söndag 9 oktober 2016

A box for a painted glass

As you may have noticed I don't only do textile crafts. In May, for instance I painted two glasses for the baron and baroness of Gotvik (currently me and a friend) based on medieval examples. Glasses were of course usually kept in chests or cupboards, but when nice glasses were taken along on travels, they usually had boxes to protect them. These could be made for example from cuir bouilli (boiled leather), or from wood. I would really like to make shaped cases for my glasses from cuir bouilli, but I have never worked with that, so I settled for wood for these boxes. Or, to be more precise: 1,5 mm plywood. Which isn't period of course, but very strong for its thickness, and reasonably easy to get hold of.

Painted wooden boxes are of course very period and I've wanted to make some for a while based on preserved medieval examples. I've painted boxes before, but they were finished boxes that I had bought, this is the first box that I have built.

In this desire I have collected lots of images of painted medieval boxes, here are some:

Box for crossbow bolts, 15th century

Box to hold the treaty of Calais, 1360

German box for game pieces, 14th century

German box, ca 1300

German box, first half of the 14th century

German box for game pieces, ca 1300

Painted wood box, Southern France, 13th century

Here's my pinterest collection of medeival boxes.

Making the boxes

First i put the glass upside down on the plywood and drew around it. This circle was used to draw an octagon. The sides are eight straight peices of plywood. I cut the plywood with a hobby knife and sanded the pieces before glueing them together. I used contact glue to start with, because it sticks instantly (if you've let it dry for 5-10 minutes before pressing together). After they had hardened for a day I added PVA glue, which is stronger in the long run. It also filled up any small cracks where the sides weren't meeting exactly.

I also glued a narrow strip of wood to the sides, where the hinges and clasp would be later.

I used hobby paint and some gouache paints to decorate the box with symbols of the Barony of Gotvik. Inspiration was obviously taken from the preserved boxes shown above, but in a different colour scheme.

First I had intended to line the box with blue velvet, to make it soft and a little cushioning for the glass.

However, while I could press the glass into the box it was extremly tight and tended to rub off the paint from the top of the glass, despite the paint being hardened in the oven, varnished, and then hardened again!

So, I removed the velvet, and spent a lot of time removing remnants of velvet and contact glue (it wasn't as smooth as before even after hour of this) before painting the inside of the box. The glass will be pretty secure even without the velvet, since the box is snug; and because it's a strong beer glass. When I make the next box (when I have got hold of more plywood) I will just paint if of course.
Eventually I will make boxes for my family's historical glasses too, and then I will make them big enough to add a fabric lining. But those glasses are thinner and might need it.

Anyway, here are some more photos of the box, and the glass in it.

Hinges on the back

Standing box

Open, lying down

Another standing photo.

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