Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A tale of two sisters

A few years ago, probably in 2007 actually, I purchased a plank of English walnut from a fellow cabinet maker who was selling some of his stock off.

The plank had a bit of history.  

It came from a tree the cabinet maker got 'in the round', and had planked up by a local saw mill.  You would hope that the saw mill knew what they were doing, but they didn't.

Oh, the cut the log up okay.  Nice even thickness to the planks and made the best use of the timber, but that was it.

When a log is planked, it needs to be stacked up and dried. This is called 'put in stick'.  Each plank is stacked above the other with a small piece of wood (the stick?) between each plank - hence air can flow around the planks and help the drying process.

Now why didn't the saw mill do this with the walnut?  They planked it up but forgot the sticks. The wood was just plied up plank on top of plank.

When the cabinet maker went to collect his timber, it was too late. When a log is planked, lots of stress is released from the wood and if it is not dried properly, the wood will twist and warp. Which is exactly what happened to these planks.

The planks were twisted, and warped and some had mold and fungus on them. He took the planks, but for making furniture where you need relatively straight and sound timber, these were no good. So he kept them in the back of the workshop and when space was needed, decided to get rid of them.

That is where I come into the story. I saw one of the planks and it wasn't that bad.  I wouldn't be able to get large items from it, but I could work around what I had and make something smaller.

So I made two boxes.  Sisters so to speak as the come from the same plank of walnut.

Here are pictures of the big sister.

English walnut has such a great grain pattern.

I worked around the grain, and placed the handle for the lid
where the grain changes direction and swirls towards the front
of the lid.

There are three lift out trays, each with a different configuration
of little compartments. The trays and box are lined with a purple suede.

And here are some pictures of the little sister.

The little sister is much smaller, but still has a pleasing grain pattern.

Once again there is a lift out tray lined with purple suede.

Here you can actually see into the box. Items can be stored under the tray when it is
placed in the box.

Now they need a good home.  Wouldn't it be nice if they could stay together?