carved box article

PF version of Savell box
PF version of Savell box

the Spring 2009 issue of Woodwork Magazine (the last “regular” issue, unfortunately) included an article I did about making carved boxes. They sent me a PDF of the article, so I uploaded it to my website. If you missed it in the magazine, and would like to see it, here is a link:


2 thoughts on “carved box article

  1. Excellent article! I love the simplicity of the construction. In this day of joinery-for-joinery’s-sake, it’s nice to be reminded that a simple box put together with nails hundreds of years ago is still doing its job just fine.
    Snipe hinges scare me to death, though… the thought of cracking the side just in the finishing stages of the project…


  2. I just finished reading Walter Rose’s book The Village Carpenter and this passage from his chapter on furniture restoration immediately made me think of some of your carved boxes:

    “Nevertheless, there remains plenty of evidence that the village carpenter continued to make [after the rise of the professional cabinet maker] simple articles, at least, for the use of himself and his neighbours. To his handiwork may be credited many simple cottage coffers in oak and elm, now mellowed by time, use, and repeated polishings. Many of them bear dates of the eighteenth century, a few are earlier. The fact that they were dated is proof that they were expected to last; that the grandchildren seeing the date there, scored deeply by the carpenter’s chisel and gouges alongside grandmother’s maiden initials, should think of her as she was when she was preparing her trousseau.
    Pieces like this may fall into the carpenter’s hand to be restored. They are by now usually the property of someone who does not know the name denoted by the initials, but who cherishes them because of their simple charm and beauty. When handling such pieces, I find it a delight to note the simple and successful attempts at ornament, expression of the maker’s soul–serrated gouge cuts at the angles, or simple V-tool scores, interspersed by zigzag lines or the indents of an ornamental punch. It is interesting to note, too, how he overcame the difficulty of using irregularly shaped, hand-made nails; he did not punch them out of sight and bury them with putty; it almost seems as if he regarded them as beautiful–as in truth they are, placed as he has placed them, each in its proportionate position, where its hammered head is revealed in perfect harmony with the spirit of the whole piece.”

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