Can you help me design a box? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question Can you help me design a box?

I know that sounds like a dumb title, but it's true! I want to build a large box that's good looking on the outside, AND the inside. It will be sort of "oval" shaped with a straight front and back, and the sides will be rounded, though not with a consistent radius. So here is where I get stumped... Front and back will be about 3' long, 20" high and straight, then I need to cleanly and strongly join this to a rounded/half egg shaped, (the pointed half of the egg), side. How do I elegantly create this transition while maintaining a strong secure joint? What do I use for this rounded section? I want to use cherry and I am thinking cherry plywood, but then I need to laminate the inner face with a cherry veneer, really stretching my skills with that one. Any ideas, tips, suggestions or comments? I've posted this question elsewhere in another forum, but no help yet, anybody here wanna have a go at it?

Thanks!

Jack


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Last edited by Jack Wilson; 01-07-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 10:34 PM
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Man I wish I could help "sorry Jack". I do a lot of reading on this site and i know a lot of answer to most questions, but don't have the time to reply. Reading yours project stumped me or i am to tired to think. Keep us posted on how you make out. Regards Joe
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack Wilson View Post
I know that sounds like a dumb title, but it's true! I want to build a large box that's good looking on the outside, AND the inside. It will be sort of "oval" shaped with a straight front and back, and the sides will be rounded, though not with a consistent radius. So here is where I get stumped... Front and back will be about 3' long, 20" high and straight, then I need to cleanly and strongly join this to a rounded/half egg shaped, (the pointed half of the egg), side. How do I elegantly create this transition while maintaining a strong secure joint? What do I use for this rounded section? I want to use cherry and I am thinking cherry plywood, but then I need to laminate the inner face with a cherry veneer, really stretching my skills with that one. Any ideas, tips, suggestions or comments? I've posted this question elsewhere in another forum, but no help yet, anybody here wanna have a go at it?

Thanks!
Jack,

Once I came back and read you post a second time, I thought that you could use a frame and panel style with the rails composed of bent laminated timbers?

As the radius changed you would need to draw and cut out a template for the bent laminations?

Do you have a vacuum bag?

James
Sydney, Australia
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Joe and James thanks for the replies. I wanted to send along a sketch but it takes me hours to draw, (CAD), simple stuff. Any ways, I wasn't as clear as I had hoped to be... the front and back will be solid cherry, only the sides will be ply of some kind. The box needs to be very strong as it will be handled and moved around so the union, or joint between the sides and the front/back needs to very secure, almost or maybe even a sliding dovetail. (good luck!) But maybe it's do-able? And repeatable, if it works I would like to make more of them. So you're thinking bending laminations, and I was thinking 3/4" cherry plywood with a lot of saw kerfs, and then a laminated inside face, given the two are you still inclined to recommend bending or another option altogether? And no, I don't have any type of vacuum press, no experience with that at all.

Jack


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose

If you cannot stand behind our troops, (and I understand, no judgement here), then please stand in front of them, remember, they're willing to stand in front of you!

Last edited by Jack Wilson; 01-08-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 10:40 AM
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If it is jointing the pieces together that is your problem,I have seen people make some jigs for their plate jointer that might work for you. I may not be getting the question your asking. So if my answer is not what you are looking for sorry.

A craftsman relies on science when the state of knowledge allows it, tradition and experience when it does not, and makes art whenever he can."
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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If it is jointing the pieces together that is your problem,I have seen people make some jigs for their plate jointer that might work for you. I may not be getting the question your asking. So if my answer is not what you are looking for sorry.
Actually its a combination of joinery, it needs to be VERY strong, and clean...as well as HOW do I make the ovaled sides, I am looking for an elegant solution to all the obstacles.

Jack


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If you cannot stand behind our troops, (and I understand, no judgement here), then please stand in front of them, remember, they're willing to stand in front of you!
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 12:06 PM
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Hi Jack.
Are the sides continuous in your design or do they have any styles to break it up around the box? How wide is your box (for the radiused ends)? How thick is the box ”? A quick sketch on a paper napkin would help. It doesn’t have to be pretty but will give an idea of what you are shooting for. If you laminate the kerfed ply the kerfs may show thru the lamination.

