Two boxes start off the year for me. I’m about to start a few large projects; but in cleaning up the shop after delivering the square table I came across some wood that wanted using up. The bottom one is a box made of quartersawn black walnut. The top one a dovetailed box with sliding lid and drawer in catalpa. Both of these boxes are available if anyone would like them. Email me if you’re interested; new address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Both of these showed up on Instagram as I worked them, but I still favor the blog – more room for details and text. I have had the catalpa hanging around as two thin boards for over 2 years. I used some 2 1/2″ thick catalpa when I built the shop, seen here as the carved spandrels around the doors:
CATALPA BOX: SOLD
5″ high, 6 3/4″ x 15″ overall. White oak bottom; riven, quartered. Drawer is 2″ high.
$600 plus shipping.
The box is loosely based on Scandinavian examples; but only in a very general sense – the carving patterns and the basic format; I never studied any originals in detail. It’s
Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) is a very interesting wood – not native to New England but it grows here easily. Ring-porous; splits easily, very decay resistant. Very light weight. The tiniest band of sapwood in the log. A friend sawed up this log, it was the straightest either of us had ever seen of catalpa. Usually the trunk is curved, twisted, knotty, etc. I think that’s why it’s rarely sawn at all.
I made the sliding lid from the best piece of the batch. But when I got to rabbeting it for the tongues that slide in the box’s grooved sides, I was concerned that it wouldn’t hold up. And I was right. So I made an oak sliding lid, and planed down the catalpa carving and glued it to the lid. Best of both worlds sort of thing.
The drawer is locked by a little ash pin that slips down through a hole in the box front that relates to a hole in the drawer front. There’s a notch in the pin to sneak your fingernail in to slip it up & out.
It was getting pretty dim in the shop when I shot these photos; this is a better representation of the color:
WALNUT BOX: SOLD
H: 6 1/2″ W: 16 3/4″ D: 12 3/8″
$900 plus shipping.
The walnut one is a pretty straight-forward 17th-century style box. I re-sawed all the walnut from 3 pieces that were 1 1/4″ thick; but nice & straight quartersawn material. I sharpened the saw first. A good way to warm up on a cold morning.
The box is glued & pegged at the corners; the bottom is nailed on. Top is hinged with wooden cleats and pintles. Arcading design on 3 sides; carved, punched & incised decoration on the lid. An ogee across the front edge.
Inside is a till made from walnut, oak & American sycamore. Every piece of wood in this box is quartersawn – except the till bottom, which is better – it’s radially-split oak.
A detail showing the side carving and the lid’s cleat that forms part of the hinge.
Linseed oil finish on both of them, I just need to add a 2nd coat next time I’m in the shop.