Wow, the first update of 2019. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, New Years and all the other holidays, whether Merry or Happy. it’s all good. It was nice for me, a few rather quiet days, visit with family, see some friends and even got out to a local art museum I’d never been too. Played a bunch of Hitman 2 (yeah, I’ve been a gamer for a loooong time), drank a bunch and ate a lot of cheese.
With the break over, it was time to get back to work. Well, actually I was working just before Christmas too. I had wanted to make a set of simple puzzle boxes as gifts. I started these on the Saturday before Christmas. That gave me 3 whole days, piece of cake. Well, the initial construction was easy, small mitered box, grooves for top and bottom, no big deal. But I wanted to locking system to require rocking the box in multiple directions to open it and what seemed simple turned out very finicky. Monday morning I know I wouldn’t make it. So I had to stop that and switch to some fast CNC carved signs. I got a bit creative with pictures for nieces and a friend, did my usual mask, carve, paint and finish all before about 2 PM on Monday the 24th. Then with spray lacquer still drying, put them in the car and headed to see my family. They came out great and everyone loved them. Sometimes our plans are bigger than our available time, eh? Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry I didn’t take pictures of the signs - doh!
I did finish the boxes several days later, opting for a more simpler mechanic to open them. Wiped on some Danish oil and set them aside to dry. Now I’m nearly done for next Christmas, I guess. Still need to wipe some poly on after the oil cures, but that can happen anytime.
Then it was time to switch back to the engagement box. I wanted to add some decorative hearts to the inside of the lid, so I hand cut a bit of stencil mask, stuck it down and painted them. After that, it was time to steady myself, meditate, calm my nerves, practice steady breathing, etc. Why? Because I had to chisel two holes into the finished box so the top would have something for the locks to latch into and then drill through the sides for the tops pivot pins. So, yeah, I was about to cut holes in a perfectly good box. The side latch areas went smoothly, I just laid them out using my prototype, then carefully chiseled the areas out, taking just a bit at a time. I’d work the chisel around the edges, then chisel a file lines across and pop out the bit. Repeat this till I hit the depth I wanted. It was nerve wracking but went perfectly. Drilling the holes for the hinge pins went well too. I put a bit of tape on the sides so I could mark out the drill point, put a little tape flag on my drill bit to control depth and then just held the hand drill as straight and level as possible (it was too tall for my drill press). Went fine as well, the top pivots smoothly and locks and unlocks nicely. The top also got it’s coats of oil so it will wait a few days for it to cure then get some poly.
The engagement box will be done soon then. I’ll do some heavy use testing, make sure everything works perfectly. Then I’ll give it a nice photo opp, shoot some video and send it on it’s way. I’ll miss the little fella, it’s been a real part of my life this last year and a half.
I’ve got a sign to make now. Plus I have an old set of partially done puzzle boxes I’d like to unearth. I’d really like to get going on some new designs too. I have stock milled up for another set of boxes which I need to figure our the puzzles and locks and mechanisms for. So I’ll be keeping busy.
In the puzzling world I have a copy of The Conjurer’s Almanaq which is a kickstarter puzzle book. It shipped just before Christmas. I must say, I’m apparently better at creating puzzles than I am at solving them. I’m still on the first chapter and pretty well stumped. This is a puzzle hunt book, so you first have to find the puzzle, then solve it. Pretty sure I found the puzzle but a half dozen different solution attempts didn’t turn up anything that seemed right. Guess I’ll just keep working at it. It’s fun to try and I’m under no time pressure to solve it, that’s for sure.
Until next week, stay dusty!