Sunday, December 20, 2009

Carved Stone Holder: Finished

What I thought was going to be the most difficult part about this project—cutting the cavities inside the box so the lid and base would fit snugly around the stone and line up with one another—turned out to be very easy.

I left the two pieces of cocobolo oversized in length and a little in width and used a trick that Bess Naylor showed me when building a frame and panel, where the stiles are intentionally left long and trimmed after glue-up: strike a center mark on the two stiles, align and clamp them together, and measure outwards from the center mark (rather than measuring from the ends) to make your layout lines.

Once the recesses were cut for a snug fit, I sandwiched the stone between the boards and trimmed them to length at the miter saw. The stone kept the two pieces aligned while I planed and sanded the ends and sides.

Clamping sandpaper to my table saw and sliding the box across it was a fast way to square the lid and base, and flatten the inside surfaces of the box.

After sanding to 400 grit, I wiped one of the boards off on my jeans and discovered a curious thing—it polished the wood. So I tried a piece of leather to see what would happen. It polished it even more, to a buffed sheen. The leather also gently rounded the sharp edges of the box. If you've worked with cocobolo, you know how sharp those edges can be.

There is no finish on the box itself, only the carved portion (with spray poly). I thought that finish might adversely affect the stone, plus cocobolo is an oily, dense wood and is naturally beautiful.

After spending so many hours on this little project, I can only imagine the the original was made by someone who really appreciated his oilstone. Not surprising, considering the close relationship woodworkers had with their tools in past centuries.

Nice to know that some things never change.


The Cottage Workshop said...


Frank V said...


That is really a special piece! Well done,Kari. Excellent craftsmanship.

That the content contributed to the crisp carving of the lid is kinda poetic.


John Cashman said...

Magnificent. It is an heirloom, but I hope you use it.

Is it a white translucent stone? Do you use it for carving tools, or what?

After seeing this, I'm tempted to finally do one myself. I always had a notion to do one with just the date on top, as many antique stone holders do.

You are an inspiration, and there is not much higher praise.

Bob Easton said...


Bob Tinsley said...

Outstanding work, Kari! You must have the patience of a saint.


Dave said...

Holy Crap Kari! Very very nice!

Unknown said...

an inspiration- thank you! ;)


Cat said...

Wow! This is amazing! I've been reading for awhile, but had to comment on how stunning it is!

My little chip carvings have advanced to snowflakes in time for winter...I'll get there yet!

Buckboard WoodWorks said...

I like it. I think you did an awesome JOB!!!!

Unknown said...

Sweet! Makes my knockup equivalents look really sad

Darnell said...

Flippin' nice!

I'm clapping right now.

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks so much for the kind remarks. :o)
The stone is ceramic (I think 2,000 grit).
John, that's a great idea to carve the date into the top. I had never seen antique stone holders with any ornamentation before this one.

Unknown said...

If I'm drooling too much, just kick me outta the shop!

Vic using Sylvia's account...bwa ha ha..

Woodbloke said...

Hi Kari - as they say on this side of the pond...'proper job'
I use a similarly coloured stone (a Spyderco) which is 10,000g so it might be worth finding out what the actual grit of your stone is.
Just a thought - Rob

Rick said...

KAri, I enjoyed following along as you transformed that piece of wood into a beautiful box. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays, Rick

Larry Marshall said...

Kari, you continue to amaze. The cocobollo/pear combination is stunning, particularly when touched by your hand.

Your topoff.jpg has become my screen background. Great inspiration but I'm going to be careful not to let my sharpening stones see how the upper crust live.

Cheers --- Larry

EMBO said...

Such an amazing project! I want to be you when I grow up. :)

George Beck said...

Now that is craftsmanship! Sensitivity to the materials and skill with tools. An artist sense of things.


Eric said...

That came out Great Kari!
Your carving is top notch & that box is beautiful too!

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks again for all the nice comments!

Rob, I think it's 2,000 grit, so not super fine. But it works very well with my knives.

Larry, my top off is your screen saver? That just sounds wrong on so many levels. haha

Mitchell said...

Now that's impressive. Truly impressive.

Thanks for sharing.


John Cashman said...

Hey, if Larry has a special screen saver, I'd like a copy as well.

Merry Christmas to you and Presbyfruit.

Kari Hultman said...

John, I think Larry just downloaded the top image. It's named "topoff.jpg". You can click on it to make it larger and then download it to your desktop if you want. Merry Christmas to you, too!

Kari Hultman said...

Correction, it's called "LidOff.jpg".

John said...


Amazing carving you are a true craftwoman. You have a great blog. I have enjoyed reading all your posts. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Once again an amazing project. This is truly breath taking. Thanks for sharing and have a Merry Christmas.
Ray Curtis

Ross Henton said...

That is stunningly beautiful.

I've also started blogging from my (comparatively small) shop - please stop by!