Friday, 29 August 2014

Making the new Great Box

photo by Geoff Horner
The Great Box Project is well underway! The box has been made and shipped to Oxford.

The Great Box is very large (1040mm long x 610mm wide and 710mm high), so finding the right plank was crucial. This is from an ancient tree, worked in traditional ways in a modern carving shed on Haida Gwaii. Here Jaalen Edenshaw, one of the carvers, assesses the planed wood and measures it to match it with the dimensions of the historic box at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Several months ago, we sent 1:1 scale photographs of the historic box to Gwaai and Jaalen along with technical drawings and detailed measurements so that they could begin to think through the project and find the right wood for it.

drawing by Madeleine Ding, Pitt Rivers Museum

Grooves or kerfs are then cut across the board, and then steamed until the cedar becomes pliable and can be bent. The photo below shows Jaalen steaming one kerf, with another kerf in the foreground.
photo by Geoff Horner

This produces a beautifully tight and economical corner:

photo by Geoff Horner

The box begins to take shape:

photo by Geoff Horner

It’s a big box though: how will it get to Oxford?

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