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Thread: My 2013 Box Swap Entry - How I Did It

  1. #1
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    My 2013 Box Swap Entry - How I Did It

    In the swap thread, I was asked about some of the processes I used. I'll cover the major steps here but I did not do a full tutorial photo session.

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    Top: Samauma veneer over a core of four layers of 1/8 bending plywood. Curve was created using a 12 radius form inside a vacuum pressing bag. The inside and outside faces of veneer were pressed onto the top using the form inside the vacuum bag. All veneer on the top is samauma, taken from a tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest.

    Sides are built with veneer over birch plywood for the four sides. Exterior veneer is commercial solid wood samauma (dark veneer) and commercial solid wood tiger maple (light veneer), placed in sunburst patterns. Interior is done with paper-backed, quarter-sawn maple veneer.

    Handle and legs are made from Honduran mahogany colored with Transtint Brown Mahogany dye.

    All surfaces received two coats of Target Finishes EM1000 sealer, sanding between coats. Three coats of EM6000 Clear Gloss were then applied, rubbing with 0000 steel wool between coats. A final topcoat of EM6000 Satin completed the process.

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    I used four layers of 1/8" bending plywood to make the top panel using a 12" radius form. The form is built from 3/4" MDF ribs with five layers of 1/8" bending plywood over them. The outer layer of the form is sealed with several coats of SealCoat, followed by several coats of NC lacquer to keep glue from sticking to it.

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    I used the form and vacuum press to press a layer of veneer on the inside face of the radius top first. Then, I edge-banded the ends, front and back with standard clamping. The final step was to apply a layer of veneer to the outside of the top and return it to the vacuum press to adhere it firmly.

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    I had drawn the box plan in SketchUp, so I used it to print a 1 to 1 scale of the segments of the sunburst pattern for the front/back and ends. The printed patterns were used as guides to cut 1/8" clear acrylic templates, which were subsequently used to align the grain and guide a razor knife to cut the veneers. Segments 1,2 and 3 of the templates also make segments 7, 6 and 5. After cutting the veneers, I used a straightedge to align the bottom edge of the first veneer, then matched each subsequent segment going around the radials. And, no, it is not as simple as it sounds! It seems that no matter how carefully you try to cut the veneers, there are ragged edges that have to be sanded to achieve a dead straight edge to match the next segment.

    More in the next post.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  2. #2
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This shows most of the parts (minus the bottom and handle)


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    The legs were made by once again printing a pattern using SketchUp and applying to each side of the legs. I milled some mahogany to about 1" by 1", then rabetted a 1/2" by 1/2" channel out of the inside of it. The patterns served as guides to bandsawing the shape initially, then the final shaping was done at the disc sander.

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    A final dry fit before gluing and finishing.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
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    Very cool. But a question still remains, how did you get the end grain of the top to look 'normal' considering it was made of bending ply and veneer?
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Very cool. But a question still remains, how did you get the end grain of the top to look 'normal' considering it was made of bending ply and veneer?
    Actually, it's simpler than it might appear. I laid out a piece of veneer for the top, sliced it to fit the top, then cut the end strips from the cutoffs. It's not an exact match because of the curve, but it's darn close.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  5. #5
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    And it works and looks darn good. Awesome!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    And it works and looks darn good. Awesome!
    Man. I'll sure second that!!!

    Enjoying,
    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  7. #7
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    Nicely done! Matching the major elements in the grain pattern on the lid really helps sell it as continuous.

    Thanks for taking the time to describe the build, definitely interesting.

  8. #8
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    So...in other words, just something simple you just slapped together one evening, right?

    Beautiful work, and the process description is very appreciated, Bill.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    So...in other words, just something simple you just slapped together one evening, right? ...
    Uh...I wish! Certain steps were fairly simple, but the entirety was not!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  10. #10
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    That is what I call a beautiful box. Thanks for posting the process, maybe it will spur other participants on the swap to post the process of their boxes as well.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

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