Shaker Box Anvil

How To Make Fishing Lures by Vlad Evanoff

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SIDE BAND

UD BAND

#1 COPPER TACKS (11)

SIDE BAND

UD BAND

#1 COPPER TACKS (12)

SIDE BAND

#1 COPPER TACKS (12)

SIDE BAND

lJ/4

UO BAND

174-

TAPER STARTS HERE

TAPER

STARTS HERE

TAPER

STARTS HERE

NOTE: 7u BAHD THICKNESS: BOXES #0, #1, #2 Vu" BAND THICKNESS: BOXES #3, #4, #5, #6

Swallowtail joints allow for wood movement. Bevel their edges with a knife, making them steeper at the beginning of the tail than they are at the end.

boxes. Avoid brittle woods like redwood, or woods that splinter easily such as oak.

Cutting the Bands

Once you've selected your stock, cut the bands. These must be very thin —just 7ie in. for the three smaller boxes and ?/jj in. for the other four sizes. To make this thin stock, first rip the wood to the required band width, then resaw it on a bandsaw. Cut the wood slightly thicker than needed, then plane it or sand it to final thickness. Note: Make some extra band stock for each box. You may need it when it comes time to bend the wood.

Cut the band stock to the lengths you need. (See Fig. 1.) Lay out swallowtail joints on one end of each band, as shown in the drawing, then cut them to shape with a bandsaw or a scroll saw. Drill Vic-in. dia. pilot holes through the swallowtails where you will drive the copper tacks that hold the bands together (available from the W.W. Cross Nail Co., P.O. Box 365, Jefferv, NH 03452).

If you want to produce several boxes of the same size, tape the band stock together, one on top of the other. Lay out the joints on the top band, then saw and

UD BAND

#17J COPPER TACKS (12)

SIDE BAND

UD BAND

#17J COPPER TACKS (12)

SIDE BAND

STARTS HERE

TAPER

STARTS

HERE

*l7a COPPER TACKS (121

#2 COPPER TACKS (16)

SIDEBAND

LID BAND !

SIDE BAND

#2 COPPER TACKS (16)

H-27r

TAPER

STARTS HERE |

TAPER

STARTS

HERE

WOODEN PEG

EXPLODED VIEW

COPPER TACK

SWALLOWTAIL DETAIL

VARIABLE

JOINERY DETAIL

BEVEL

UD BAND

BAND 5° BEVEL

BOTTOM

BEVEL

Smooth the box bands on a belt sander, sanding a taper in the end opposite the swallowtails. Use a thin scrap to press the wood against the belt as shown.

drill all the swallow (at Is at one time.

Using a very sharp utility knife or can ing knife, cut bevels in the outer edges of the swallowtails. Start cutting at the base of each swallowtail, making the bevel very steep—about 60°. As you cut, decrease the angle of your knife. By the time you get to the end of the tail, the angle of the bevel should be 30° as shown in the Swallowtail Detail. Cut a bevel on the very end of each swallowtail, too.

On a stationary belt sander with a 100-grit sanding belt, sand off the saw marks on each band. Grasp the band firmly so the sander doesn't pull it out of your hands. Keep the band moving as you work, and sand the entire band evenly. Sand the swallowtails slightly thinner than the rest of the band. Then sand a taper on the opposite end of the band as shown in the Band Layouts drawing. This process can also be done with a hand plane.

Bending the Bands

Before you begin the bending process you will need to have a few jigs on hand. Refer to the sidebar on Jigs For Oval Boxes for information on how to make these jigs. You will need a poacher with a heat source (or a

Smooth the box bands on a belt sander, sanding a taper in the end opposite the swallowtails. Use a thin scrap to press the wood against the belt as shown.

FIG. 2: LID/BOTTOM PATTERNS (FULL SIZE)

BOTTOM (SOUD LINE)

#6 #5 #4 #3 #2 #1 #0 CENTO #0 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6

FIG. 2: LID/BOTTOM PATTERNS (FULL SIZE)

BOTTOM (SOUD LINE)

Altar soaking the bands, wrap the side band around the mold, taking care to position the swallowtail Joints on one of the mold's long sides.

