Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Little Boxes

Is it just me, or do all woodworkers find boxes irresistible? I'm especially attracted to small ones that you discover tucked behind a mountain of other goodies at an antique store. The desire to open the lid to see what the box contains is unsquashable. Even if it turns out to be empty, it was worth looking, wasn't it?

The writing box features a 1/16" thick lid with detailed pull for a small compartment, and 1/16" thick tongues on the breadboard ends of the writing surface that conceals a larger compartment. Details like this reel me in.

A little finger-jointed box (also box-jointed), measuring just 1 3/8" x 3 5/8" x 1 5/8", has a sliding lid with finger pull. All the pieces are 1/8" thick. I have no idea what a miniature box like this might have housed. Maybe drill bits?

Another one of my favorites is a sharpening stone holder that measures 1" x 4 5/8" x 5/8". The lid is hinged and a pin keeps the lid in place. The recess that holds the stone was removed with a chisel, so this box started out as one piece of wood.

The stone also started out as one piece, but quickly became two, as I promptly dropped it upon leaving the antique store where it was purchased.

It might be the spirit of discovery that drives my box attraction—the same reason I love to poke around shops belonging to woodworkers who are pack rats. My shop is on the tidy side, so it's a little dull. But shops with stacks of "stuff"...well, they're just the bee's knees.

Or, to coin a new woodworking phrase, maybe I should say.....
wait for it.....the box's knees.

12 comments:

Al said...

Kari,

I like "the box's knees". I love boxes, too, and any treasures within. Of course, it could be "the box's knobs", or "the box's handles"... But probably not "the box's lid". Anything box is wonderful, especially with dovetails or anything unusual!

Ethan said...

The first thing I ever bought on eBay not only helped jump start my woodworking addiction, it also got me started on a box addiction AND an eBay addiction!

For a grand total of $54 (including shipping), I received a solid walnut tool chest made with hand-cut dovetails and two internal sliding trays.

I keep it in the office (i.e. computer room) where I see it pretty much every day.

Maybe I'll blog about it one day and you can see some pics of it...

The Village Carpenter said...

Al, pretty soon you'll be making your own handcut dovetail boxes!

Ethan, I'd love to see pictures of the tool chest. Sounds like you got a heck of a deal, especially for walnut.

Stephen Shepherd said...

VC,

Did you buy the lapdesk? And I think all woodworkers like wooden boxes. The small ones are especially intriguing. Too bad about that sharpening stone.

Thanks for posting the pictures.

Stephen

The Village Carpenter said...

Stephen, my mom bought it years ago and gave it to me. Yes, I was very bummed about the sharpening stone.

wooden1 said...

Who doesn't love boxes? We all have "stuff" that needs a place to stay right? Before I got sick, I worked in a variety of cabinet shops and always brought home all the scraps I could lay my hands on. I have made a wide variety of boxes and almost always let the wood tell me what to do with it. I especially liked pulling things like curly or birdseye maple out of a dumpster cause it looked "ugly" next to the regular maple. I actually felt like I stole something from them. Made a real purdy box though (grins)...

I am new to the whole "Blog thang" and as such, unaware of how to send you the pics... Sorry.

Vic Hubbard said...

You know Kari, in lieu of the fact you dropped the little sharpening stone box, perhaps you should stop drinking so heavily before antiquing. At least, let Nancy carry the goods back to the car:D:D

Out of curiosity, is the hinge on that handmade. I don't think I've ever seen a commercial hinge that small.

Mitchell said...

You got to me on two counts with this one. My father was a carpenter and when I was six he let me help him build a new, portable toolbox. For years afterwards it was my job every Saturday afternoon to remove all the tools from that box and clean out any sawdust that collected in it throughout the week. While I was always enamored with that toolbox, the boxes he chiseled out of pine to hold his sharpening stones always fascinated me. They fit so perfectly that the stones held the boxes together on their own. Fifty-two years later I use that same toolbox to haul my tools to my occasional job sites. When I load it up, the two old sharpening stone boxes go in every time. I stopped using them years ago but to me the toolbox isn't right without them.

The Village Carpenter said...

Wooden1, you can email photos to me directly at goodwoodworkshop@comcast.net
or, you can set up your own blog and post photos. Blogger.com is a free blogging service.

Vic, good thinking to stop drinking! The hinge measure 1/2" x 3/4" and does not look handmade. I think you can get small hinges like this for jewelry boxes.

Mitchell, what a great story. Thank you!

Shannon said...

When I started woodworking boxes were all I could talk about. Not much has changed today. I think we are all fascinated by them. Personally I like the fact that I can go through so little stock to get a finished box. I love the delicate nature of them and the thinner the parts and more intricate the joinery with that thin stock the better. I love that 1/16th thick lid!

Metalworker Mike said...

Just a suggestion, but instead of 'box's knees' I have an alternative. There is one certain type of tree, the family of the cypress, or 'taxodium', that forms an odd growth from its roots known as a 'knee'. Given the relative uniqueness of these knees, the phrase "the tree's knees" might be worth using. It rhymes just a scootch better than "the box's knees", and it's still wood-oriented.

M.Mike

The Village Carpenter said...

"The Tree's Knees" has a nice ring to it!