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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wolf CD Case

For one of my sons for Christmas, I made him a CD case. He likes wolves. He had told me he would like a a wolf portrait I had done in the past for Christmas. Well the problem was that I didn't want to just make him something I'd done in the past. I wanted all these Christmas present I make this year to be special. Also, I had a feeling that a portrait was just the only wolf themed project he could think of for me to build for him.
I know he doesn't really have a place to put his CDs. I went to look at ideas for a medium sized CD case in Wal-Mart. Can you believe they make CD cases out of cardboard? From there, I thought about putting a wolf on it. I debated on this though because I only had about three different wolf patterns, all of which I'd done numerous times in the past. Then I bought the holiday issue of Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts. In that issue was a pattern for the gray wolf you see on the lid of the CD case I built.
When I saw the pattern of the gray wolf, I knew I wanted to put it on the case. However, the pattern was smaller than I wanted. I'm not very educated when it come to computer stuff. So, it took me almost an entire day to figure out how to enlarge the pattern to a suitable size. I'd enlarged patterns like this before. I don't do it often enough though. Every time I start to do this, I have to relearn the process all over again.
The CD case turned out pretty nice I think though. The box and outer trim for the lid are cherry. The inside pieces of the lid are walnut. The framework on the inside of the box to support the CDs is made out of cottonwood. The wolf detail consists of two pieces of luan. One has the pattern cut out of it with another piece painted flat back placed behind the cutting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

U.S. Army Trunk

I have seven sons and one daughter. Some of my kids, from the time they are small, decide almost on a daily basis something different they want to do when they grow up. One of my sons is different though. Almost as long as I can remember, he has ate, slept, and breathed U.S. Army. He is now in his last year of high school and I can honestly say that this time next year, bar some unforeseen life changing event, he will be in the army. So, this is what I wanted to build him for the last Christmas we'll have with him before that time.
Now, first of all, on this project, I have to thank Steve Goode for the army emblem pattern. His site can be found here . The pattern itself can be downloaded here . If you want some great patterns for gift ideas, please go on over and check out his site, Scrollsaw Workshop. He puts a huge amount of work into providing some of the best free patterns you'll find on the internet.
The trunk itself was not built from a pattern. I bought a thirty inch piano hinge and sort of built it from there, making it up as I went.
The box itself is made of pecan. It is "wrapped" in oak strips. The army emblem is made of mahogany. Then the entire thing is finished using Johnson's paste wax.
If you look at the fourth photo, it is looking at the back side of the box with the lid open. You may notice how the oak strips on the back of the box are cut so that the catch the strips on the lid and support it when the lid is open.
The brass handles on each end look nice on it. There is a potential problem though. I am afraid they will only be to look good. I did substitute the small screws for a little larger screws. I still don't think though they are going to support the weight of the trunk loaded. It turned out quite a bit heavier than I realized. I did however realize it when I finished and went to move it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mahogany Unicorn Chest With Cedar Lining

Several weeks ago, I built a cedar chest for my daughter's Christmas present. My wife liked it so much, that I decided to build her one. I had several problems though. The biggest one was that I didn't have enough good cedar to make another. Since my wife likes pecan, I decided to build a chest in the same styling out of pecan. Well, I found out real quick that the saw blade on my table saw was in no way sharp enough to cut the pecan cleanly enough to build it in the same style. With my limited funds, I had rather spend my money right now on Christmas than new saw blades. So, to make a long story short, in the end I decided to build it out of mahogany. My wife loves the smell of cedar though. So I was able to scrap enough of the knotty cedar to line the mahogany chest in aromatic cedar.
Next order of business was the scrolled design for the chest. You can see a photo of the chest's original design in the older posts here on my blog, or by going to the Wildwood Deisigns website here. I used unicorn designs on the front and sides and a pegasus design on the lid. I wanted to provide a link to where these designs can be purchased, but could not find them on Wildwood Designs website. I bought both patterns from there over a year ago. They may be hard to find since that website has been redesigned, or they may be discontinued.
Anyway, I wanted to use those unicorn type designs on my wife's chest. However, the original design measurements of the chest did not allow room for them. So, I had to redo a lot of the measurements for the chest to allow room for these two designs. It was not hard to do at all. It was just a matter of figuring up the difference in height of the original designs and the unicorn designs, and then adding the difference to the length of the corresponding pieces of the chest. This method may make you scratch your head a few times, but if you're careful to make sure and add enough space, it all will fall together in the end.
While I am very happy with the way these two chests have turned out, I do have one complaint. On both of these chests, I used the brass friction support to hold the lid up. I have got to try hard to find a better designed lid support for things such as these chests. While these look beautiful and do serve their purpose, they are a pain in the rump to install. It is near impossible, to me anyway, to get them mounted the first time so they will work right. The instructions on the back of the package is useless. If you go by the instructions, like I did the first time, the chest will not close properly, if it closes at all. I actually used some scrap wood for a mock up just out of curiosity. For the instructions to be correct, the approximately eight inch slide pieces would have to be about sixteen inches long and would bend against the lid if you forced it all the way down. I don't think I have ever encountered a simple piece of hardware that has frustrated me so much.