Ready to dive into projects for the Inside Passage's December show I've started mocking up a small box. It will be some where around 11" x 7 1/2" and will likely be an open cavity with a hinged lid. Though is seems minimalistic it incorporates some very challenging joinery.
The "design" of the box is curved inside and out on all four sides with graduated dovetails on these tapered curves at the corners. The order of operations and aids needed to accurately map the joints I believe is the toughest part. I am currently half way through a sort of "proof of concept" set of joints. I am hoping that it all works out!
The box will be made of a wood/tree native to the Northwest, Arbutus. It's a fantastic looking tree. Being from Minneapolis, MN I have never seen one before. The trees stand out so much from the other local trees here with it's sweeping curved trunk and branches, it's rust colored bark that peels like paper to reveal a vibrant green behind.
Arbutus, also known as Madrone, is a non-commercial tree meaning that they are protected from harvest for commercial use. The Arbutus lumber here was locally felled and air-dried before being put in a dehumidifier kiln to get it to a working moisture content. The plank I have chosen has some great color in it that I hope to take advantage of in the composure of the box.
This lumber is great to work with. It has a very nice structure some where between that of hard maple and pear wood. It's a joy to hand plane and is relatively easy on tools. These are welcome qualities for a personally challenging piece!