Tim,Laminate The Strings
I've prepped over thirty pictures so far so I tried to break them up into logical groups. The first part is to laminate the strings. For this box I'm using the re-saw technique and start with a thick piece of wenge (8/4) milled flat and square. I re-sawed some strips of maple and ran them through the drum sander for thickness and to remove any larger saw marks. I made a single rip cut on the wenge with a gentle random curve on the bandsaw and glued a thin strip of maple in between the two parts and clamped them tight. Try to keep the bottom of the boards flat as this will save some planing later on. Also, I avoid making any sharp or compound curves to make the glue up easier. One option if you make tight curves is to use thinner strips. You can double or triple up on the strips using the same wood type for a thicker line, or mix colors for a different effect. Another tip when crossing strings is to keep the ends of the block in alignment when clamping. Again, you can use a long clamp to keep it square (not pictured here). I got a question about whether I needed to smooth the surfaces of the curves in order to get a tight fit and sharp edges. No, not really. I just took them straight from the bandsaw to the clamps. I think the trick is to make gentle curves with a continuous cut and even feed rate. You can smooth the surfaces with a flexible sanding block or use a scraper. It could also be that the glue caused the maple strips to swell up and cover any small defects. Don't know.
I usually let the glue set up for thirty minutes or so then scrape off the squeeze out. Once it has set up awhile I simply make another random curved rip cut on the bandsaw and repeat the lamination steps until I have all the strips in place that I want. One thing to notice is I experimented with cutting curves that go from an end to a side, instead of end to end, thus cutting off a corner. The two parts will slip out of alignment in the clamps so I just use a long clamp end-to-end to keep everything in place. When all the lamination is complete I trim any flaps (maple strips) at the bandsaw or with a handsaw, the use normal milling techniques at the jointer, planer, and table saw to square it up and flatten and smooth the surfaces just like any other piece of rough lumber.
On this box I will grain match all the sides as well as match the strings. Next blog I'll do the re-sawing and book-matching.
Wow. Great idea with the contrasting woods. Seems like a natural inspiration for those of us with new band saws to experiment and create new designs. Thanks for sharing!