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Knife set - more testing of box designs - part 2

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:52 AM, March 1, 2012 [Permalink]

After getting the tools 'improved' the other day, with the new feather boards, etc., I spent the day yesterday making another prototype for the box for the knife/chisel set. The first model, a few weeks ago, was kind of prosaic and nothing special, not to mention that the method of storing the booklet that I want to include was kind of clunky.

So - taking that initial box as a starting point - I built Mark II this time:

It uses the same wooden pin hinge system, but this time the hinge is brought forward partway along the top:

So when you open it up, the top rests against the support ...

... and stands at a convenient angle. (Tools inside are still a random selection of my own stuff ...)

The top is thinned down from the previous bulky model, and now has a more smoothly integrated slim-line pocket for the explanatory booklet:

Which slides in/out easily. No chance to lose it, really. (I've started to write the booklet contents; it will have an overview of the what/why/how of these tools, a more detailed description of each one, and of course information on how to care for the set, including specific sharpening instructions for each type.)

Here's the growing collection of samples. I made two of this model (not much extra work to make two rather than one ...) so that I could send one to Sato-san for inspection and comment. Next to that is the previous Mark I, now beginning to become a bit toned - this paulownia wood is very bare when freshly cut ...

Behind that is the sample box we picked up from the box making company in Asakusa the other day, on our way back into town from the visit to the lumber market. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but I visited them last month and asked them to run up a sample for us. It took suspiciously long - over three weeks. I say 'suspicious' because it makes me suspect that instead of making it in their own workshop they had it done by a partner company in China ...

It has a simple sliding top ...

They haven't been too careful with the design - the slots in the sides in which the top runs have been run straight out the back, and then plugged with a chip of wood. This is another tell-tale sign of Chinese work - sloppy design made up for by the extra application of (cheap) labour.

And if we needed it, here's the final proof of the provenance of this thing - look at the finger notch for opening it:

And this from a company that proudly proclaims on their storefront - "Making boxes for the people of Tokyo for more than a hundred years ..." etc. etc.

Anyway, we've already pretty much decided to make these ourselves, so none of that matters much ...

But now that I have this Mark II in my hands, I can see an obvious way that it can be greatly improved, with only minimal extra effort, and no extra materials cost. (Why is it so difficult to jump directly to the final design, no matter how carefully you think and plan?) But that will have to wait for a couple of days, because I'm going to sign off here on Mokuhankan Conversations for the weekend. If all goes well, we'll see a post over on the Woodblock RoundTable showing the start of work on the first print of the new 'Arts of Japan' series ...

(And speaking of the Arts series reminds me that I received a kind of disturbing email yesterday, from a Mystique series collector who was trying to sign up for the new set, but who couldn't, because her browser wouldn't display the new website properly. After we investigated a bit, it turned out that she was running a pretty old system, and my 'latest technology' HTML coding wasn't working for her. So I added another set of visible links to the front page, she was thus able to find the subscription page, and she's now a happy subscriber. But I wonder how many other people ran into a similar problem, but just shrugged and wandered off, instead of writing to me ...?!)




Added by: Barbara Mason on March 1, 2012 11:41 PM

I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this

Added by: Lana Lambert on March 2, 2012 12:29 PM

I really love your design with the pin hinge top. I have a set in a paulownia box that is nice. I tucked a scrap of used etching press felt under the blades where they rest to keep them from rattling around in transport. The lid lifts on and off but oh, wouldn't it be nice to have one that lifts back like yours! Great work, Dave!

Added by: Julio Rodriguez on March 8, 2012 7:17 AM

I too use an old browser at work and could not see the HOME page for the project(all I get is the illustration on top but no buttons), the other pages are ok and I was able to skip around till I found the subscription page ;)


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