Book Box

I have long admired the book boxes made by Jögge Sundqvist. I had started to write him a letter to ask about techniques when I noticed that he was scheduled to teach book box class at the Maine Coast Craft School. I immediately signed up to take the class and shortly found myself traveling up to Maine to spend a week with Jögge learning about the tradition and craft of creating these vessels.

The process starts out by splitting a freshly sawn log and roughing out the shape of the box with an axe and froe. From there, the center of the box was hogged out using a T-handle auger, being careful to drill the holes straight and not make the walls of the box too thin.

Next, using gouge, knife, and chisel the shape of the box is refined. A grove is carved in the bottom of the box using a knife, where a kiln-dried bottom is fitted to the base. As the piece dries the two pieces of wood lock together. Because this was a week long course we used an oven to speed up this process. A few of the boxes got a little more toasted than others depending on where in the over they were positioned. The last part was to carve a sliding tapered dovetail for the lid to slot into and then finally it was time for the decorative carving and painting.