A box and a Box

yc box

I finished making the two carved boxes I’ve been working on. The first one is this yellow cedar “sampler” box for my class in Alaska. Jonathan and the rest of the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association sent me some Alaska yellow cedar so I could test it out before we ordered it for the class. The wood will work fine, and I carved this one with a range of patterns – hence “sampler.” The side, and the pintle hinge:

yc box open

The inside of the lid:yc box open carved lid

What’s weird about it is the proportions. Not weird really. Just ugly. there’s a reason you don’t see 17th century boxes this size – because they’re both ugly and stupid. But it maximized what I got out of the boards they sent down. overall size is 6 1/4″ H, 11 1/2″ W and 7 1/2′ D. So I made a proper oak and white pine box, just to make me feel less unsettled.

oak & pine box


Someone yesterday commented that this design reminded them of Northwest coast work – well, it is northwest – but northwest of Boston Massachusetts, c. 1680s/90s. Look at the side I carved = even more so. This one is H: 7″  W: 17″  D:  11″

oak box side


Here are some of the period carvings I was following somewhat

box ad

concord detail

I’ll paint mine, but maybe not right now. I have to send them by dogsled to Anchorage – whoops – we have more snow than them. I’ll use UPS I guess. Here’s the two side-by-side.



both boxes





9 thoughts on “A box and a Box

  1. They’re beautiful! I guess the Northwest influence would have your hawk’s head, face on and a fish curled into one of your circles :-)

  2. When I first read the comment “both stupid and ugly” I thought, “That seems harsh.” For the life of me I could not see what was wrong with the lovely little box. Then I saw the picture with the two boxes side-by-side. I immediately saw what you meant. There is something ~ well ~ unfortunate about the proportions. Unsettling indeed. It is only a test/sample though.

  3. Peter
    It look like you carved at least one inside of a side of the cedar box. Groovy. We traded a post and rung chair for one of your boxes. Don’t know what you are doing but the box sits in the middle of my life table where I dine and write and read. The carving is wonderful. I got to teach in North Western Canada. Wonderful Country. Take your birding camera.

  4. Peter-you might call it ugly and stupid but I think it’s one of the prettiest and sweetest little boxes I’ve ever seen you make-and I’ve seen a lot of your boxes! Love it-

  5. With more on the way Sunday….maybe. You have more snow than we do here in New Hampshire…the blizzard was a dud for us…only 14 inches and we only got 9 the other day…and it’s not even the heavy stuff to bring down some spoon wood..Alaska should be cool…hope to catch you for spoons or something next time you’re up at Lie – Nielsen..

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