A lot of my time seems to be spent waiting in the car and I spend much of this time working on small projects; lovespoons,carving- doodles, technical exercises and the like, so having recently completed a brace of complicated lovespoons I thought I would spend a few hours preparing a car-carving project. Car-carving (also known as tv-carving) projects are defined (by me) as small projects to be carved while waiting in the car for one’s nearest and dearest as they shop/go to youth club/etc).
My IPod (other devices are available) is starting to show some signs of a hard life and this car-carving was to be a gratifyingly complex carry-case. Now, it’s funny how a project can take on a life all of its own sometimes. This little box was meant to be carved and hinged in a plain piece of timber, lime ideally. A small off-cut of timber was dragged out of a dark corner of the workshop and found to be exactly the right size, result! The timber was heavily oxidised and impossible to identify but this is a few hours fun project (I thought) and the timber was the right size!!
The first order of business was to split the block into two halves and when seperated the timber was shown to be a rather lovely piece of yew, heavily split (shakes) but very pretty nonetheless. OK, now to hollow out the centre of each block to match the IPod, then round-over the outsides to get a pleasing shape.
Now, the original plan was to carve decoration all over the outside but the box is oh-so-pretty, so we have to find a new plan. I have always believed that if there is a choice between doing things simply or finding a way of complicating matters then complicated is always best, so, I thought,if the outside has to be simple then lets try the hinge as a means of complicating matters. I tried a number of approaches,from tiny swivels to a carved bird with the wings forming the arms of the hinge, but ultimately decided the box was best left as pure and simple – the ipod is a friction fit and holds the box together (it is in a silicone cover and so is thicker than standard, and the silicone is quite ‘grippy’).
A wax finish was all that was needed to round things off – it took about two hours to make the box, a few more to perfect the fit and about ten minutes to apply the wax finish. Simple. It took about 15 hours to make and test the hinges!! Oh well, these boxes are so satisfying to make I rather think I’ll be making quite a few of over the next few months.
I used a panel saw to split the block; a number 2 gouge, a number 8 gouge, and a firmer chisel for the hollowing; a number 2 gouge and a shinto rasp for the outside shaping. However, the entire carving could easily be accomplished with a firmer chisel and sand-paper.
A piece of blackboard-chalk was used as a tell-tale for refining the box for fit to the ipod. Rub the chalk on one half of the box, press the other components to it and where the chalk rubs off is a high-spot to be smoothed away – when the chalk rubs off uniformly over the whole surface then it is ready.