Mark the position of the swallowtail Joints so you have reference Mirks to fasten it together once you take it off the moid.

Altar soaking the bands, wrap the side band around the mold, taking care to position the swallowtail Joints on one of the mold's long sides.

Mark the position of the swallowtail Joints so you have reference Mirks to fasten it together once you take it off the moid.

JIGS FOR OVAL BOXES

You don't need a lot of special tools to make bent wood boxes. But you do need to make a few simple jigs—a poacher, box molds, dryers, and an anvil.

METAL CAP

STAND

METAL CAP

POACHER

GALVANIZED GUTTER

STAND

POACHER—This is a long, water-tight trough, in which vou soak the bands in hot water. Soak-ing makes them pliable. Owrcy brazed together sheets of copper to make his poacher.

You don't have to go to this trouble or expense just to make a few boxes. Instead, cut a piece of galvanized rain gutter about 40 in. long—slightly longer than the bands for the largest (#6) box. Put metal caps on the ends and seal them with a heat-resistant epoxy putty. (You don't need to solder the ends in place as long as you heat the trough in the middle and don't get it hot enough to boil the water.) Set the trough on an electric hot plate, camp stove, or other compact heat source. If nccessarv, make wooden cradles for the

•0 w ends to hold the trough and keep it from sagging.

BOX MOLDS-After poaching the sides, you'll bend them around thick, oval-shaped blocks-molds—to shape them while they dry. You'll need to make a separate mold, from scrap wood, for each box size. Plane each mold a little thicker than the width of the corresponding side band. Fur example, plane the block for the #1 box about 1 V-a in. thick, since the side is 1'/: in. wide. Cut the blocks to the same oval shapes as the bottoms of the boxes as shown in the Lid/ Bottom Patterns.

Owrey has drilled a '/¿-in. dia. hole through each of his molds. This enables him to secure the molds on a 3A-in. dia. post mounted in his anvil. The molds stay put while he works, yet he can turn them 360° as he bends the wood.

DRYERS—These are oval-shaped plugs with beveled edges. They set the shape of the box as the wet bands drv. Make two drvers for each w •

box—to be placed at the top and bottom edges of the drying side band. Cut Vin. thick scrap to the same oval shapes as the lids of the boxes. (This shape is also shown in the Lid/Bottom Patterns.) Saw each dryer '/i6 in.— vh in. wide of the line-making it slightly larger than needed. Then sand up to the line with a stationary disk sander or belt sander. Tilt the sander's work table 10° from the sanding surface. Bevel the edge of the dryer 10° as shown in the drawing.

Drill one or two V<-in. dia. finger holes through each dryer. As a band cools and dries, it shrinks and tightens around the dryers. The holes help you pull the dryer loose from the band.

ANVIL

3a du. dowel

3a du. dowel

ANVIL

17a" OlD. iron pipe

Mount assembly to your bench.

17a" OlD. iron pipe

Mount assembly to your bench.

ANVIL —You need an anvil to clinch or bend over the tacks on the inside of the bands. Make an anvil from a length of I'/i-in. O.D. iron pipe. Mount the pipe in a wooden framework, so the pipe protrudes 6 in. from one end. Add a Hat work surface to the top as shown in the drawing. In the center of this work surface, drill a 3A-in. dia., '/j-in. deep hole. Glue a */4-in. dia., 1 '/a- in. long dowel in the hole, and use it as a post to mount the molds. Then vou can bend the bands and fasten a»

them together on the same jig. To use the anvil, clamp it to your workbench with the pipe sticking out over the edge of the bench.—N.E.

Oil Gas Gun Barrel

BOX MOLDS v4- du. hole for

SlICHTLY THICKER THAN RESPECTIVE BAND WIDTH

GALVANIZED GUTTER

DRYERS

Place the positioned band over your anvil and gently drive the tacks through the wet wood so the points clinch when they hit the metal.

