The Phoenixtail aspen boxes

Forming the outside

I left the box for a day to let the glue fully cure. Before I continued, I just had to do a quick photoshoot:

I decided to round the sides to create a less harsh appearance. I nearly maxed out the capacity of my band saw cutting the curve on the long sides, at nearly 30cm (11 13/16”).

With the long sides rounded over I had no reference face for the short ones, but this was easily remedied by clamping a squared-off piece of gash to the box and register it on the band saw table.

A few minutes with the hand plane, and the box looked pristine again.

I then cut off the lid. The band saw kerf is 1.75mm (slightly more than 1/16”), so I cut a few oak strips at 2mm (5/64”) and glued them to the rim, which I planed smooth first. I used masking tape as a “hinge” for the glueup, ensuring a perfect fit.

I just used my holdfast and a few pieces of scrap to clamp the box to my workbench. So here it is – the HoldClamp PAT.PEND. See? NO CLAMPS! 👌

After leaving the box in the HoldClamp for an hour, I fitted and glued the short end pieces in the same manner.

“The HoldClamp ®”

The next day I trimmed the excess and used the hand plane to flush trim the oak strips to the outer surface. Some brass hinges will be fitted soon.

I decided to do an inserted magnet or two to keep the lid closed. A small finger recess for opening the lid was quick work to make using a cabinet rasp followed by some sand paper. Elegant and discrete.

The next job is to fit the hinges, mount the magnet and smooth the outer surface as it has a lot of facets from hand planing. I could’ve left those in as they are indiscernible unless the light falls at extreme angles – but I want a smooth texture to this box, so sanding it is.

Installing hinges

I cut the oak trim around the rim of the box to accommodate two hinges. The eggbeater drill was handy to drill the 2mm holes for the puny screws – great control! Beats a cordless drill for sure! Especially on the very shallow lid rim. No whoopsies.

Some precision screwdriver action, and the screws found their home. Relax, it is not blood. It was just before Christmas. The girls, my wife and I did some arts and craft projects.

A bit of attention to detail: the screw slots align. Some minor scratches that need attention.

I drilled and recessed two magnets to keep the lid closed. A small screw in the lid gives the magnet something to pull on.

I gave the box a light sanding and applied a couple of coats of beeswax which I then polished out to a nice sheen. Let’s look at pictures on the next page.

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