovative approach to wood working. You have a wide variety of work posted and nothing is just utilitarian. Even the most basic stools have some elements of style and flair. Good for you.

I liked your approach to this piece in that you were not afraid to experiment and adapt. There is a lot to like in this. The basic construction and workmanship are excellent. The over-all design is sound. So all that is left is a critique of the finer points.

I came away thinking something was amiss, but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. After a long look, and some thought, and some more long looks, I think I know what I would do differently with this design. The mass of the legs does not quite match the mass of the center design. I would copy the same shape as half the center, turn it upside down, and make that my leg. One of the central features of Art Deco is symmetry. I can’t decide for sure, but I think the legs should have a strip of wood along the inner edge of the leg matching the mystery wood in the center of the middle medallion. But if you add the color, the leg itself may need to be widened a bit more. It is an interesting design, and it was fun to see and think about. Thanks for sharing. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

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