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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intro and Invitation

This summer's projects have been boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Somewhere along the way I got the idea of combining the wrapping technique with a simple inlay to see how hard it would be to align the lines all around the box. In other words, at the corners. Turns out it is not that hard to do. So I've been experimenting. I've posted the first completed boxes as a Project and will post more upon completion. The photos below give an overview of this technique and the pictures at the bottom show the idea taken to the extreme. I plan to expand on these in future installments. But in the meantime, and since I love to learn and 20,000 or so of you know more than me, I'd like to extend and invitation to give this a try. I don't have time to experiment with all the combinations so between me and a few thousand friends I'm sure we can come up with a few creative options. One idea is to combine this technique with the carved art box construction. It might render some real interesting and creative results.





 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Intro and Invitation

This summer's projects have been boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Somewhere along the way I got the idea of combining the wrapping technique with a simple inlay to see how hard it would be to align the lines all around the box. In other words, at the corners. Turns out it is not that hard to do. So I've been experimenting. I've posted the first completed boxes as a Project and will post more upon completion. The photos below give an overview of this technique and the pictures at the bottom show the idea taken to the extreme. I plan to expand on these in future installments. But in the meantime, and since I love to learn and 20,000 or so of you know more than me, I'd like to extend and invitation to give this a try. I don't have time to experiment with all the combinations so between me and a few thousand friends I'm sure we can come up with a few creative options. One idea is to combine this technique with the carved art box construction. It might render some real interesting and creative results.





Thanks all… I'll go over the steps in the blog but the short answer is I use the sides of the box as a bending form and clamp the strips to accept the curve. Actually I just rip a gentle, random curve on the bandsaw then glue a strip between the two parts and clamp them together. Try to make sure the bottom of the two pieces are flat as can be. When it dries I just cut another curve then glue those two parts together and just keep adding strips until I have all the strips (lines) that I want. Steam bending would be a good option. Another is to just use double or triple up on thinner strips. If you use the same color wood you'd get a thicker line, but you could also use contrasting colors.

The easiest way is to use 6/4 or 8/4 wood, although you can also use 4/4 stock, cut it to lenght with square ends, then resaw it in half to get two bookmatched parts from which you then cut the ends and sides in a way that they match all the way around. Then you cut each edge 45 degrees while keeping as much of the face of each part as you can. When you make your crosscuts to make the sides and ends of the box, it is helpful to use the thinnest blade you can while keeping the cut as square as possible. A 1/8" kerf removes 1/16" from each side of the corner so depending on the steepness of the curve at that point, it is possible for the lines to be off slightly at each corner. A thin blade minimizes the error.

Save the left over corner pieces (cut offs) as you can glue these to the inside corners to reinforce the joint and as legs to support a tray. They can also be lined up in a way that the lines match on the inside of the box.

The bottom picture above with the protruding strips shows a variation on this method and is a little more complex, but as the picture shows, it is still possible to match the strips at each corner. There are three ways to wrap the wood that I know of and will go over these in the blog.

Thanks for the kind words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Intro and Invitation

This summer's projects have been boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. Somewhere along the way I got the idea of combining the wrapping technique with a simple inlay to see how hard it would be to align the lines all around the box. In other words, at the corners. Turns out it is not that hard to do. So I've been experimenting. I've posted the first completed boxes as a Project and will post more upon completion. The photos below give an overview of this technique and the pictures at the bottom show the idea taken to the extreme. I plan to expand on these in future installments. But in the meantime, and since I love to learn and 20,000 or so of you know more than me, I'd like to extend and invitation to give this a try. I don't have time to experiment with all the combinations so between me and a few thousand friends I'm sure we can come up with a few creative options. One idea is to combine this technique with the carved art box construction. It might render some real interesting and creative results.





