Saturday, June 7, 2014

Walnut School Box

In The Joiner and Cabinet Maker, Thomas works primarily with deal, being a generic term for what was likely a softwood such as pine. While attempting to remain faithful to the projects described in the book, I have scoured the west coast for suitable deal-like woods. I've worked with hemlock, Douglas fir, western red cedar, yellow cedar, Port Orford cedar, spruce, ponderosa pine, and others. Very few of them offer the creamy workability advertised for Eastern white pine, which is not generally available here. I have therefore decided that my "deal" is to use regional hardwoods which balance affordability with workability. Poplar is nice to work with, but not stable over time. Alder and cherry are both excellent. This time, however, I used a plank of walnut milled from a local farmer and woodworker's acreage.

Construction is at this point very straightforward. I don't consult the text at all, I have it fairly well memorized. I still resist temptation to deviate from Thomas's plan much; I still use a birdcage awl to make the hole for the lock (although it is tempting to use a cordless drill). It is also tempting to dovetail the moulding since that is actually easier than accurate miters by hand. I did, however, step away from the strap hinges and opted instead to use brass butt hinges. The strap hinges hold some appeal but they are so dark that I thought they would be lost in the dark walnut. I was also tempted to add some lifts on the side but decided to keep it simple. I do like how this one turned out. I hope the recipient enjoys it.

1 comment:

  1. That's a GREAT looking school box Rob!

    I like it in Walnut.

    These days, "Eastern white pine" has gone the way of the unicorns. Living in NY, when I go the the home centers, I find "white wood" from either New Zealand or Sweden. Makes one wonder about the dynamics of global lumber.