This is a little box—just 5 in. long and 1 3/4 in. wide—but it's big in terms of developing my design aesthetic. The body of the box is fairly standard for me. The lid is a whole other story. The pull, I'm sure, is the most obvious change for me. I've always done very simple pulls for boxes like this. Just a thin piece of wood glued to the top. This box is sporting a cherry pull elevated on little feet or stands that are painted with marigold yellow milk paint.
I like this box. It's sitting here with me at the desk, and it's more charming in person that it is in these photos. And it's convinced me to explore pull styles for my boxes. I have several designs in mind. The really challenge is making them, because they're so small.
A less obvious deviation from my established design aesthetic is the cocobolo lid. First, I've only used cocobolo for something other than a pull once before. (I used it for the center drawer front on a bow front cabinet I made for Fine Woodworking that was featured on the cover.) Exotics, I think, are too strong and dominate to be used for anything other than an accent. But this lid is causing me to rethink the role they can play in my furniture. When I was making this box, I really wasn't thinking cocobolo for the lid, but I stumbled across this piece in my box of cocobolo and ebony. It has strong, straight grain that's scaled perfectly for this box's proportions. And it had one face that was still rough from bandsawing (click on the picture above to see this in better detail). I though the rough surface would look cool, so I left it. I stole this idea from a box that Mike Pekovich made a few years ago. I'm certain to use it again.
This pull is an exercise in details. So, too, is the inside of the box. There's a wonderful little pitch pocket in the corner of the bottom that is visible when you take the top off. It creates just enough irregularity and breaks up the clean, straight grain of the cherry in a very nice way. When I'm picking wood to make a box, I'm always looking for straight grain with little spots of pitch, or curl, or a pin knot. Clean with some character. That's the ideal wood for me. Also, always pay attention to the details. Thoughtful, good design begins with the overarching themes, but ends with the details. If you forget them, then you haven't finished the design job. (That's how I think about it at any rate.)
On to the random thoughts.
I love furniture design, and smart techniques. This blog is about both.