Tumbling Blocks Variation 90/45 degrees

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Project by BertFlores58 posted 04-07-2013 03:13 PM 3268 views 8 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We normally see tumbling blocks using 60/60 degrees. It produces isometric with xyz axes equilateral to 120 degrees. On my curiosity, by accident as I was only making a square with shadow, the form becomes a 3D however it becomes a perspective of a block… making variation measuring 90/45. Amazingly, the illusion becomes a rhombus effect on the squares. I used this design to form a mitered box with a lid.

The main board…

The bottom board….


1) The squares on the top has to join symetrically on the sides. This is the reason why the shadow strips of Narra and white Lauan were omitted making the motif as checkers for the front and back sides.

2) Wooden hinge was fitted in the back overlayed because I don’t like to destroy the design.

3) Latches in front were fitted. These are made from iron wood (Dungon) a very hard Philippine specie. The only setback is it burns when drilling and sanding with dremel. Most of the time, I use saw and files.

4) Instead of plain wood on the bottom, I use the segmented checkered I recovered from Narra small pieces left over. I should say that from a scrap, I recycled and from a recycled scraps I was able to recover again.

5) The finish is really nice using only an artist brush. The first coat was gloss lacquer (this is to seal and avoid discolorization of the wood) then two coats of spar varnish.

6) Materials: NARRA, White Lauan, Acacia, Balitadtad, Dungon, Kamagong and many others that I could not identify. The worst wood combination I made as everything from soft to hardwood are there. Some portion of the joints are absorbing a lot of glue so I have to apply two coats of glue specially to the end grain otherwise it will come off as it dries by absorption.

In this box, I learned how to recover from the mistakes I had made. Here are some of those.

1. Dowel drilling is too much. You can see these on the lid where I drilled the dowel on the hinges.
2. The latches been different locking pins… Likewise oversized. I should have pre-fitted it but I fixed it already before knowing the error so it was machined in place. In doing so, the hinge broke as I opened lid too much.
3. Cutting the miter was too much (too deep) in some places as the board is not planed equally.
4. Lippings must be prepared exact thickness with the board. I have to route the inside portion of the lippings to make it more even. An extra work that should have been prevented by just preparing the thickness.

I am happy for having so many errors because I learned from it. With this box, I learned that any mistakes can still be corrected as long as there are no shortage of patience.

If you wish to look on the progress how it was done, just open my blog and look for those tumbling variations title. I was not able to make it on series. Thanks for viewing.

This is an experimental one but there are a lot of people who wants this style of hinges and latches.

Hope you like this box.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

18 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3703 days

#1 posted 04-07-2013 03:26 PM

Bert that box looks even better now its finished
Great eye teaser

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3872 days

#2 posted 04-07-2013 05:30 PM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View bonobo's profile


304 posts in 2903 days

#3 posted 04-07-2013 06:49 PM

Interesting experiment with the pattern. I agree that the 3D effect here actually seems stronger here than the usual 60/60.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View shipwright's profile


8579 posts in 3645 days

#4 posted 04-07-2013 07:17 PM

Great job Bert.
The blocks look great, the hinge is perfect and I really like the latches.
Keep pushing the envelope my friend.

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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3883 days

#5 posted 04-07-2013 08:12 PM

Splendid work, Bert. The progression from 2D to 3D and back is very interesting with an overtone of some of M.C.Escher’s works. Nice work with the hinge and latches as well.

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

View degoose's profile


7276 posts in 4201 days

#6 posted 04-07-2013 08:43 PM

I think that this is one that I will copy… unashamedly….but with your permission of course…fabulous look

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3769 days

#7 posted 04-07-2013 10:56 PM

Thanks to all. It is nice to know that my mentors (LJ originals) appreciate a project like this one. All of you makes me to think the impossible to become a reality. Learning now comes the way it should be… Create is the highest we can attain according to ‘taxonomy of learning”.

Larry. Don’t think twice… grab it… I know you like right angles and bevel 45 deg. You are the one who gave me the idea… only I have made some variations… Have it done without mistakes. Thanks mate.

One thing that I forgot to tell above, the grain orientation of the Acacia (light brown squares) was not in line. I never expected that it is so sensitive with the luster of light reflection. I should have known it earlier. There is no reason why it was not glued in the right grain directions because they are squares. I know, if you do it, flawless will come out.

Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3344 days

#8 posted 04-08-2013 01:10 AM

The transition between 3D and 2D is remarkable, never saw that before. Opening the lid, with those massive catches, expecting plain and finding the harlequins again inside – what a surprise!

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3769 days

#9 posted 04-08-2013 02:31 AM

Thanks Gene. I have a brother living in Toronto… far away but he is not into woodwork.

-- Bert

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

495 posts in 3181 days

#10 posted 04-08-2013 02:49 AM

Very nice Bert. I know what you mean about covering mistakes. i think we all do it. I’m gonna have to try those latches. Thanks for posting.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3769 days

#11 posted 04-08-2013 02:58 AM

Thanks Jim,
One secret for the latch making is the drilling of pin holes. In this case 1/8 inch dia x 1 inch long. I use a horizontal drilling machine to control the vibration and have a repeated centering point. You may like the details in this project...
Good luck and take care,

-- Bert

View hoss12992's profile


4176 posts in 2740 days

#12 posted 04-08-2013 06:38 AM

All I can say is WOW! This is amazing. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View michelletwo's profile


2785 posts in 3862 days

#13 posted 04-08-2013 10:22 AM

super work.

View ic3ss's profile


399 posts in 3623 days

#14 posted 04-08-2013 06:08 PM


Picture 2, top right, shows the 3d effect combining the top and front in a stunning way. I’ve seen many of these boxes and I never thought of doing that. Very cool and so original. Me like!


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3769 days

#15 posted 04-08-2013 10:26 PM

Thanks to all.
Wayne, on my experiences, it happens as I was already constructing it… No plans and design. So what happens, the beauty of the originals comes out. Thanks.

-- Bert

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