After you've tacked the side band together, insert the dryers— one in each end. Don't force them in place. If you press too hard, the band may come apart.

Place the positioned band over your anvil and gently drive the tacks through the wet wood so the points clinch when they hit the metal.

steam box) to soften the bands for bending, and box molds around which to bend the bands. You'll also need to make an anvil to provide a hard surface when you nail each box band together. Finally, you'll need a pair of dr>en> for each size box you make, to hold the box in shape while it drys.

To begin, fill the poacher with water. Turn on the hot plate, and heat the water so it steams but doesn't boil (about 150° F to 175° F). Put the lid band and side band in the water, and let them soak for at least 15 minutes, preferably 25. (You can soak or steam them longer without harming them, but it will take them more time to dry.) When you take a band out of the water, it should be no stiffer than shoe leather.

Take the side band out first. Before it cools, quickly bend it around the box mold.

Place the tapered end against the long side of the elliptical mold, and wrap it as tightly as you can. Lap the swallowtails over the tapered end. The swallowtails must end up on the long side of the form, with the bevels facing out. Draw a line to mark the location of the swallowtails on the band beneath. Loosen the band just enough to take it off the mold, but don't let it come apart completely. Note: if the wood breaks or splits when you bend it, it may need to soak longer. However, sometimes the wood breaks no matter how long you soak it. This is one of the reasons you need to make extra band stock.

Lay the mold aside. Put the band back together, lapping the ends so the marks line up. Place the band over the end of the anvil. Insert a tack in one of the swallowtail holes and drive it home. As the tack goes through the band, the point will hit the metal anvil and clinch over. This keeps the tack from pulling loose. Repeat the process, driving tacks through all the holes.

Press the drvcrs into the assembled band like vou'd r r press a cork into a bottle. Use two dryers, one at the top of the band and the other at the bottom. The dryers hold the band in an elliptical shape as it drys. Take the lid band out of the poacher and wrap it around the assembled side band. Leave the dryers in place for this operation; they shouldn't be in the way. Mark the location of the swallowtail on the lid band, then remove it, and tack it together in the same manner as the side band. Put it back in place around the side band. Adjust

After you've tacked the side band together, insert the dryers— one in each end. Don't force them in place. If you press too hard, the band may come apart.

the top edge flush with the top of the side band, and turn it so all the swallowtails and tacks line up. Let both bands drv for several davs.

Assembling the Box and Lid

After the bands dry, make an oval-shaped bottom from '/4-in. thick stock, cutting it to the shape shown in Fig. 2. Cut '/i6 in.—Ve in. wide of the line—then sand a 5° bevel on the edge, as shown in the Joinery Detail in Fig. 1. the same way you sanded the 10° bevel on the edges of the dryers. (See sidebar on Jigs for Oval Boxes.) Don't sand up to the line yet; remain just wide of it. Note: This bevel is very important. You should wedge the bottoms and the lids in the bands, not just insert them. The 5° bevel on the edge stretches the band slightly, making the joint tight all around the circumference.

Remove the drvers from the bands, and test fit the w bottom in the side band. To insert the bottom in the band, place one long side of the oval against the lapped ends of the band, and let the lid swing into place as if you were closing a door. This method puts a minimum of stress on the joints. The fit should be snug, but you shouldn't have to force it. The lid will make a small squeak when the parts fit properly. If the bottom is too tight, sand a little more stock from the edge, and try again. Repeat until the bottom fits just right. Press the bottom in place so the outside face is flush with the bottom edge of the band.

Remove the lid band from the side band. Cut an oval-shaped lid, and fit it into the band in the same manner as you fit the bottom. Place the lid assembly on the box, and check that the swallowtail joints and the tacks line up. If the joints are misaligned, don't panic. You can move the band on the lid up to lh in. clockwise or counterclockwise. When the parts are properly assembled, drill Vi6-in. peg holes, V» in. deep, '/u in. from the edge, all around the bottom of the box and the top of the lid. These holes must go through the band and into the bottom or lid. Space them every 1 in. to 2 in., but don't drill any holes at the points of the ellipse where the curve is most pronounced —the wood is highly stressed in these areas. If you drill a hole, you'll weaken the wood, and it may break.

