Monday, December 19, 2011

Strong Box #1


Like a wine snob picking out a few bottles of fine wine, I spent an hour at Owl Lumber going through remnants before leaving with a choice collection of exotic hardwoods.  The price is about the same, so whatever you do with the wood, you want to do it well.

I had something else in mind than the gift wrap I actually made. I sketched a scene onto the wood and started to carve but the wood was dense and the effort it would take to finish--well, I probably wouldn't finish in time. As it was, Plan B was barely dry when Christmas Day rolled around.

Again relying on the good graces of Ray U. and the Inventor's Lab at IMSA, I fashioned a box in two halves that I could assemble at home. This was to be the first of the "strong boxes:" Only one way in--other than a saw. I put a lot of care into the design and execution and hoped that would be enough to preserve its intact-ness. The inside was completely hand carved. These were the days before Dremel.

The gift hidden inside was a key chain light.  Other than the journey, you never know what you are going to get.

The trick was to pull open the shaft of wood that filled the opening through which the key chain must pass.  Six side pegs play a functional and artistic role; four of them hold the shaft in place. A hammer is a useful tool for this challenge. Instead of pulling, the shaft requires pushing. Two of the pegs are pushed out when the end is forced inward. Another two pegs (actually one long peg) can be pushed all the way through. At this point the shaft is free, shown above.  It took at least 30 minutes before Pat discovered the secret and the box yielded its prize.