Between juggling this last month of a strange school year and a bout with sciatica, my carving time has been limited lately, but I was able to get a different sort of shrink pot finished before Mother’s Day. Keeping in mind that my mother’s favorite movie is The Sound of Music, I made a shrink pot music box. That’s a simple representation of an Edelweiss flower on the pot, to match the song. I mounted the musical movement to the bottom board before popping it into the groove to be permanently squeezed.
I put a couple sound holes in the bottom, but I don’t know that it was necessary.
The tapering of the pot produces some cathedral grain patterns that may bring hills to mind, along with the carved top edge.
I didn’t want whatever is put into the pot to make contact with the musical movement, so this pot has a divider and a bottom, with the musical movement in its own space between. That’s the divider you can see in the photo above. The walls shrink around the divider and the bottom simultaneously.
So I needed two grooves on the inside of the pot. I used a cutter that I made a while back. With a dowel (a length of broomstick in this case) and an old marking gauge fence carved to fit over it. I was able to adjust the fence and cut both grooves.
The cutter was taken from a Powergrip 60° 6mm V-tool. It pulls out of the handle pretty easily with a pair of pliers. I just drilled a 1/4″ hole from the front part way through then finished all the way through with an 1/8″ hole. That arrangement jams the cutter in there tightly but still allows for easy removal. For smaller diameter pots, I would want to shorten it a bit to better negotiate a tight curve. Here are a couple more shots:
I prefer to make the bottoms for shrink pots out of a relatively soft wood like basswood or pine. Not only is it easier to work, but I think it gives a little bit as the pot walls shrink around it, maybe making it less likely that the walls will crack if they shrink in a tighter squeeze than expected.
Of course, the bottom board must be dry. My bottoms are typically around a quarter inch thick. One simple way to get stock like this is to just take some standard 3/4″ thick pine stock and resaw it down the middle. I mark a pencil line down the middle just using my fingers as a gauge, then arrange it as above. With a sharp rip saw, it is fast enjoyable work in this pine (or maybe it’s spruce).
I flip it back and forth a few times, then, as I get close to the bottom, I flip it over and finish the cut. After a couple passes with a plane, it will be stock for a few shrink pot bottoms.
Even if you’re not into music boxes, I think there are some fun possibilities for this closed chamber idea. How about a mystery object sealed in between to drive people crazy? Or a time capsule closed up at both ends?