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Thread: Cremation Urn - Mahogany - G&G Inspired

  1. #1
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    Cremation Urn - Mahogany - G&G Inspired

    This has been to long in coming. After several false starts, several prototypes, and a few not-so-nice words spoken to various machines and tools in the shop, I've completed the first four urns in the first style I wanted to build. I have two more styles on paper, but that's another story.

    First (in my best, but poor, imitation of a Glenn Bradly show & tell) let me show you some of the background story. It started with a couple of lengths of 6/4 mahogany, resawn to give me one 1/2" board and one 3/4" board (after planing and sanding).
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    I needed a way to cut the fingers and had tried several methods but found this jig to be the fastest and most accurate. It's made with three pieces of plywood face glued together and then fitted with 1/2" MDF fingers. You use a pattern bit set to the depth of the wood plus whatever extra you want to protrude from the joint. Its pretty slick, but, boy, it makes a lit of little shavings!
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    Forming the round-over on the fingers was something else I tried to do in several ways. Sorry Glenn, I just do not have the patience to sit and sand every profile by hand. After looking around for a faster way I happened on an ad in Fine Woodworking for this Amana bit. Its a 1/16' round over with a very small bearing. It allows me to get right up into the joint and leaves me with only some final shaping and sanding to do.
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    The next hurdle was how to join the sides. I knew that if i tried glue it was going to get all over my joints and I might run into problems in the finishing. So, I decided to go without glue and used 6 x 1 pocket hole screws - 5 on each corner. I tightly clamped the box together and did one end at a time. The screws pulled everything tight and square with no gaps. And - no waiting for glue to dry!
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    Last came the plugs. No improvement on making them. I still use the disc sander to get the initial shape, then twirl the ends of the blank around on sandpaper, 150, 220, 400, and then go to the buffing wheel for a final polish. What I did do to make getting the plugs somewhat uniform was to drill a hole in a piece of scrap to a depth that equaled the reveal I wanted. Using that, I could pound in the plugs till the scrap was flat against the box side. This got me close, but most still needed a little fine tuning.

    Picture on the following post......
    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 02-10-2012 at 04:30 AM.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  2. #2
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    Next came the finish - and thanks to those who helped me (almost) get over my fear of dyes. I settled on a rather strong mixture (10 drops per ounce of shellac) of medium brown TT dye in a 2# cut of dewaxed shellac. In retrospect, I think I would like to try a darker brown dye and maybe a second coat of the tinted shellac. However, that is not to say I am unhappy with the results!

    Overall I'm pleased, though I see a few errors I hope to avoid next time. As always, comments and critiques are both welcome and encouraged.

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    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  3. #3
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    Very classy Rennie...I'm not ready to move in yet, but very classy.

  4. #4
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    That is a great looking color for mahogany. Almost like a toasted-nut brown; I like it. I have yet to try that finger method but it sure seems slick. I will have to give it a try once a few current items get out of the shop. Do you do a shallow back-route first before you hog away the rest of the waste? I would be proud of that piece if I were you
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    That is a great looking color for mahogany. Almost like a toasted-nut brown; I like it. I have yet to try that finger method but it sure seems slick. I will have to give it a try once a few current items get out of the shop. Do you do a shallow back-route first before you hog away the rest of the waste? I would be proud of that piece if I were you
    I do a shallow cut coming in from the front and take light passes till I get nearly through. Then I slowly push through at the center of the finger and creep up on the sides. There's no real room to approach the cut from both sides, so I remember to keep the inside face against the jig to avoid tear out on the outside face. The jug supports the wood on th back side, so that helps. I had only one piece in 16 show any blowout.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Calver View Post
    Very classy Rennie...I'm not ready to move in yet, but very classy.
    Neither am I!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  7. #7
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    Rennie you definitely got a perfectionist craftsman ability. Whats not to like.

    In trying to give you some comments the best i can do is

    a) I think the lid does not do justice to the joints. I think i would prefer something more square and matching the round over of the joints to carry the theme of the joints rather than a switch to a different style of edge.
    b) After my vanity i came to the conclusion i dont like mahogany from a working with it or finishing it point of view would prefer more redish brown to be in the color than the lighter color you have but this is being picky and gets down to very personal preferences.
    c) I think they gonna sell real quick and real well.

    How long do you reckon you gonna take to make one? Good to see you accepting the screw method to do rapid assembly. Your plugs are stunning.

    Did you finish before or after assembly? Looks to me like before but what do i know.
    cheers

  8. #8
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    only two things i could think of rennie, finish first, then assemble with glue, or if before finishing, use the lovely blue tape around the joints, and then any squeezed out glue will go on the tape.
    benedictione omnes bene

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Noren View Post
    only two things i could think of rennie, finish first, then assemble with glue, or if before finishing, use the lovely blue tape around the joints, and then any squeezed out glue will go on the tape.
    Though messiness was a factor in my decision, speed was the greater consideration. As the ashes are usually placed in a plastic bag prior to being placed in the urn, there is no need for it to be air tight. Gluing and clamping, IMHO, in this case only adds to the time involved and introduces a chance for the box to get out of square. (kinda like the builder ) With 20 screws per box, it's not coming apart! The top is glued on, but there are possibilities there too. I just did not want pocket holes in the interior as I think it would send a "low quality" message. As for the finishing, keep reading....

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Rennie you definitely got a perfectionist craftsman ability. Whats not to like.

    In trying to give you some comments the best i can do is

    a) I think the lid does not do justice to the joints. I think i would prefer something more square and matching the round over of the joints to carry the theme of the joints rather than a switch to a different style of edge.
    b) After my vanity i came to the conclusion i dont like mahogany from a working with it or finishing it point of view would prefer more redish brown to be in the color than the lighter color you have but this is being picky and gets down to very personal preferences.
    c) I think they gonna sell real quick and real well.

    How long do you reckon you gonna take to make one? Good to see you accepting the screw method to do rapid assembly. Your plugs are stunning.

    Did you finish before or after assembly? Looks to me like before but what do i know.
    The design of the top is something I fretted over for months! I agree, it's not just right. I'm working on it. The issue with staying closer to the style is that the top can get out of hand proportionally to the box. The box is only 7" tall and bread board ends just didn't spin my fan. Still working on it though.

    I applied the shellac/dye prior to assembly and sanded very lightly with some extra fine mesh. Then I assembled the top and sides. Finally, I sprayed with three coats of lacquer, 0000 steel wool, then two more coats. Then rubbed it out again with 0000 and rubbed on a coat of paste wax.

    As to whether they will sell, we'll see. I've taken my pics (Photoshop's Magic Extractor is my new best friend!), placed one on Etsy, and I'll look to set something up with my local contact next week. Oh, and I have some long emails from some guy in Canada that I need to review.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post
    ...The design of the top is something I fretted over for months! I agree, it's not just right. I'm working on it. The issue with staying closer to the style is that the top can get out of hand proportionally to the box. The box is only 7" tall and bread board ends just didn't spin my fan. Still working on it though....
    What about leaving the ends squared off, but with the same roundover you used on the fingers, then putting an ebony 'cloud lift' inlay into the long edges?
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

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