Use the assembled side band as a mold for shaping the lid band. After you fasten the lid band together, let it dry in place on the side band to ensure a good fit.

When you assemble the lid and the band, make sure the tacks and the edges of the swallowtails line up.

Use ordinary round toothpicks for the pegs. Cut them in two with a pair of wire cutters, making two pecs from each toothpick. You may have to trim '/a in. to h in. off the pointed ends so they aren't loose in the peg holes. Dip the smallest end of the peg in glue and insert it in a peg hole. Continue until you have filled all the holes. Let the glue dry, then use a utility knife to trim the pegs flush with the wood surface.

Applying a Finish

Sand all parts of the completed boxes and lids. Make sure the pegs are flush with the surface of the wood and the edges of the bands are flush with the lid or bottom. If you wish to paint the boxes, don't bother to finish sand them. Apply milk paint (available from: Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., P.O. Box 222, Grotun. MA 01450), or latex paint to the rough-sanded surface.

If you want a clear finish, sand the surfaces on the outside of the box. paying special attention to the bands—poaching (or steaming) will have raised the wood grain. Apply a finish to the outside of the box onlv. Don't finish the inside. The inside of the boxes should be left raw so that the wood will absorb moisture before the contents do. This keeps the contents from mildewing. A

SOURCES

Shaker oval box-making jigs and materials-bands, tops and bottoms, molds, dryers, poaching trays, anvils, etc., are available from: John Wilson, 500 E. Broadway Hwv.. Charlotte, MI 48813. Write for price list.

Nick Engler is Contributing Editor of AW and owner of Bookuvrks iti West Milton, Ohio. He has written 14 uvo<i\\vrking books. Engler has been working wood professionally for 17 years, getting his start making musical instruments.

When you assemble the lid and the band, make sure the tacks and the edges of the swallowtails line up.

Drill holes through the bands and into the lid or bottom. The drilling jig, shown here, positions the holes and stops them at the proper depth.
Use round toothpicks as pegs to fasten the bottom and lid in place. Don't glue the bottom or Hd, only the pegs.

PRODUCTION JIGS FOR SHAKER BOXES

1 build Shaker boxes for a living, and I've developed a few jigs that speed the process along without compromising quality. I'll describe two of the most useful ones.

As Nick Engler explains in the article on page 16, some box makers bend and nail the side bands and lid bands in two separate steps-bending the band on one form, then switching to a separate anvil for nailing. I've combined the two steps (as did the Shakers)—and shortened the time it takes to do them —by inlaying steel "anvils" right into the sides of my bending forms. This allows me to bend the band around the form and tack it all in one motion. The nail points turn when they hit the anvil and bend over to clinch tightly into the wood. Once the bands are tacked together, I remove the form and put a '/¿-in. thick follower (what Engler calls a "dryer") into the band to hold the shape as the wood dries.

The anvils are simply '/i-in. thick bands of steel set into the side of the form and epoxied or screwed into place. (I use stainless steel because iron reacts with the tannin in certain woods, causing a blue stain on the wood.) The forms themselves are made of plywood, so they don't warp or move. I mount the forms on legs which can be clamped into the tail vise of my workbench. (See drawing.)

Fitting the tops and bottoms into the bands is another time-consuming step, and it can easily

PATTERN-SANDING JIG

Rotate pattern

Mftd tOQ/bottOAl

\ I x Fence protrudes to reduce

Charles Haney makes Shaker furniture and boxes in his shop, "Simple Gifts," in Be re a, Kentucky. His boxes have been sold by four Shaker museums, and he builds a complete line of Shaker chairs and other furniture to order.

This sanding jig enables you to uniformly sand the perimeter of the oval box tops and bottoms on the disc sander.