Robert… Yes and no and maybe. If you are planing the strips smooth to the surface they will match. However, if you are using a single length of board you have to make sure to enter the rip cut the same distance from the bottom (or the top) and on the same angle as you exit. The two ends will have to match up when you wrap the wood. In the last picture above, the one with the strings protruding the surface, I used a single length of wood. However, I screwed up when cutting the ends so one corner doesn't line up - the one you can't see. :) I plan to cover the three ways (I know of) to wrap the wood in the blog. In the meantime here's a couple of shost that shows the strings will line up even with a 90 degree angle.



 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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.







 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
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.







Thanks all. degoose… Yes! That is the (your) diamond board I finished a couple months ago. However, I have a bunch of tubes cut, some glued, getting ready to crosscut. Another day, another blog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Resaw & Bookmatch

Last blog was too long on words. Pictures tell the whole story. Mark the wood with triangles to keep them aligned, resaw a little over the thickness you desire, run each through the planer at the same thickness and bookmatch the parts. Note: if you are using real thick wood like 8/4, you can slice four pieces and have enough material for two boxes.











 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Resaw & Bookmatch

Last blog was too long on words. Pictures tell the whole story. Mark the wood with triangles to keep them aligned, resaw a little over the thickness you desire, run each through the planer at the same thickness and bookmatch the parts. Note: if you are using real thick wood like 8/4, you can slice four pieces and have enough material for two boxes.











Thanks all… Chinitorama, I really like the Rikon Deluxe. I can't remember what blade I'm using. Maybe a Wolf? Anyway it is 1/4" wide and a pleasure to use. I've used wider blades, but have had the best outcomes with this thinner one. I've been able to cut some real thin veneers that are still thick enough to sand without punching through. In fact, that's how I did the lid on this box and I still have a couple slices left over. BTW, I do have the Carter guides and they really help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Here's the good part: wood wrap

Here's where the magic happens. After all the milling and ripping and glueing and re-sawing, we finally get to see if we can really match the lines all around the box. Sure we can. After planing each piece to thickness and ensuring the ends are square, open them up in a book-match. Draw a chalk line at the approximate width of each of the boxes' ends from opposite ends (this is just to identify the parts). The pictures below explain it better than I can in words. I like to label each piece clockwise A, B, C, D, so when the sides and ends are tilted up the letters are also right side up.

Now all you have to do is cut the same width from opposite ends of each piece. These will become the ends of the box. Don't make any more than these two cuts. This is where a thin kerf blade will help with the final result. Rotate each of the sides and stand them up and viola! Notice that the wood grain also lines up. Next time we'll cut the corners and the box takes shape.















 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Cutting Corners

Now that the sides are cut to length all we have to do is put a 45 degree angle on each end. The idea is to preserve the face of each side to ensure the lines come together at the corners. I just screw a board to a miter square to prevent tear out and to clamp a stop. The pictures below show that the lines not only match on the outside corners, but also the inside. Be sure to save the cut off corners. They will match the lines on the inside of the box and can be glued to reinforce the corner. For this box I used #20 biscuits.

On the bottom picture you can see how two of the lines do not quite line up when they cross on the face. This is because I didn't correct enough for the two parts slipping in the clamps. I've since learned to use a long clamp to keep them aligned.

Next blog will focus on some tips and lessons learned. I sure hope to see some more string boxes on LJs. Thanks for all the kind comments.









 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Secret Soss

While I still plan to do a series on my experiences with various box hinges, I thought I'd go ahead and post how I installed Soss hinges on the current string box project. I plan to include the usual step-by-step process, but I think most folks will get the idea from these pictures.

The sides of this box are a little over 3/4" wide so I'm using the Soss 203 hinges which are 1/2" X 1 3/4. These hinges require eight, count 'em, eight! mortises. And they all have to be perfectly lined up relative to the sides of the box and the back in order for the lid to be flush with the box. The picture below is a dry fit straight from the jig with no fussing. I think the pictures tell the story so if you have any questions please let me know.











