Thursday, January 19, 2012

A More Manly Cigar Box Transformation

I was getting tired of carving flowers into empty wooden cigar boxes and transforming them into jewelry boxes and tea caddies.  I needed to make something more manly; something a man could appreciate.  I wound up making a box for my son-in-law for Christmas.  A woman puts her “stuff” in a jewelry box.  A man puts his “stuff” into a…valet box, or utility box, or something. I guess it doesn’t have an official name.

The design is a Celtic snake which is an adaptation of a tattoo design.  That’s manly.  I call it the Snake Box…very manly. The cigar box is made in Honduras using sapele wood, which is native to Africa.  Sapele is pretty nice to carve, sort of like mahogany, but it can get splintery in spots.  You also might run into hard knotty areas and irregular grain patterns. Most of the side pieces of these cigar boxes are made of quarter sawn sapele which usually shows a brilliant ray pattern.

After carving and sanding, I used an Ebony stain to darken the recess area.  I then stained the entire box with a Golden Oak stain.  I lightly sanded all the raised areas of the design to give added highlights.

I made the interior trays entirely from wood from other scrap cigar boxes.  The sides are Spanish cedar and the bottoms are thin plywood.  It is not shown here, but I left the cigar manufacturer’s imprinting and brand on wood on the bottom of the trays.  It sort of keeps a connection with the original use as a cigar box. It says “Made in Honduras” and “Hecho a Mano”.  I added small wooden feet, which helps the transformation from an ordinary cigar box to handsome valet box.

I used a maroon felt with an alligator skin pattern, adding to the manly look.  The top tray slides back and forth over the bottom tray to expose or hide the bottom compartments.

If, like me, you are tired of carving flowers, find a Celtic tattoo pattern and carve something manly.


Anonymous said...

Dad - very nice. I menat to ask you more aobut this box but you know how the holidays go... I was more stuck onhow to find the reciept for that double gift you got. Anyway. Manly is good. I both found and lost my local supply of cigar boxes (the shop I found nearby closed). I have been thinking about the mechanics of hidden drawers alot. If I put something to gether I will show you. - Love- Dave

John M. Casteline said...

I always love hidden drawers. I'd love to hear your thoughts. We will have to talk.

Anonymous said...

John, This one is wonderful. I can see a lot of progression in your work. The boxes are gorgeous!

Walter Scott said...

Simply beautiful. Do you take orders?