The Mah Jong box is finished!

Well, the sawcut veneering didn’t work very well, but I’ll try again on another project now I’ve found out what was really messing things up. It turned out that my planer-thicknesser table wasn’t perfectly in line with the blades, and I think it probably came like that from the factory because this Mah Jong project was the first job to show up the problem so markedly. Didn’t think to check, an ass was made out of me. A call to the technical department of my favourite shop gave me some pointers and I turned the thing upside down and figured out the rest, so it’s now giving me nice flat boards.

Meanwhile, here’s the finished box, finally!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA I should point out right away that the most impressive thing about this box, the inlays of the West and East Wind characters, was done by master luthier and all-round good guy Cabell Fearn on his roborouter in sunny Stuttgart. We took the characters from photos of the eponymous tiles, and Cab vectorised them for the CNC machine. The main body of the box is sapele, which I had to edge-glue in sections because it insisted on moving out of straight when I cut it thin enough to use. The pale wood is from a friend’s walnut tree which she very kindly donated in exchange for helping to pay for felling it. I was wondering what to do about fastening the doors. Any decent brass fittings were ridiculously expensive and mostly made in the US or Australia, but the client came up with the wooden peg idea which sets it off beautifully and also provides a good doorknob on each door.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe left hand door is held in place with magnets, the right hand door by the peg. Inside is a top section for the six trays, holding the tiles, instructions and other paraphernalia. The racks go underneath.The hinge rebates I did with my Leigh dovetail jig – maybe not an original idea, but original for me and I was very proud of having thought of it. The plinth was shaped on the router table, and mitred with the table saw. I made the racks from iroko and oak, with a plywood core because, again, the solid iroko didn’t stay straight.  You can just see the East and West wind tiles in the foreground.

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