Author Topic: box construction questions  (Read 2809 times)

Chris J

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box construction questions
« on: May 19, 2010, 04:23:12 PM »
I'm a new member of SAPFM. I'm also new to veneer, stringing and inlay and want to learn as I love Federal period furniture, I'm also on a very basic level as far as furniture building so forgive my questions.

I thought I would start with some simple boxes, something with straight lines so I could do some straight stringing, corner fans, maybe a center inlay. I found a sewing box similar to what I'm thinking. What would be the best construction method for the box itself if I plan to veneer the whole box? A solid glued top panel and mitered corners with splines? Also, if I DON'T plan on veneering the whole box, just stringing and corner fans.

I found pics of a "sewing box" that is very close to what I'd like to build and have posted some pics here:

http://chrisdjones.com/misc/sewing-box/

Thank you in advance.

Chris



albreed

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 07:15:40 PM »
Chris- There are many ways to engineer this box, but the only real problem is the top, since it's going to be expanding and contracting where the sides it's attached to aren't. You'll notice that the top of the one you show has been moving and buckling the banding.
The only practical way to stop this is to make the top out of plywood. This will solve the problem. Even if you do it the way they did and ignore the problem, and if you use quartersawn wood in the top, something stable like mahogany, the movement isn't that much and it will probably be fine for a few decades. It depends on your tolerance for things that aren't "perfect".......My advice is make two, one with a ply top and the other with a quartersawn mahogany top and see what happens. The one you show is still together, so that says something about how long it will last- it looks like that one's been around for about 190 years or so.
I ran into this quandary in building kidney dial shelf clocks and dwarf tall clocks, both with veneered bases about a foot square. The first shelf clock I did, I built with a pine front like th old one I measured. The pine was 1/2 inch and I veneered one side with crotch mahogany and hide glue. It took two winters before it cracked. Now I use 1/2 inch ply. The dwarf tall clock I made for the "Harbor and Home " exhibit was done with 1 1/8 pine. If I joined the base box together and then veneered the front like they did, the front stayed fine.
If you made a recessed panel for the top, it of course would be OK because it could float, but that's not the same look as the box you show. Veneering the inside of the top will minimize movement, and will help, but I'll guarantee the one you show wasn't done that way.
Hope this ranting helps you decide..-Al
Allan Breed

Chris J

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 02:31:21 AM »
Allan, thanks very much for your response.

In the box I'm showing, do you think the box is dovetailed and then veneered. I can see the bottom is dovetailed.

Also, when using plywood like baltic birch, will that accept stringing ok?

albreed

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 01:24:57 PM »
cHRIS- I'm sure the box is dovetailed. I'd use hide glue and prime the ply with a dilute solution; your veneers and stringing will stick no problem-Al
Allan Breed

Chris J

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 04:44:16 PM »
Thanks Allan, I'll do exactly that. It will be my first venture into hide glue as well and I'm looking forward to it.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 05:07:04 PM »
Chris, I agree with Al. I might suggest making one box with top and bottom glued and then a wide dovetail where the lid will be separated. Set your saw shy of the side thickness and then separate the top from the bottom with a knife after sawing and then clean up by hand. Fitting a separate top to a separate bottom can be quite tricky. Then veneer to your hearts content.

albreed

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 10:14:28 PM »
Good point, Jeff. That's the way I do it, too. Definitely don't saw all the way through at first if you're doing it on the table saw-Al
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Chris J

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Re: box construction questions
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010, 03:02:07 AM »
Thanks Jeff. Yes I picked up that trick from somewhere after doing a few all the way through and having some pretty ugly cleanup. When I read it, it was one of those "duh" moments. A very simple solution.

Now back to gathering things...a hot plate, sand, skillet, veneer hammer etc etc...