cherry, redwood lace burl, and mahogany trim
If you have been reading my blog, you must realize that most of the wood I use in my creations is found wood. The old silver maple tree that was cut down in the back yard several years ago has provided many spalted maple boxes and spoons. The apple tree provided a nice walking stick. And the trunk of the huge old cedar shrub was cut into pieces for many different projects. Call me cheap, but I hardly ever spend money to buy "good wood".
During last year’s excursion to a woodworking expo, I was tempted by a wood vendor with beautiful wood for sale. I succumbed to the temptation and purchased some good wood. I bought some nice cherry planks and a small, expensive piece of redwood lace burl. I planned on making my first constructed box using those power tools in my workshop that make very loud intimidating whining sounds. I’m talking about the table saw and the router table. These tools demand a certain respect since they can change your anatomy and send you to the emergency room in the blink of an eye. Up until now I have been using less harmful tools, like a small band saw, a drill press and carving gouges. These tools also require careful use, but they are nowhere near as fearful as the hungry rotating blade of the table saw.
I read books on box making, and I used some of the suggestions in the books, but as usual, I found my own ways of doing things. I took my time, and measured carefully. I’m pretty pleased with the result, which I named the Alpha Box. Of course there are several small flaws that are probably hardly noticeable to most people, but seem very obvious to me.
I learned that I still have a lot yet to learn about finishing wood. I learned that setting the hinges takes more time than building the pyramids. And I learned spending some money on good wood really improves the overall look of even my first attempt at a constructed box.
This blog is dedicated to wood, and all things crafted out of wood.
It all starts with the belief that trees are, somehow, sacred expressions of the Creator. Trees are living, organic creatures with great strength and beauty. Their wood is used by humans to create things both practical and wonderful. Ancient people in all corners of the world worshiped trees as deities. These deities did not live in some far off heaven, but were connected by deep roots to the same earth that the ancient people walked upon. The people had a close relationship to these earth-bound deities, depending on them for the wood that gave them fuel, warmth and shelter. Later, almost every aspect of their lives was dependent upon wood. Vehicles, tools, ships, bridges, weapons, bowls and spoons were all made out of wood. If the tree is indeed a deity, then it is a god that has provided graciously of herself to all humans throughout the ages.
If you are a monotheist, as I am, you probably believe that your one God created trees along with everything else. I believe that they are still sacred expressions of that Creator. I believe that beautiful objects made out of wood are a homage to the wood spirit, or, if you prefer, a prayer to God.
My name is John M. Casteline. I was educated as an engineer and for most of my life I worked in the business world in industrial marketing anf product management. Now I work with my hands creating things ourt of wood.