Thursday, June 7, 2012

learning alder wood; a small favor box

So last year my da sent a several hundred pound shipment of wood milled from a windfall on the family farm some years previously. The mass was divided between some gorgeous VG Fir, and some alder:

I've never worked alder before, but my curious first swipes from a block plane revealed some pretty grain and color patterns despite my being colorblind

This weekend, I milled a small offcut plank of the alder for a simple gift box to my mom on her birthday. The wood proved "springy" in that i'd plane it flat and watch it cup and warp before me after inspection. Perhaps it was a flat sawn piece, but working this will be a challenge. All this is fine given the way the wood looks. I plagiarized a design from a recent blog posting by Mr. David Barron here. I have attempted wood hinge mechanisms before but his with the tapered thickness lid is quite elegant.

Here, I am fitting the lid using bamboo skewers from the supermarket as hinges.

And this is the finished assembly, with a couple coats of "citrus shield" paste wax. LxWxH 8,3/4x4,5/8x2,1/4.

Here we can see some of the grain reversal chipping out in the dovetails due to my hamfistedness. must be cautious while working this stuff. But otherwise, you see the grain patterns. the diagonal "shooting star" effects are part of the wood's grain itself. quite a thing to behold.