next box-to-be

box front
carving for next box front

As it turned out, I had some time today to work on the next box, so I got the carving done for the front, (above) and the sides (below).

box sides
carving for box sides

These are white oak again, I had some nice straight stuff around. I already started a finish on these, a reader asked tonight what finish do I use – it’s usually a combination of linseed oil and turpentine. Sometimes some varnish mixed in as well…for many years this was the vehicle I used when mixing pigments to make paint. Still will, no doubt. But this year I have started experimenting with pigments mixed in animal glue, based on some new research undeway at the MFA in Boston and Winterthur Museum in Delaware. After Thanksgiving I’ll have more stuff posted about the project I’m working on with the MFA, I plan on finishing  it up early this winter…

Here’s another paint sample. Iron oxide, bone black and chalk, all mixed in watery animal glue…on red oak.

paint sample Nov
paint sample, pigments in hide glue

5 thoughts on “next box-to-be

  1. Hi Peter, the box looks really good. That design on the box sides reminds me of years ago when I was a young choir boy here in Farnhill, West Yorkshire, UK. It appeared on the pew fronts. If I can get into the church, which alas, like most churches here, is now locked against theft and vandalism, I’ll get a photo to send you.
    I think there was a very similar design painted in very old paint in a timber framed cottage we used to live in in Worcestershire UK. It was on the beams upstairs and the Cottage was called Church Cottage at Himbleton, and I think must have once been the principle house in the village.

  2. I find the composition of the front especially appealing. Will the box have the sort of enameled look you introduced to us back in September?
    Looking forward to hearing more about your experiments…

  3. Hi Peter,
    I recently tried to rive some boards from a smallish red oak log. I see what you mean by having a lot of wood not be suitable for carving.
    From an 18″+/- log I got only 4-5 pieces 4″-5″ wide. But, I will be on the lookout for some larger logs. The whole process is very interesting – making something from “the log” instead of buying wood.
    When you use wooden pegs to join the sides and front, are the pegs square? Is the drilled hole for the pegs just slightly smaller than the peg so that kind of wedges itself in place?
    Next time I’ll send pics of my progress, if that’s ok.

    All the best.
    Tom Goodman
    Bailey, NC

    p.s. Are you teaching at Country Workshops i 2010?

  4. Markus: I had not planned on painting this particular box; I think the finish you mention is a black background – done with linseed oil & lampblack pigment mixed together.

    It takes a really straight-grained log…you can get some 18″ diameter logs that will give you stuff wider than 6″ and in great quantity. and other 18″ logs that are nothing but firewood…keep pluggin.

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