A Box Called "Necessessity"

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A Box Called "Necessessity"

Postby flairwoodworks » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:58 am

The purpose of this piece is to encourage us to examine the use of precision instruments in woodworking, a field where they have historically been absent.

***PICTURE: http://tinyurl.com/2a9xw5c

To me, precision measuring tools have limited value. In my opinion, they are overused and their extreme accuracy is enough to make one obsessive about the most minute and inconsequential details. To poke fun at this phenomenon (and put my dial indicator to "good" use) I came up with this conceptual piece. Without the measuring instrument, it is a simple drawer - a place to store things conveniently, yet out of sight at the same time. But I incorporated a measuring instrument, in this case, a dial indicator into the design. It translates the lateral movement, or play, in the drawer into numeric values on the indicator's dial which has markings representing every 0.001" of travel witnessed by the gauge head. In short, it answers the question: "how well is the drawer fitted to it's opening?" I know that I don't need numbers to tell if a drawer fits well or not. I suspect you don't either. I invite you to join me in taking a step away from our precision measuring instruments and ask: "Is this really necessary?"

PICTURE: http://tinyurl.com/2eoz5kj

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***PICTURE: http://tinyurl.com/22th42e

I knew that I wanted the piece to reflect the sharp, clean, industrial look of the dial indicator. I chose teak (or at least, I think it's teak) and holly. The vivid colours and grain of teak contrast well with the off-white, understated grain of holly. I used through dovetails and tenons to construct the case; I used half-blind dovetails and through tenons for the drawer with a groove for the bottom. I turned a tenon on the end of the knob and glued it into a hole bored in the face of the drawer. Because it's what I enjoy, and also happened to be the quickest way, all the details including the joinery and angled block were executed using hand tools. To ensure that the long hand of the dial indicator would rest in the 12 o'clock position, I secured the angled block with a pair of screws through a slotted hole in the base.

***PICTURE: http://tinyurl.com/26rutrd

I hope that you find the ideas presented here interesting and stimulating - I know that I do. I would like to add any comments onto my blog (anonymously) as well. Please let me know if you would rather I not post your response on my blog.

***PICTURE: http://tinyurl.com/28qfuyk

I wrote a LOT more text about this piece, including the ideas that drove me and why I built it the way I built it. What you see here are the highlights. You can find the rest on my blog
http://flairwoodwork.spaces.live.com/bl ... 1091.entry

This is the second piece in this series. The first piece is called A Box Called "Tolerences".

NOTE: I am still unable to post pictures, but figured out that by simply pasting a URL, it works as a link without clicking the URL button, which seems to make nothing appear.
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:47 am

Postby rwest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:51 pm


You have out done yourself on this box!


I myself just love all things precision; dial gauges, micrometers, micro adjusters, etc. Of course they can be overkill in wood working, but I think this is more a function of one being a slave to the numbers rather than the master. I read the value and then decide if it is within the tolerance I need for the job. I had a interesting experience of dial gauges added to a tool, not to achieve perfection, but to limit it! I bought a bicycle wheel trueing stand from Park Tools, it was fairly expensive and made of cast aluminum and had two dial gauges; one for radial run out, the other for lateral. I bought it because I wanted to get my wheels perfect, but when I read the manual, it stated that the stand with gauges was intended for a production setting, so the shop owner could specify a tolerance for each price point and the tech would true the wheel until the value was reached and then they were done, versus a guy spending forever to reach perfection while burning up all the profit!

Thanks for showing us this, did you build it for a customer, or for yourself? You'll have a happy customer if that's the case.

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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:59 pm

Postby flairwoodworks » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:22 pm


"the tech would true the wheel until the value was reached and then they were done, versus a guy spending forever to reach perfection while burning up all the profit!"

I think that there is a message somewhere in that story for woodworkers. But at what degree do we stop? I know how easy it is to keep working on something until it is darn near perfect and it seems to work against profits. Somewhere there is a happy medium where quality and budget are both maintained.

This box is for myself... but if an interested buyer surfaces, I will have to do some heavy thinking to come up with a price!

What do you think of the teak/holly knob on the drawer? Would you have chose holly with a teak insert?

EDIT: Oh, thank you for using your masterful computer skills to add one of my photos to this thread.
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:47 am

Re: A Box Called "Necessessity"

Postby masoncarl94@gmail.com » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:15 am

good one
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:11 am

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