Jan 6, 2014

Custom Cherry Sewing Box

Do you remember when I posted pictures from the 2013 Southland Flywheelers Fall Event where I demonstrated apple head dolls?  I included pictures of some of the other demonstrations including the work of my friend Master Cabinet Maker Chris Lang, with special attention to a sewing box he was working on.

Well as I mentioned /gloated in that post, that sewing box was for me.  It was to be the bartered payment for making his adorable daughter a set of civil war era clothing.  When I posted about it before, it wasn't finished yet, and looked like this:

Well, I stopped by to see Chris and his family, the other day, and look what he had sitting under his Christmas tree waiting for me:

Isn't it gorgeous!  

Do you see those hand cut dove tail joints.  I am so lucky to have friends this talented.  This lovely cherry sewing box was custom made for me entirely by hand, so it is one of a kind.  

The beautiful design on top, is marquetry.  It's not your run of the mill mass produced laser cut or painted on image.  Nope!  Each petal, stem, and leaf was painstakingly cut by hand from thin veneers of mahogany and holly wood.  Then shading was added in a process called sand shading where the individual pieces were partially dipped into hot sand.  The sand being hot enough to scorch or "shade" the wood creating the look of shadows.  Finally the pieces were assembled and glued into place.  

As if this example isn't testament enough, let me take a moment to brag about Mr. Lang.  He trained in Williamsburg, VA. 

As in Historic Williamsburg, VA! 

He's been on TV, appearing on the Woodwright's Shop  to demonstrate what else, but marquetry.  (season 9 episode 13 entitled - "Marquetry: Painting with Wood" if your curious.   You can view a clip of it and see a much younger Chris in action here).  

He's worked as a curator, taught woodworking, demonstrated at more events than I can name, he's been a stay at home dad, and still does custom work, appraisals, lectures and restoration projects.  Calling him talented is like calling a navy seal team somewhat trained, so to have something made by him specifically for me is beyond awesome!  I definitely got the better end of the barter, but don't tell him I said so.

Back to the box.  Inside is a tray to hold my bits and bobs.  Chris let me custom design the layout of the tray to fit my existing tools and kept the dividers removable as I requested.  

Underneath is plenty of room for storage.  

He also turned a darning egg for me as a bonus.

Plus there is an  insert piece which goes in the top.  He left it unfinished so I can cover it to my liking.   So cool!

 I have a tiny sewing kit I DIY'd, from a cheap craft store box, many years ago with a similar insert.  covered in embroidered linen.  

My old sewing kit doesn't begin to compare to my new sewing box.  I like that the old can fit inside the new with room to spare.

In the future, I plan on covering the inside in velvet or silk.  I'll also line the tray and cover the top insert possibly adding loops to hold more frequently used or easily lost tools.  I also want to make a fancy pin cushion to go with it.  Of course, I'll be sure to post my progress and may even include a few tutorials.

Now if I could just decide on a fabric.......

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