Sunday, October 21, 2012

Birch Shrink Box


Out in the shop, I've mostly been working on the tambour door cabinet project - figuring out how to make the slats for the tambour. I think I've got that down and will post on it soon. In the meantime, I thought I would show you the prototype of the project the 7th graders are working on in the school shop.

It's a birch shrink box:


Made from green birch, the box shrinks and clamps the bottom in place. The bottom is made the same way the top, or lid (see above) is made. There is a variation where the bottom is set into a carved groove around the inside of the body - much like a barrel. I haven't tried that way yet.


This was the first one I've made, and I experimented a bit. I beveled the joint between the bottom and the body, but left the top unbeveled. I also tried out some decorative flutes in the bark. The possibilities are endless.

Here's the box with the tool kit used to make it:


As a final note - as this box dried the bark came loose and I've since removed it. I'm not sure why this happened, as I have plenty of birch rounds that have dried without losing their bark. It may be that this particular birch was right on the edge of rotting - I remember thinking that it looked like it had been down for quite a while before I found it.

8 comments:

  1. Cool project. I wonder if the bark fell off because of the flutes? Or had you tried that before with success?

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    1. Jamie - Thanks! I don't think the flutes had much to do with it - of course I could be wrong about that...

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  2. Nice. I thinking of having the students do a box project soon also. We don't have abundant birch, but it is something o be looking for. Birch are an oft planted ornamental tree here, but they usually die off within 10 years because of the heat.

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    1. Thanks Steve. I usually think of these as traditional Scandinavian projects - and have always seen them done in birch, which makes sense - but I think you could use any type of wood. Come to think of it, I recall seeing some done in spruce...

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  3. If your birch was cut in the winter, the bark will generally stay on as the sap is not rising.

    If your birch was cut in the spring or summer, then the bark will generally fall off.

    Since it was downed material, you cannot really know which case you have. Birch rots really, really quickly in my experience here in New England. It goes from spalted with black stripes to a bag of wood fibers in a month or two.

    --Brian

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    1. Thanks for the info. Brian! Yeah, it rots really fast up here too - especially if the bark is still on.

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  4. I just found your blog. You have so many interesting projects here, i've got to read them all! :)

    Greetings from Finland!

    -Saara

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    1. Saara - Thanks - I'm glad you found it and are enjoying it! Feel free to comment or ask questions. I'm running a little slow just now, but I generally respond when I can.

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