WHY ARE PIRATES CALLED PIRATES?

Because they ARRRRRR!!!!

I’m sorry but it’s the only pirate joke I know. And as you’ll soon find out, this whole project is inspired by the naughty sea-scoundrels. That’s because my latest creation was designed for a pirate. If he’d been a cheesemonger, the jokes would be much better. But the box arguably wouldn’t be.

Earlier this year Thomas Clipper launched a new range of shaving accoutrements to complement their first-class razor range. The shaving bowls, soaps and brushes were snapped up rapidly by the Kickstarter community. As was the opportunity to own a very special kit that included a custom-made box to house it all in.

THE DESIGN

As I mentioned already, the inspiration for the design came from the end-customer who was described to me as “a sort of pirate”. That immediately got me thinking about treasure chests. So I started sketching some ideas of a traditional treasure chest shape with a curved lid and brass straps.

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THE MATERIALS

The Thomas Clipper bowl and brush are made from a 300-year old Horse Chestnut tree that fell in a storm a few years ago, so it made perfect sense to use the same material. Its irregular grain and pattern makes it really interesting for small turned pieces.

But making joints with it is a pain in the backside. It’s not very dense and can be quite fragile in hands as strong and powerful as mine (cough). After a few screaming fits and some adjustments to the joining techniques, I eventually got to grips with it.

The payoff came when finishing it with Treatex hardwax oil – the grain looked lovely and all the old knots made the box truly unique.

As you’ll see in the pictures there’s also strip of something very different built into the lid. I could tell you what it was, but I’d have to kill you. More on that in due course…

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THE PROCESS

Cutting the pieces was relatively straight-forward, though cutting the mitres by hand was a bit trickier.

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Creating the curved lid was the hardest part, with every slat having to be adjusted to match the next. Fiddly work.

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Finally, I assembled the whole thing with brass chest straps, corners, hinges and tiny screws.

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THE RESULT

As always, Thomas Clipper have done a great job with the photography, really doing the piece justice. And the pirate seems happy with his new treasure chest.

To hear me talk about this project and various other making-related subjects, download episode 4 of the Thomas Clipper ‘Coming Clean’ podcast (search Coming Clean in your podcast app). I’ve definitely got a voice for blogging.

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