Without more info I would think a bent lamination would be one direction to go. It is time consuming & there are several ways to approach it. Here’s one example: You could make a form out of inexpensive ply. Cut top & bottom plates to match the shape of the box. The outside diameter of the form would be inside diameter of your box. Cut some 2x4’s or ” ply strips 18-1/2 ” to use as spreaders between your top & bottom plates flushing the outside edge of plates. This will give you a 20” spread (adjust for material thicknesses). Install enough around radius for a smooth transition with no flat spots. Use a piece of scrap to test.

Your first layer would be the inside face 1/8” cherry with good side against form. Rip pieces long enough to extend past ends of form. Next 4 pieces of 1/8” could be a cheaper ply or bendable ply (all cherry if it shows) gluing whole face (small thin paint roller to spread glue) between each layer & clamping each layer as you go. The last layer would be your outside of 1/8” cherry good side up. Each piece will be longer as you go. If the ends of your form have a good flat surface you could flush trim the layers when done for a straight cut. 6 layers of 1/8” will give you ” if that’s what you are looking for. If the radius is not that tight you could step up to a thicker ply maybe ” or 3/8” Or a combination to get required thickness of sides.

Details of the project might mean changes might have to be made to accommodate. If it is a tight radius you might consider attaching 1/8” or bendable ply against form first to help eliminate flat spots before applying first layer. Adjust plates of the form to accommodate for this when making them. If you use bendable ply it come in two ways. It will bend along the 4” width or the 8” length. You want your 20” rips to bend around form.

To make the plates you can make one then screw it to another piece of ply & cut close with jig saw or band saw & then flush trim the rest for an exact match. If you make four plates you can make two forms & be able to work both sides of the box at once. Nobody likes to wait for glue to dry. Use your first plate to make the other 3. This is only a suggestion of one way to approach your project. This same technique was used when I worked on the movie Swat in 2003. If you saw the movie the sewer tunnel were they walking thru was egged shaped & made from two different radius’s. The tunnel was a 100’ long & built on stage. I cut the radiused plywood ribs for each section with a skil saw mounted on a long trammel. The ” luan was applied to the inside radius to shape the tunnel in a form we built.
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Last edited by jlord; 01-08-2012 at 12:10 PM.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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James, my son helped me,(ok so he actually did all of it), draw a quick "sketchup" of the box, roughly. It will look something like this. Well I thought it would, I have tried twice to upload it but don't see it when I preview post. There it is! So, to answer a few questions, 3/4" or more, up to 5/4" for total thickness. I would like to see a perfectly smooth transition between front and sides, without a little bead to hide the joint, but that may not be possible. I would like the sides to be continuous. the box is about 24" wide, about... everything can be altered a little as necessary. Regarding laminations, can I bend, or steam, a 1"x6"x4' piece of cherry around an egg shape, or hemisphere? I would need to do several of them and then stack them.
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If you cannot stand behind our troops, (and I understand, no judgement here), then please stand in front of them, remember, they're willing to stand in front of you!

Last edited by Jack Wilson; 01-08-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:26 PM
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Not sure about steam bending something that thick for a radius of that size. I have no experience with that. Thinner solid material might work for that, then you could layer it. Maybe build a full size form since you want it without obstructions to hide joints & wrap the whole thing for your shape. Use ply or solid cherry strips & stagger joints as you work your way around. I would do the staggering of layers on the flat sides not on the radius. You might end up with a flat spot if you join on a radius. If you want the grain to run vertical as your picture you would have to use narrower panels run vertical all the way around. If you layer it with lamination's maybe run first layers horizontal & last layer vertical for grain matching. Since you want cherry I assume this is not a paint grade project which would be much more forgiving to build. You might be able to wrap it with ply & Bondo the joints so they are smooth then veneer the whole thing. There are a few ways to go about it. The only problem with using solid material is grain movement. You don't have that problem with ply.

James
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Have a nice & safe day!

Last edited by jlord; 01-08-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:39 PM
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I think steam bending of thin solid pieces, that you then form and laminate, is going to be your best approach for strength and longevity. But, I'd second the recommendation of leaving a flat section at each end for joinery purposes. Attempting that in the round would just complicate your life unnecessarily.
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