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"The Box Plot" - Text
"The Box Plot" - Article with
Custom projects often have a story
behind them, something in particular that drives the
commission and sets the requirements and details
outside the scope of anything that can be bought off
the shelf. This project is certainly a perfect
example of where nothing but a completely custom
object will make the grade. We've were sworn to
secrecy regarding this project for about six months
from it's conception to it's completion.
The configuration will be a miniature
paneled chest. All four sides will feature carvings,
as well as the lid. The space inside will have three
removable trays for jewelry sorting and storage. The
box, is going to be, well a box ... but that's not
what makes it special. Our client spent quite a bit
of time studying his girlfriend to determine just the
right carvings to make this box the perfect
engagement gift. A gift that is loaded with "Easter
Eggs" about their lives, and one that will be used in
an elaborate proposal plan.
The patterns will slowly develop from
these templates. We start with a drawing, but then it
will change shape as it takes to the actual wood
surface. The scenes are composite patterns based on
designs by Lora S. Irish at www.carvingpatterns.com. If you're
seeking woodcarving patterns, be sure to visit this
site, you'll find the sources for these and thousands
of other unique patterns.
The first carving is a cabin on the lake
scene, the trick is going to be getting all the
features of this landscape in a near miniature scale.
The pattern serves as a guideline, an approximate
layout for the carving. The end result will take its
shape from feeling out the wood to determine just
what fits and carves where.
The carving detail will be burned in,
then an acrylic wash will tint the scene and bring
out the details. The combination of methods creates
the feeling of actually joining the scene when you
sit and stare into it.
The next panel carving is a beach and
lighthouse scene. Carvings of this concept are far
less involved as far as content is concerned, but
more difficult to execute because creating
perspective and depth without as many features to
work with develops several challenges. The use of a
sunset, ship, and lighthouse with a setback peninsula
and small house creates the illusion of depth into
the open sea.
The burned dark lines and the acrylic
wash create additional depth in scenes that are
sparce of actual "carving." The color of the sand,
the glow of the sun, and white crests on the waves
make the piece.
Hibiscus flower carvings on each end of
the box will continue the personalization of this
project. Then the box got the clamps to secure
everything and make sure the lid could be fit.
The base and the lid are now
fabricated, and dry fit - from here we've decided to
add some feet, and the internal trays are yet to be
made. The lid moves on to the carving bench, and the
box stays in the shop to fix the base and add some
bracket feet while the trays designed and
So, then the carving continues. (You
didn't think this was over so quickly did you?) The
lid of course needs a personal touch - a single rose
in early bloom. There may be an "Easter Egg" or two
in this to hint at the story ...
The tinting is complete, so on with
fabrication of the feet, fixing of the base and
making of the trays. The box is now coming into the
home stretch! Two four section trays were made and
fitted along a support ledge inside the main box
Four small feet and two shell carvings
elevate the box just slightly off the surface of the
table, mantle, or dresser. This gives the affect of a
From here - we finish the box! Perhaps
a little more light sanding - a coat of stain on some
small parts and pieces. Then on to the tung oil.
We'll mute out the scene tinting a bit with the
finishing process and bring it to a satin low
Upon completion the box was packed in a
a custom shipping crate. Great use of scrap plywood
around the shop - as this box has to take quite a
journey in a very short timeframe. We're figuring the
paranoid way is the right way - so 3/4" of plywood
decking screwed together lined with Styrofoam panels
packed into a cardboard box should suffice to protect
the actual oak box.
Off to shipping, the box took a quick
flight down to the Florida Keys where it met our
client to joint forces with a rose, a ring, and
apparently a small bear that just attended a Jimmy
Buffet concert. The box was presented with its
contents of a single red rose, a ribbon, and a
The answer was apparently "Yes!" ...
check back soon for a feature article on this project
including some engagement announcement photos.
Check out additional details about the
journey of this piece, and the couple that now posses
This solid quarter sawn white oak box
is another great example of personalizing a project
with unique carvings. Based on a Pilgrim Chest design
with a modern twist, this wedding chest commemorates
favorite scenes of the newlyweds.
The scenes are hand carved, along with
the rope carving on the lid. The lettering on the top
was CNC carved to develop a clean appearance. The
inside is lined with red felt (flocking) for a warm
appearance and a soft feel.