Sunday, December 13, 2009

Progress Shots

I finished the carved portion of the sharpening stone box and sprayed it with 5 coats of satin polyurethane to protect it from getting dirty while I fitted it to the lid of the box.

The two pieces of cocobolo that will become the lid and the bottom half of the box were intentionally cut too long. That way, I could clamp them to bench while I chiseled out the waste for the carving and the sharpening stone.

I used my new Czech Edge marking knife to scribe the outside edges of the carved piece to the cocobolo. The scribed line, as you might guess, was very difficult to see on the dark wood, so I traced the line with a white pencil. The white stayed on either side of the line—since the wood was so hard—and the line remained dark.

It worked fairly well, but a more effective way would have been to use a technique that was taught to me by David Finck: Prior to scribing your lines, paint the area with water-based white paint. Once it's dry, mark your lines, and they'll show up very clearly.

I used a small [electric] router to remove most of the waste from the cavity and then cleaned up the edges with a chisel. With one swipe of my hand across the workpiece to brush away the chips, I remembered that cocobolo is splintery. Ouch. Using a shop brush to shush away chips is much easier on your hands.

The carving will sit a little proud of the lid once I glue it in place. I checked the fit first by pushing it a little way into the recess—though not all the way, so I could still remove it.

I'll rout and chisel the inside of the lid and bottom to make room for the sharpening stone and put finish on the cocobolo before gluing the carving in place.

I'm pretty sure that only another woodworker could understand why someone would spend so much time making a box for a sharpening stone. Perhaps this should be added to the list of tips for wives of woodworkers.


will said...

I've always thought that making things for the workshop is a terrific way to develop skills ... skills that can be used for making furniture in your homes.

But there is something else. There are two kinds of people making jigs and fixtures. Some make beautiful shop accessories and stop right there. And there are others who make quick and dirty shop jigs and fixtures so that they can devote their time and energy to making furniture.

When I did my books I saw quite a few awesomely beautiful workshop benches and a significant number of them were never used for work purposes. Conversely, often enough the benches used by people making furniture for sale were not much to look at - just practical and serviceable.

I bet with the skills developed and lessons learned from this stone box you are more than ready to make some attractive period furniture.

Darnell said...

You know the phrase, "Don't quit your day job"?

Kari, it's time to quit your day job.

If someone gives you grief about devoting so much time to a shop accessory, feel free to use my line: "Oh, it's ok, I did it while you were watching tv".

It works every time.

Larry Marshall said...

Have you started thinking about the sort of display cabinet you'll have to make for this sharpening stone box (sly grin)? It is simply magnificent and deserves to things like diamonds or gummi bears, not sharpening stones.

Cheers --- Larry

Abi Parris said...

Honing your skills for a Glastonbury chair perhaps?
As always Kari, beautiful piece - exceptionally done & documented.

Jeff Branch said...

Beautiful work. Wished I could do that.

Bob Tinsley said...

Outstanding work, Kari! Seeing this kind of work in a shop says something about the craftsman. If they do that kind of work for themselves, for things in everyday use, just think what kind of work they will turn out for a client!


Dyami said...

Nice box, Kari. I'm jealous of your carving skills.

dyfhid said...

I've been following the progress of your stone box, and I am greatly impressed. Your interpretation of the original is exquisite. Thank you for sharing with such detail the process!

Geemoney said...

Let me just pile on. That is some beautiful work.

Woodbloke said...

Hi Kari - good stuff, like it alot. Interesting to see how you hold the chisel to pare fingers always ended up lacerated from the blade if I held it like that. I now hold a chisel with palm facing outwards and the blade resting 'twixt forefinger and thumb. Seems to work better for me...less leakage! Nice marking kinfe as well - Rob

John Cashman said...

I didn't realize the carving was going to be an inlay. Very nice. How are you going to treat the bottom? A nicely curved base? This is just beautiful stuff.

I never liked the argument over making stuff for the shop versus making "real" stuff. Creating is creating, no matter what it's going to be used for. It is it's own reward.

Rodney said...

I have a similiar problem seeing lines in jarrah, the trick I was shown is to go over it wiith White chalk. The chalk goes into the line and is much easier to see.

Beautiful carving.

Kari Hultman said...

Bill, this is another practice piece in my ultimate goal to carve ornate handplanes (which is more like carving in the round). I'm still not there yet, though.

Darnell, I love that response!!

Larry, you must like gummi bears an awful lot to put them in the same category as diamonds. I hope Santa knows that. :o)

Thanks, Abi! The Glastonbury chair is still on my to-build list. If only I didn't have to work for a living, I could get so much more done....

Jeff, you can do this. I've been building up to it with lettercarving and chip carving. It's just a matter of practice.

Thanks, Bob!

Dyami--you should give it a try. It's not that difficult. Just time-consuming, if you're slow like me.

Thank you, Dyfhid. :o)

Thanks, Geemoney!

Rob, were you getting cut by the back of the chisel when you tried paring with this grip?

John, I'm just going to leave the bottom as is--flat--like the original. I thought about carving the base, too, but decided to just let the focus be on the top. I agree with you about creating, whether it's for us as we work in our shops, or for others. It's all happy.

Rodney, I just read that technique in Woodworking Magazine but didn't have any chalk lying around. Sound like a great idea.

Stephen Shepherd said...


I really like the work you did on this sharpening stone box, up to the point when you used polyurethane. I am surprised you use the stuff. Have you ever tried oil varnish (the non urethane kind) like McCloskey's Man of War Marine Spar Varnish?


Kari Hultman said...

Stephen, I'm glad you brought that up about the finish. I've found that oil darkens the boo-boos in carving. The spray poly was recommended to me by Wayne Barton (chip carver), so I thought I'd try that instead. It really gets into the hard to reach places in small carvings like this and there's no excess to wipe off. Oil can get trapped in small areas and get gunky, I've found. I'm not sure if oil varnish works the same way as BLO or not, however. But if it's something that needs to be wiped off, a spray is a lot less work. The biggest benefit, though, is it hides mistakes.

That being said, if I were doing a reproduction period piece, I would not use polyurethane.

Rockler said...

Really, really beautiful, Kari. Love the step-by-step photos too. You're an inspiration!

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

John Cashman said...

Kari, you were right about not making the base ornate. Nothing should detract from the carving on top.

I have nothing against polyurethane. I love shellac, but have refinished too many of my early pieces that have been ruined with water, etc, through normal everyday use -- not abuse. I now use dewaxed shellac, but spray water-based poly on top. The water based does not darken the way oil-based does, and the color and texture is indiscernible from the plain shellac. I defy anyone to tell that there is poly on top. Except of course that it is far more durable.

Abandon preconceptions and prejudices, all ye who enter here.

Assembly Fixtures said...

Nice work! You have great carving skills. Thanks for sharing the article.