Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A reliquary of wood

With the addition of a plexiglass box to keep the innards safe, my reliquary of wood has been added to the Museum of Eureka Springs Art museum display. 

The reliquary was inspired by a reliquary in the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City and by my participation in  a shrine show (sponsored by ESSA) in which artists were invited to create shrines celebrating the things important in their own lives. 

The idea of a reliquary is to lift as important things that should be treasured. My reliquary has 25 turned samples of American (Arkansas) hardwoods, each in their natural color. It is a statement of value. The box itself is made of sugar maple.

Some may remember a simple children's finger game that goes, "Here's the church, Here's the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people." The people in my small chapel are the woods of Arkansas, each deserving admiration and respect. The way the doors open is designed to represent hands opening to the wonders of all life.

This small box has been honored before. It was featured in my book, Simply Beautiful Boxes, as best of show winner in a show at the Springfield Art Museum and on the pages of UU World Magazine.

The museum will be open to the public on Saturday, December 23, 2023 from 1 PM until 5.

Make, fix and create...

Monday, December 18, 2023

Veritas Box Maker's Plow Plane

 I received two planes from Lee Valley today, left and right plow planes of a smaller size suggested for box making. Like other Veritas planes made by Lee Valley, they are works of art. The crafting of them is exquisite.

Plow planes are used for cutting grooves in wood but can also form beads and coves. In box making you can imagine using them to cut grooves for inlay, or for bottoms to fit. With other cutters installed, beaded edges or panels could add interest to a lovely box.

The tight curls of walnut behind the plane in the photo below were formed in my first test use of the right handed plane.

These are lovely in their design and perfect in their manufacture. They can be ordered here.

Make, fix and create...

Sunday, December 17, 2023

a flush cut saw


If you are a box maker, a saw I recommend for your own Christmas stocking is a small flush cut saw, also of Japanese design. I use this saw to trim miter keys flush at the corners of boxes, and with careful use, it will do so without marking the surrounding wood. It cuts quick. I bought two that have kept sharp through several classes and multiple student uses. 

I prefer the Tamatori single edge flush cut saw  over the version with two cutting edges as it allows me to guide the back edge of the saw flush against the work without scraping my fingers with the teeth on the back edge.

Make, fix and create...

Thursday, December 14, 2023

ESSA has announced a mentored residency program in woodworking at ESSA. I'll be the primary mentor, joined by Larry Copas, an excellent woodworker and instructor from the Springdale area and frequent participant in ESSA classes. 

The details and application form can be found here:

The program is designed to help woodworkers take their work to the next level. Both the wood turning and flat work studios will be available. With on site lodging, we expect lots of collaboration and fellowship among participants. 

The display cabinet shown above is some of my earlier work.

Make, fix and create...

Friday, December 8, 2023

glue spreaders

 I began using simple plastic glue spreaders while teaching kids at the Clear Spring School. One of the things you'll soon notice when kids use glue is the mess.  

So I would have the kids make a small puddle of glue on a plastic lid from a box of screws from which dried glue could be easily removed, and then use plastic glue sticks to spread just the amount of glue needed and in just the right place. Glue bottles offer an immediate mess.

These glue spreaders work great. Just as advertised, the dried glue comes right off, and they're cheap enough that you can give them to all your woodworking friends and thereby improve the quality of their own work. These are perfect for applying just the right amount of glue in tight places or for gluing linings in small boxes. 

I've used them for years and at $9.95 for 70 of them you'll get a lifetime supply. The ring around the working end is useful. It holds the messy end up off the workbench.

If you buy through this link I get a small commission as an amazon associate... a bargain for each of us.

Cubitron Sanding Discs

I was introduced to these excellent sanding discs from Taylor Tool Company They do an excellent job of dust removal and last far longer than other sanding discs. The placement of the dust extraction holes removes the concern with aligning them just right on the sanding pad. And they are hard to wear out. This link to provides a small commission when you buy a set.

Make, fix and create... 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Making stash boxes

Medical marijuana is legal in many states, and an old friend of my wife asked if I could make a stash box to hold various paraphernalia. In the old days I know many of my boxes were used for objects associated with the use of marijuana. But that was never discussed. The advantage of this box is that it has two levels of storage, under the lid and in the drawer and we can talk about it.

The top is frame and panel construction, and the drawer is made with a mortise and tenon technique that I always use on small drawers. The wood used is walnut except for the bottom panels (Baltic birch) and the drawer sides (maple.) 

Plans for a similar box can be found in my book Beautiful Boxes: Design and Technique  

With the stash box finished, it will be shipped tomorrow.

Make, fix and create...