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Round Domed Fretwork Box

The Spring 2012 issue of Scroll Saw magazine has a pattern titled Domed Lid Box.


I used the table saw to split a standard 3/4" thick oak board into halves. I then used blue painter's masking tape to secure the blanks. I used white Elmer's glue to attach the paper pattern to the blue tape.


 After completing the scroll saw work, I glued up the lid. In the magazine article, it said they used a disc sander to form the dome on the lid.  I don't know how you make a consistent geometry dome holding a piece and moving it by hand. I decided to deviate the process.

My process was to glue up the fretwork lid, the spacer that goes below it, a piece of cardboard, and then a scrap piece of 3/4" pine. I will use the lathe to make the dome versus a sanding disc.

The only risk is that the lathe gouge tool will break off some fragile pieces when turning the dome. I will just have to try it and see. Below is the blank glued up and clamped:



 The next step was to sand the lid to the pattern line using a drill press drum sander. On previous projects, I learned that you can make a very accurate circle this way.



 Next step was to invert my lathe chuck jaws to get them large enough. Remember to match the jaw number to their location.

 On the 1st lid, I did get a little bit of tear-out of a fragile piece. On the 2nd piece, I did not make the dome as deep and I did not have any tear-out. After sanding in the lathe, I applied the 1st coat of varnish:


 Now that the lids were done for a while, I started making the round portion of the box height.  I bought 1.75" thick maple from Rockler versus gluing up several pieces of 3/4" thick maple.  I did not want to see the glue joints on the side of the boxes. 

I also decided the original magazine design was not the best. I did not like the 3/16" thick plywood showing when you looked at the box from the side view. I decided to put a groove in the bottom of the side piece, to hide the plywood bottom. I used the lathe to make the groove.

 I then used the scroll saw to saw out the 1.75 inch high and 4.75 inch OD portion of the box.  It turns out that 1.75" is the max thickness my scroll saw will saw. The magazine article suggested using a #9 blade to saw this thick wood. I only had a choice of #3 or #5 blades, so I chose #5.  I broke 2 blades sawing out 2 blanks.

 On the first blank, I sawed the OD using my big Sears band saw. This cuts faster than the scroll saw, but leaves black burn marks that must be sanded out. The scroll saw only leaves mild burn marks.  On #2 piece, I used the scroll saw on both the ID and OD cuts to cut down on OD sanding.

On the 2nd piece, I had difficulty removing the ID piece from the blank.  My blade either wasn't perpendicular to the table or the blade got hot during cutting and did not cut straight. By sanding the OD of the ID piece on the drum sander, I was finally able to remove the ID piece without splitting the OD. 

 I used my drill press sanding drum to sand the IDs and ODs.  Then I went to the lathe:



 I used the lathe to cut the groove for the bottom 3/16" thick and to sand the ID and OD.  I checked the OD size against the lid OD to make sure it was close to the same OD.

 Here are the completed lid blanks and box sides ready for varnishing. I did three rounds of 220 grit then polyurethane on them.

 On the lids, I left the scrap piece of pine and cardboard glued up to the oak I could quickly chuck in the lathe and sand the 200 grit. On the box sides, I applied minimum chuck jaw pressure when sanding to prevent marks on the OD from the chuck jaws.

Now I split the cardboard on the lid blanks using a carpet knife. First I went around the OD of the blank with the carpet knife, then I used a screwdriver to pry them apart. I used the belt sander upside down in the vise to remove the cardboard from the oak lids.




I then marked the lid retainer pieces using the ID of the box side, and marked the round bottoms using the ID of the box side. I made these pieces from 1/4" oak plywood. I then glued them up. I had to use the Dremel small drum sander in the drill press to fine-tune the OD of the lid retainers to get good fits.

 And here are the finished round domed jewelry boxes:




Closing Thoughts

 The 2 round domed boxes really turned out nicely. Remember to be careful and remove minimum depth when turning the dome on the lathe because too deep will cause tearing out of small pieces on the scroll saw pattern.


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