Shaker Box Parts

Skew- Chisel Basics

Cutting Is the Key to Professional Results any amateur turners don't really know how to use the skew chisel. That was true of JL f -A. me, too, until I had a chance —some 15 years ago—to watch professional turners in a traditional chair-parts factory in London. They roughed out chair legs, sheared away tapers and rounded over beads, all with the skew chisel. The skew-cut surface was so smooth it practically shined. I realized that, until then, I'd never seen a spindle cut correctly by human hands. All along, I'd been comparing my own turning efforts to the turnings I'd seen on mass-produced furniture—surfaces scraped by the cutter of an automatic lathe.

Instead of curt inn with the skew, as these professional turners did, many hobbyists use the skew as a general-purpose scraper. It seems safer to scrape with the skew than to cut, and it feels more natural, too. But scraping long grain tears up the fibers and leaves a fuzzy surface that requires lots of sanding. Sanding takes time, and it rounds off the fine, crisp details that distinguish good hand-turned work.

Don't get me wrong, scrapers are perfectly acceptable tools, especially for smoothing up end grain at the bottom of bowls and other hollow vessels. But the skew chisel isn't designed for scraping. Scrapers and skews are sharpened differently. Scrapers cut with a burr that's been raised on the edge by the grinding wheel. The skew is honed to a knife-sharp edge so it can shear off shavings like a plane or a chisel. (See sidebar on sharpening.)

Learning to cut with the skew takes practice, but it's worth your while to learn. Cutting is the most economical and efficient technique for spindle turning. If you learn to cut, instead of scrape, you'll gel a lot more pleasure from your turning. You'll turn faster, more efficiently, and the details will be crisp and sharp.

Chisel Talk

The skew chisel has a bevel on each side of the cut- ^ ling edge, like a knife. The edge is angled, or "skewed." g with respect to the handle, which distinguishes the skew £ from the square chisel —the other type of turning chisel. | Skews come in a variety of widths and lengths. In g general, small skews are better for smaller work and wide ones for large-diamcier work. I use a '/i-in. wide skew for lurning small details, and I like a 1 or a I'/j-in. wide skew for planing a 2-in. diameter cylinder.

The length of the blade and handle combined are also important size considerations. For planing cuts, I prefer a handle that's long enough to rest against the side of my body. I find that this adds to my control and reduces fatigue on my shoulders. For detail work. I prefer a much shorter skew—closer to the size of a carving chisel.

If your spindle turnings range from very small to very large, it would be good to have several different-size skews. If you avoid extremes of size in your work, you can get by with two skew chisels, a '/2-in. wide skew with a shori blade and handle for detail work, and a 1- or ls/>in. wide skew with a long blade and handle for larger work. If you don't like the handle that comes with a tool, turn a new one for it.

The grinding is the first thing I check on a turning chisel before I buy it. When viewed from the end of the

FIG. 1: SKEW-CHISEL ANATOMY

Grinding whe<?l leaves slight holow grind.

Bevel length should be twice blade thickness.

Honing creates spots at edge and heel«

SHORT POINT

LONG POINT

The left side of this cylinder was scraped. Scraping long grain tears up the fibers and leaves a fuzzy surface that requires sanding. The skew is designed to shear off shavings like a plane, leaving the smooth surface on the right.

blade, the two wide, flat surfaces of the blade should be parallel. In our age of machine-ground tools, it is rare to find a poorly ground chisel, but if you tend to pick up old tools at yard sales, check the grinding. The cutting edge should be centered between the two parallel surfaces. The blade should be straight when viewed from the end and from the side.

I try not to buy turning chisels with blades thicker than /i6 in. —in. is pushing it. A thinner blade requires a shorter bevel for a good edge. This means less grinding and easier honing.

High-speed steel is the best steel alloy to handle the friction and heat generated in turning. It's more expensive than carbon steel, but it keeps its edge ten times longer. High-speed steel is also less touchy to grind, since it tolerates more heat before you "burn the edge" and draw the temper. Though I never buy new carbon-steel turning tools, I still include in my basic kit a few particularly "sweet" carbon-steel tools, a skew chisel among them.

I like to tune a new skew chisel in a couple of ways. First I round over the corners along the sides of the

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