Procrastination 101

Procrastination. The double-edged sword that is the bane of many students’ existence. Unfortunately to a woodworker, making a trinket (and then blogging about it) is infinitely more appealing than studying for a chemistry exam. Here’s a cool knick-knack that looks complex but requires only basic know-how and tools.

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Taking Forstner bits of 3 diameters to a drill press and a perfect cube, you can create the illusion of having nested cubes (or even suspend one in the middle and dazzle your friends even more). Start with a bit about 1/4″ less than the edge of your cube. Mark the center of each face of the cube to use to center the Forstner bit. It takes some playing around, but test two adjecent sides slowly plunging the but deeper until a small arc is revealed in the overlap. Be careful to not go so deep as to pass the diagonals going through the cube, severing the inner cube from the outer cube. Set your final depth on the crank to keep it constant for all 6 faces.

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By now you should have a cube within a cube. Choose your next bit about 1/4″ smaller than dimension of the new cube and repeat the above steps. Use the divet created by the first bit to center the second. Now you will have a cube within a cube within a cube. You can either call it quits now or hollow this cube out with another Forstner bit. Or for the courageous, continue nesting!

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To suspend the center cube, carefully drill with your second bit to the point that the new corners nearly come to points. It needs to be strong enough to hold the piece in place until the sixth face has been finished, but weak enough that you can break it free with your fingers. It is easiest to creep up on this slowly. If you choose to have a hollow suspended cube, be sure to hollow first, disconnect second.

A few words of caution. Hardwoods, like cherry and oak, tend to split on the two faces with endgrain. Either start drilling on these faces or avoid these woods altogether. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your piece shatter on the penultimate step. These three cubes were accompanied by as many failures. Happy woodworking!

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