David Gillard – Grain Matched Lidded Box

Club Meeting: 5 May 2023
Report by: Kevin De Freitas

Often, we have a well-defined and elaborate grain in a piece of wood and want to retain as much as possible at the joint of a lidded box. The problem can be matching the grain when a large section is removed to accommodate the tenon. Dave shows us a method that requires minimal loss, giving the best possible matched grain between the lid and body of the box.

This process was developed from watching various demos on YouTube and adapting ideas to come up with this process. This is a common approach for Dave as he needs to develop faster approaches for production turning.

Dave started with his blank mounted between centres and made it round at 2000 rpm. He then turns a 5mm spigot on each end.

From the 70mm blank, Dave is aiming for a box 60mm high and to part off for the lid at 42mm.

Use a thin parting tool – as thin as possible is the key to losing as little wood as possible. A thick blade (e.g. power hacksaw blade or similar) can be modified into a parting tool.

As you part off, ensure to leave enough room so the parting tool does not rub on the sides and generate excessive heat. To do this Dave moved the parting tool side to side as he cut into the wood. This created a gap that was wider than the tool.

Mount the body (larger piece) in a 50mm chuck.

Drill a hole (or hollow) 10mm deep.

Using another piece of wood (preferably darker in colour), turn an insert that fits snugly into the hole. This insert should protrude the required distance to form the tenon for the main body of the box. Glue the insert in place with CA glue ensuring good glue contact around the rim.

Fit the lid in a 50mm chuck and turn a mortice that fits the tenon with some friction. Hollow and finish the inside of the lid. Ensure that the hollowed depth leaves enough material to shape the outside of the lid.

Mount the body in the chuck and fit the lid and hold in place with the tailstock.

Turn and shape the outside of the box. Tape the lid on and finish shaping it while continuing to support it with the tail stock.

Remove the lid and hollow out the inside of the main body. If thinning the walls, ensure that the tenon is left fully intact by rolling over the edge after the join.

Reduce the tenon slightly so it is no longer a friction fit.

Turn and finish the bottom using a jam chuck or similar.