Saturday, October 10, 2009

the Hope Box - Part 3

Into the serious band saw work. With the ½” blade still on the band saw, and the sides still perpendicular to the base, I cut the box top and the bottom piece. Then I cut the side tapers by tilting the band saw table top. Of course, that made the previously cut bottom piece slightly wider than the sides, but it was easily adjusted with some shaping work on the belt sander.

I then changed to a 3/16” blade for the curved cuts. I kept the band saw table at the same angle setting so the inner sides would be tapered at the same angle as the outer sides. I took a deep breath and carefully cut out the box opening. This is always a scary operation for me. If you mess up here, you have wasted a whole lot of time. Sometimes I do a cut or two on an old piece of scrap wood just to get comfortable with the motions. Sort of like a pitcher taking warm-up pitches.
The smaller ring forms the rim of a hidden bottom compartment.

I have a fear of the band saw. I always have and I always will. My fingers are an inch or so away from a very powerful, sharp, whining blade. A small slip-up could cause some serious changes in my life. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. My fear of the band saw is a kind of respect. I respect the power it has. At the same time, I know that its power is controlled within certain physical dimensions. If I do not come in contact with the moving blade, I will not be harmed, and the power will work for me. The power of the band saw becomes my power.

If using a powerful band saw creates a high level of keen awareness and excitement, then the repeated motion of hand sanding produces a level of boredom that would be at the exact opposite end of the scale. Sanding is boring. There are no two ways about it. Any beautifully crafted box must go through this dreaded hand sanding process. There is no way to skip it. Sure, there are power sanders that can get you most of the way, but the final finishing sanding must all be done by hand. All of the great wooden (or stone) sculptures that we admire in museums, or the carved wooden architectural details that fascinate us in churches and mansions, were all sanded tediously by hand by some poor artisan with tired forearms.
The finished form, all glued and ready for hand sanding.

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