carvings, boxes, and more carvings

So having just come back from teaching a class in carving and box-making; it seemed logical that I would work on a few boxes and carvings while I got settled in back at my shop. So after unpacking and sharpening, I worked first on this white oak & white pine box. It was already planed & carved, so I cut the till and did the assembly. Just have to install the iron hinges. It’s about 7″ high, and 20″ wide.

newest white oak box
newest white oak box

 Here is the till:

open till
open till









Next I started a small box, about 4 1/2″ high, and 12″ wide. I am really enjoying making this size box. It ‘s a good way to use up small bits of wood that are too good to burn. I had only seen a few period ones this size before, and never a New England one until this summer when I studied an original in a private collection. I got it planed & carved this afterno0n, and will work fitting the till and assembly later this week.

box front, red oak
box front, red oak

I am making changes to the original, mainly so the owners aren’t put off by me making copies. So for starters I have carved the sides, on the original they were left blank. I will use wooden hinges on this one, whereas the period box had iron gimmals. I’ll also use pine for the top and bottom, instead of all-oak construction seen on the 17th-century example.

side carving new box
side carving new box
The S-scrolls seen on the box front above are a common motif, adapted and altered in numerous ways. This one is cut with a V-tool and gouges, but the next one (below) is cut entirely with a V-tool. This one is more practice for the MFA cupboard project, to be used as a painting sample. The background paint will be red ochre and bone black mixed in animal glue, then the whole panel will be given a thin coat of pigmented (red ochre) plant resin varnish…but that’s next week. Today I just carved it. It’s about 7″ x 12″ or so, carved in about 20 minutes. White oak.
practice panel for MFA cupboard
practice panel for MFA cupboard

3 thoughts on “carvings, boxes, and more carvings

  1. Peter,
    Nice boxes! I’m still practicing with my S-scrolls. Sometimes I think its better not to think to much when I’m carving…things seem to flow better.

    Once again I really enjoyed your instruction. I’ve never taken a woodworking class so I didnt know what to expect. I was quite pleased and I hope to get an opportunity to work with you again.

    Nebraska Ron

  2. I love the boxes, Peter. What I don’t get is how you can carve so freakin’ fast! I know you do it all the time, but holy mackerel. I wish I could carve even a quarter as fast as you. Can’t wait to see you in action at WIA. How do you feel about being filmed??? ; )

  3. I love your carving and insights into several century-old tools and methods. I’m interested in craft, how a learned skill matures over time, and what lies behind it. Work like yours certainly demonstrates your dedication and skill.


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