My newest and most challenging jewelry box ever will be this this one, ‘The Giant Clam’. I chose to work on the lid first because it seemed like the most challenging part. I knew I wanted to make the lid segmented for reasons of both aesthetics and wood movement/stability. The lid will be 18″ long by 9″ wide. Since I didn’t have much in the way of 9″ wide lumber, I decided to glue up three 3″ wide boards to get the 9″ panel width (this also added more of a segmented look to the lid and its really pretty). The photo of the rosewood lid above doesn’t do it justice. Wait till you see the finished box!
Cutting the pieces of the pie went fairly straightforward. I knew coming off the miter saw that I would get some burning and slight inaccuracies, so I set up my edge sander with a fence stop and cleaned up the pieces of the pie. I put 4 pieces together and used a 90 degree square to check for accuracy.
Next came the glue up. Originally I thought I would glue all 8 pieces at once to make the half circle, but I found it difficult to clamp the pieces in perfect alignment. I decided to glue up 4 pieces at a time and that worked great! Then it was easy to glue together the two 4-piece sections to make the one 8-piece lid panel. Gorilla (polyurethane) worked out great for the rosewood and Critical Bond worked great for the maple.
Sanding the lid flat was a piece of cake with my 16″ wide belt sander. I sanded both sides with 60 grit and only the bottom with 100 grit. The lid will be sanded again on the bottom, after it is carved, to 180 grit. From experience, I know the lid will move a little bit after it is carved and allowed to sit a day or two, so sanding again will be necessary.
The next step was to carve the clam relief with my Shopbot. In order to hold the lid panel down I created a custom vacuum pod that runs off my air compressor. Originally I thought I could use a 3/8″ bit for this, but the detail wasn’t coming out in the part where the rays come together at the back center of the lid. I switched to an 1/8″ bit. It took three times as long to carve, but it looked great.
More will be coming with this jewelry box. What are your thoughts?