I was looking at some photos of bandsaw boxes when I noticed that on one,
the joins where the different pieces were re-glued back together, seemed to
have a neat black line between the two pieces. It gave it a nice hi-lite on
the join rather than trying to hide it. How is this done?
I remember seeing something similar on boat decking where there was a black
line between the boards that made up the deck.
If it's net and deliberate, usually a black-tinted filled epoxy.
There are a few glues that will give a black line anyway (just look at
some plywood) but to give a deliberate one, epoxy is the favourite.
You can fill it and colour it (artist's acrylics) without distrubing
the glue strength.
What Andy said re the boxes. The black lines between boat planking are
different. Instead of attempting to create a perfect edge butt joint
between two planks, the edges are planed on a slight bevel, so that when the
two planks are fixed to the frames, an open Vee-shaped joint runs the full
length of the planks. This is then sealed by caulking the joint by driving
in oakum (dunno what the modern equivalent is - the old boys used to use
worn-out ropes which were cut to convenient lengths then teased out) with a
hammer and a wide blunt chisel (caulking iron).
To stop the caulking working out and to seal things, a layer of pitch or tar
was run along the joint after caulking, which is what gives you the black
line between planks.
The whole purpose of the system was to allow the planks to work as the ship
flexed with the wind and waves, but to keep water out at the same time.
You'll get a much more detailed and erudite explanation if you take a look
at Dave Fleming's website.
Even if you're not that interested in caulking, it's a terrific read about
the life and times of a traditional boat-builder. I just wish said
boat-builder would get off his semi-retired boat-building butt and write a
few more tales - you listening, Dave?
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I'm not sure about the bandsaw box you described, but a typical teak
boat deck would be installed much like a regular outdoor patio deck
where you use a small spacer between the boards. The space is then
filled (on a boat that is) with a polysulfide caulk which is usually
Do you have a link to a picture of the box you're talking about?
The picture is in a book called the Art of Making Elegant Jewelry Boxes
written by Tony Lydgate.
(Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, New York)
Pg 55 is a picture of a Bristlecone Pine Box by Paul & Cinda Brimhall of
The curved drawers shown are re-glued with the black filling in the joins.
Because the joins are both straight angles and curved I think the black
caulking seems like the answer. It looks very neat and intentional.
Also it's a great book anyway.
It sounds like you're describing this:
It's a wedged tenon. The mortise flares out and the tenon is split
down the middle. Then a wedge of dark contrasting wood, like ebony,
is hammered and glued in the slot cut in the tenon. Then flush cut
In addition to the other methods posted there is a much more difficult
way to achieve a similar effect, as with dovetail joints.
For routed dovetails this can be done like this:
You make one side of the joint, say the tail side, and then make a
mating piece of a contrasting wood as a stub, just long enough to
hold the pins. Glue that together, trim off the excess of the stub
and then route new tails inside of the pins using a smaller dovetail
bit and match that to the final pinboard.
I've seen boxes at woodworking shows that were done that way to
show the capabilities of fancy router jigs.
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