 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Secret Soss

While I still plan to do a series on my experiences with various box hinges, I thought I'd go ahead and post how I installed Soss hinges on the current string box project. I plan to include the usual step-by-step process, but I think most folks will get the idea from these pictures.

The sides of this box are a little over 3/4" wide so I'm using the Soss 203 hinges which are 1/2" X 1 3/4. These hinges require eight, count 'em, eight! mortises. And they all have to be perfectly lined up relative to the sides of the box and the back in order for the lid to be flush with the box. The picture below is a dry fit straight from the jig with no fussing. I think the pictures tell the story so if you have any questions please let me know.











Thanks all. Dennis… I don't know where I lost you, but here's how the jig works. You mark matching centerlines across both the box and lid which are the same distance from the edge (side of the box). These lines represent the center of the hinge mortise. The jig is registered against the outside of the box with the fence and on the inside with a centerline. The jig uses a 5/8" guide bushing and for the Soss 203, a 1/2" bit. You place the router on the jig and zero the bit height to the bottom of the jig (ie you push it down until the bit stops). You then use the top (wide mortise) part of the hinge to set the depth guage/stop for (about 1/4").

Raise the bit up, plug in the router, and make your first mortise cut. I like to make a series of plunge cuts then clean out the mortise with a final pass. Go slow, be gentle, don't force the router. I also spray some lubricant on the jig to help the router but you could also use wax. Turn the router off, raise the bit, and lift it out. Flip the other half of the jig over on top of the bottom plate. You will repeat the process, however, you will have to first reset for the depth of cut. Notice that the top mortise is smaller than the bottom?

You place the router back on the jig, zero out the bit (which is now being zeroed to the bottom of the first mortise). The specs say the Soss 203 is 3/4" deep, but I like to cut a hair deeper and make the bottom mortise a little wider so it fits easier. I use a 1/2" block or spacer to re-set the depth gauge (actually slightly more than 1/2"), raise the bit, and make the second cut in the same manner as the first. Then I repeat this for the other three (six actually) mortises.

A couple of tips. Make sure the jig is very secure on the part being mortised. Any slippage will cause the hinge to not fit or worse. Work deliberately, slow down, make sure you complete each step. It is easy to forget to re-set the depth gauge and cut the top mortise too deep. If your mortise is too wide you can adjust (tighten) the jig with layers of tape on the ends. Note: this won't help you until your next mortise which is a good reason to do practice and/or test cuts.

I will post a more detailed blog showing how I make the jig. In the meantime I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Oh No!

I wonder if the Mona Lisa's smile was a cover up for a mistake. Seems like I've gotten pretty good at making mistakes in the shop. Hopefully, I've gotten just as good at fixing them.

It wasn't the Mortise Pal's fault. I was getting so wrapped up in my photo journalism that I made a common mistake. I lined the centerline of the jig with the wrong line on the target! As you can see from the pictures, instead of lining the jig up on the center I lined it up on one of the outside lines, with predictable results. Oh well, time for a design change. Fortunately I had not yet made the lid's handle so I could still shape it to fit. First I had to fix the mortise. For this error I decided that two mistakes are better than one and simply cut another mortise centering the jig on the other outside line. This gave me a larger mortise than I had originally planned but it seemed to work out. You be the judge.





Aaaaaaaaargh! The Mortise Pal does give a clean and accurate cut, at least when you line it up correctly to begin with.



No worries.



Not shown in the picture below, I first used a dado set (actually box joint blades), to trim the edge of the handle to fit in the mortise. You can barely see this on the bottom of the piece following. Then one of several dry fits before cutting, shaping, and sanding. This is the shape I had had in mind from the start. Just a little wider than I had planned.





I did draw a couple of arcs using a pie tin, but ended up using these as a rough guide and drew a shape free hand. I used my eye to do the rough shaping with a rasp before fine tuning the shape with the spindle sander. It is remarkable how accurate your eyes can be. Especially with bifocal contacts.







 
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