Curved top box build
I'm working on a challenging project for me. I decided to post a build-along.

I've been wanting to do this for over a year. I cycled through a few design ideas and settled on one that I like. I built 2 or 3 models of the box itself, out of cheap poplar to get the proportions right. The top is more difficult. I tried maybe a half dozen or more approaches to figure out how to even make the thing. The first few tries were also poplar. I wasn't even sure I had half a chance of getting tight joints using mostly hand tools. I'm still not sure! But the last attempt was with hard maple -- to simulate the unforgiving pearwood I will use for the real box -- and it came out ok. We'll see.

So, for better or worse, here goes. This is a hybrid build but focused on hand tools, so I get to spin CDs on a sweet shop stereo, while I beat up on a former pear tree.

The top is the hard part, but the box has to be built first.

Some music spinning while gearing up and prepping wood:
Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, and Shoot Out The Lights
Big Star,#1 Record/Radio City
Rockpile, Seconds of Pleasure

My original choice was quartersawn sapele, but my eye kept drifting to the pearwood I bought years ago from Gilmer.  I have never used it before, so I sawed a few scraps (not bad, but not the easiest to dovetail), and tried hand planing it. It planes beautifully! More importantly, it's color and texture seemed to suit this box. I used up some electrons prepping the box sides, then headed to the bench.

Shooting the ends. Lie-Nielsen low angle jack plane on a Rob Hanson (Evenfall Studios) shooting board. Rob is a great guy and an excellent tool maker. Rob lost his home and shop in the Paradise fires, and has a GoFundMe campaign to help him rebuild.

Music: Marvin Gaye, Let's Get It On.

Rough shaping the curved ends with a bandsaw, template routing to final shape, and routing a gentle rabbet that follows the curvature. The box top will eventually nestle into these end rabbets. The ends are small, about 7 1/2" long, and securing them for safe routing took some figuring. I ended up using a pair of wedges.

Music to listen to in between the power tool noises: Steve Earle, Transcendental Blues.

The transition between the rabbet and the inside lip at the top needed to be soft and rounded, not square as a spiral bit would give. I used a radiused end mill (from Kokdak Cutters) to give this profile.

Don't worry, this is the most power-tool-heavy part of the build.

Next, I shot the ends of the long front and rear box pieces, and cut and chopped the tails. I messed up the first set, with a few of the narrow tails a touch out of square. No room to get a chisel in to square them up. Dang it. I put them on the shelf for a future (smaller!) box, and started over with new wood. Much better results! Pins on the end boards came next.

Ohio Players, Honey (great album, bad dovetails!)
O'Jays, Backstabbers
Jayhawks, Tomorrow the Green Grass, followed by The Bunkhouse Album
Howlin' Wolf, Chess Box

Obligatory dovetails in progress pics: tails sawn. I had to pare a little more than I care to, mostly me just steering a touch off vertical, but nothing too bad.

I was going to cope, then opted to bash them out with chisels.

Overall, the dovetails came out fine. I think there is one pin that is a touch narrow, but the rest look reasonably tight. And the best part: it sits flat! That's always a relief.

My daughter is spending most of the next 2 weeks of her college break with me, so these will sit in a stack until later in January. Then, I can add the bottom, get the box assembled, and move on to the real challenge -- the curved top!

For now, this.

More in a few weeks.
Aram, defying laws of geometry

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  Re: Curved top box build by Aram (I'm working on a cha...)
It's looking good!   Can't wait to see the pear wood in full glory.
  Re: Curved top box build by Aram (I'm working on a cha...)
I really like how it is coming out.  Looking forward to seeing more to.
It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

Hi, I'm Arlin's proud wife! His brain trma & meds-give memory probs and has pain from injuries, but all is well materially & financially.  
  Re: Curved top box build by Aram (I'm working on a cha...)
Lookin good

Cool  .............

Putzing, the new hobby

Evil lurks here, but eventually gets cleansed.


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