I wrote about shrink boxes in this post a few months back. What I call shrink tubes are just long skinny shrink boxes. The nature of their shape means it is nearly impossible to reach into the interior and reshape things with a knife, but you don’t have to. Just bore a hole and leave it alone.
For the cherry shrink tube above, I bored the hole with a two inch diameter T-handle auger. It is about 12 1/2″ long. I carved a lid for this one, with a lace that can secure the lid or slide above it to be slung over a shoulder. Sure to become very trendy among fashionistas. This was sort of a prototype, and I think I can simplify things a bit on future designs.
These are great canvases for some lettering and decoration. On this one, I carved the Latin phrase solvitur ambulando — “It is solved by walking.” As seen in the slideshow below, I had some fun with a walking person design and on the bottom as well.
I think my favorite projects with these shrink tubes are pencil cases. These are very kid-friendly projects as well. Imagine a kid picking a branch, boring a hole, working with a spokeshave on the outside, and painting. Relatively quick and safe for little hands. Fitting the bottom may require a little more help.
Any size bit will work, but this one, in aspen, was made with a one inch auger bit. It will hold about five or six pencils/pens. I’ve begun some of the free-form letter carving on the outside, but still have more of the verse to go. I painted it black, then cut through it.
Carving lids can be a pain. This lid couldn’t be more simple and convenient. I use a kneaded eraser like a cork. Kneaded erasers are very effective at erasing, and work like stiff Silly Putty. Actually it only takes half of the eraser in the package below. Form it into a rough shape, jam it in the top, and it holds very tight. Pop it out, and you have an eraser to go with your pencils.
Shrink tubes can have all sorts of uses from tool storage to, I guess, a very cool presentation box for a Cuban cigar.