Have I mentioned how much I hate the straight lines, boxes and squares that fill our lives? I’ll not go there. Mention a box, and I think of a cube or rectilinear form. The Shakers, though, in their infinite good taste and sensibility made their boxes in lovely ovals.
For Christmas this year no one told me were weren’t making the gifts again this year. (I like to think they didn’t tell me that detail on purpose.) So I made a couple stacks of Shaker boxes.
Once set up with the bending and drying forms, these are pretty quick and easy to make. I bought the materials and plans from John Wilson in Michigan. I built one size 2 box as a test, then built the eleven boxes, size 0 through 5 shown in the first photo. Nora and Isaac helped with some of the bending and tacking. For the bending I just soaked the bands in hot water in our bath tub for about twenty minutes. I’d start and end with a pot of boiling water from the stove. I had only one failure, and that one was probably just because I wasn’t being careful – it was a late night.
The second photo is of the second through seventh boxes I made. I was more careful to line up the fingers on the second stack. I think it adds a little to not have them look all snaggle-toothed when stacked up like that. These were finished with one coat of clear brushed-on shellac and one coat of very light colored (“neutral” iirc) Liberon paste wax.
I just noticed while posting this, that the top two boxes in the right stack are darker than the others. Those were assembled several days before the others, and I set them on a table in front of our northwest-facing sliding glass door for a day or so. It looks like even through glass, the sun has advanced the darkening process of the cherry.