Posts Tagged With: hobby

Tiger Maple Box


While taking a box making class in Maine at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship this Fall, I saw a box one of the instructors had made. It was a long, narrow box with a curved lid, constructed out of teak, and the shape kept grabbing my attention. The overall size was about 12″ long x 4″ wide x 3.5″ tall. I tried to make something similar from oak during class, but it the open grain of the oak just didn’t have the look I wanted.

I ran across a really pretty flitch of tiger maple a month or so ago, and purchased it with mandolin necks in mind. But after getting the wood home, it started to look like a box instead of a musical instrument neck. Figured woods look so fantastic, but all that figure means the grain of the wood is reversing itself. If not done carefully, there can be a lot of  grain tear-out.

round-top-box-02Most of the work was done by hand. I did re-saw the stock on the bandsaw to get close to the final thickness of about 1/2″. The box jointed corners were done with a router. The rest was done using hand planes and chisels. The box itself was constructed first, and the lid was made to fit. With blades being sharpened often, I was able to tame the wood’s grain.

In order to really emphasize the tiger maple grain, I used two colors of wood dye. The first coat was lemon yellow, which was applied and wiped off quickly. Next, I used a beechwood dye that really brought out the contrast in the grain. A few coats of shellac, and a bit of wax are the finish coat.

This just might be one of the prettiest pieces of wood I have ever run across. There isn’t much of it left, so I will have to come up with a way to make the best use of what I do have remaining.

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A New Router Table for the Shop

My old router table badly needed replacing. It was way too low, since it started as a table-top and later a frame was added under it. There was no dust collection, unless you count all the dust that collected in the two drawers. The top was too small to adequately use my Join-Tech fence positioner system. And, it was difficult to roll around.

Correcting those issues was the main criteria for designing a new table. The table height went from 29″ to 34″. The top size grew from 24″ x 32″ to 27″ x 42″. Dust collection was added, both a downdraft under the router, and a branch to collect behind the fence. And, a partially concealed wheel system was used.

Router Table

The top is made from baltic birch plywood, with a 3/4″ sheet glued to a 1/2″ sheet, resulting in a 1 1/4″ thick top. The top is supported on maple “rails” which are attached to the top by wooden “buttons” riding in routed slots to allow for movement. The case is mostly red oak, with some white oak panels. The dust collection area where the router hangs has plexiglas panels, and a light that comes on when the router is switched on, so you can watch the dust get whisked away down the 4″ pipe.

The area under the dust collection box houses the dust collection pipe, and also some hidden casters which are deployed by use of the hand crank at the bottom of the case. These casters raise that end up enough to engage the wheels at the other end of the case.


Dust Collection port on back

The Join-Tech positioner mounts to 3/4″ stock which must be clamped to the table securely. I drilled a couple holes in the top and used very short pipe clamps to hold the positioner in place. The slots will allow for movement of the unit as needed.


Router Table Top

The top has yet to get its miter channel, and I plan to work on improving the fence which attaches to the positioner. My old table had a Formica laminate surface, and perhaps this one will get that treatment in the future. For now, the top is baltic birch plywood, finished with 5 coats of poly-acrylic, and a coat of wax. The rest of the piece got a Danish Oil finish.

The dust collection works even better than I had hoped. It is a night and day difference from my old set-up. The larger surface will come in handy, and working at a better height makes it much easier to use.

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