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Author Topic: Hobbies: Journal: DIY Altar Box  (Read 749 times)

TheGreenWizard

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Journal: DIY Altar Box
« on: August 02, 2017, 11:55:45 pm »
After the rich insight and discussion took part in my thread titled, Altars & Tools: Construction and Dedication I decided to create a journal on my planning and creating of a simple box that will serve as a holding place for my magical tools, as well as a travel companion of sorts for when I want to do my magic work elsewhere, yet need a flat, stable surface for my materials. While some may appreciate the craftiness of doing this, others may wonder why I simply just go on-line and buy one (see my third inspiration for example links).

Aside from the cost factor (and the fact that it's a PITA to send things back and forth for corrections and what not), I feel more connected to pieces of work - as a craftsman - when I work with them directly, either through the design phase (and sending them off to be built) or seeing it all the way through from design to final product. In some ways, I liken this process with spellwork, because I am pouring my energies into something that I am creating, and thus making an extension of my spirit in a sense.

Inspiration:

After much research on-line, I've decided to go with a combination of three different designs that will best fit my needs (portability being the main component). First, I rather liked an art kit that I received recently from a friend of mine. We all know these kits: they look like wooden briefcases, with the two snap locks, and handle for each portability and security, similar to this:
and



The second design is something I truly liked because it was a simple box with simple build design. It's been several years since I've done wood work, so I didn't want to get too ahead of myself. I also wanted to keep in mind something that would allow for easy customization for what I want (portability, and security of items); thus I came to this plan.

The third inspiration was this website for its altars and cabinets. The addition of candle holders, symbol designs, and other features really stood out to me. Unfortunately - I'm a broke science teacher so I can't afford $150+ for a custom made altar/cabinet. But, what I can do is get really crafty and use the structures as a foundation on what I want to do for my piece.

Currently, I'm researching the woods I want to use, as well as drawing out the different designs. These will form the basis for the next post. Til then,  ;D
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 02:02:13 pm by RandallS »
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Journal: DIY Altar Box
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 08:44:06 pm »
Currently, I'm researching the woods I want to use, as well as drawing out the different designs. These will form the basis for the next post. Til then,  ;D

After waking up to my rabbits demanding food (cheeky little bastards), I set off on researching the above. First though, the plans for the box itself.

The box will be modeled after the artist's case, with some modifications. Like the original design of the artist's case, it will open up, however, there is a clear distinction of what is the "top" and the "bottom" in this construction. Overall, the box - when closed - will measure 13 1/8" long, 9 3/16" wide, and 4 1/2" high.

I'll be using either 3/8" or 1/2" thick wood - I'm having difficulty finding lumber suppliers in the NYC area that I can access via mass transit. The top portion of the box will be 13 1/8" long, and 9 3/16" wide, with a height of 1.5". The bottom portion of the box will be the same length, and width, however, the height will be 3". To join the sides of the box for both the top and bottom, I'll be using box joints at 1/4" intervals. At first, I was thinking of simply nailing the pieces together, but I'd rather have an altar box that is pleasant to look at and shows off my craftsmanship. The large surfaces will be mitered so that they can go on top of the frames and thus have a smooth surface.

Here are the drawings I have so far:




Future steps will be to create this in a paper model first then transfer the pattern to the wood (which I still have yet to find).

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

Morbid

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Re: Journal: DIY Altar Box
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 10:41:05 pm »
After waking up to my rabbits demanding food (cheeky little bastards), I set off on researching the above. First though, the plans for the box itself.

The box will be modeled after the artist's case, with some modifications. Like the original design of the artist's case, it will open up, however, there is a clear distinction of what is the "top" and the "bottom" in this construction. Overall, the box - when closed - will measure 13 1/8" long, 9 3/16" wide, and 4 1/2" high.

I'll be using either 3/8" or 1/2" thick wood - I'm having difficulty finding lumber suppliers in the NYC area that I can access via mass transit. The top portion of the box will be 13 1/8" long, and 9 3/16" wide, with a height of 1.5". The bottom portion of the box will be the same length, and width, however, the height will be 3". To join the sides of the box for both the top and bottom, I'll be using box joints at 1/4" intervals. At first, I was thinking of simply nailing the pieces together, but I'd rather have an altar box that is pleasant to look at and shows off my craftsmanship. The large surfaces will be mitered so that they can go on top of the frames and thus have a smooth surface.

Here are the drawings I have so far:




Future steps will be to create this in a paper model first then transfer the pattern to the wood (which I still have yet to find).

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

I really like your idea of the briefcase style box.  I have a trunk that is very similar to this design, used to store crystals, herbs, various other things.  Although it opens more like a tackle box, but still, similar in designs.
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TheGreenWizard

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Re: Journal: DIY Altar Box
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 01:30:02 pm »
I really like your idea of the briefcase style box.  I have a trunk that is very similar to this design, used to store crystals, herbs, various other things.  Although it opens more like a tackle box, but still, similar in designs.

Thanks! I'm currently stalled on this project, namely, I can't find any PURE cedar. Most of the "cedar" stuff I want to use are plywood mixes, and the planks they sell for cooking are too small. ARGH!

In other news, I should have a new post up about the different woods I'm also considering for this box. Hopefully one calls out to me...
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Journal: DIY Altar Box
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 02:37:08 pm »
... Currently, I'm researching the woods I want to use, as well as drawing out the different designs. These will form the basis for the next post. Til then,  ;D

The beginning of the school year is always the busiest for me, but I'm forcing myself to focus on things aside from school... like this project. That said, below are some profiles of the woods I am considering. Personally, I incline towards the scientific side of things (i.e., I don't believe in astrological associations/influences), however, I also am thorough, and will include them into the profiles. If you see anything incorrect on here - PLEASE TELL ME. Between teaching, and my other stuff, I sometimes lose track of what is credible vs not and my sources. I don't want to offend anyone or wrongly assign properties to the different woods.

Woods and their Properties
When choosing which wood to use for the creation of an altar box, furniture, or other woodwork piece that will be used in a sacred space, I personally feel it is vitally important to keep in mind what the object will be used for, and try to best align the wood with said purpose - both magically and physically. However, this can be difficult to accomplish due to:
  • local supply of the wood
  • physical properties of the wood
  • which wood(s) resonate with you best
And so much more.

Although I'm still looking for a lumber yard in the NYC area supplying these woods, I'm looking to use either (singly or in some combination): elm; cedar; white (or red) oak; cherry; maple; and/or black walnut. Personally, I love the looks of each of these woods, especially cherry and black walnut. However, their unique magical properties are also conducive to this project as well, as you'll read below.

The properties of each wood I am getting from Sandra Kynes' Whispers from the Woods: The Lore & Magic of Trees as well as some other sources.

Cherry
Physically, this wood is well suited - and has a long history - for carvings, furnitures, and cabinetry. It's one of the few woods, if I remember correctly, that ages well, slowly darkening over time, and depending on where within the trunk you get your wood, will differ greatly in color (for example, the heartwood is a rich red, while the sapwood is a creamy white). It has a straight-grain, and a texture that is smooth like satin, and uniform. That straight grain makes for excellent and smooth cutting (unlike other woods, like sycamore, elm, and palm - they're knotty and a b*@tch to cut on a band saw).

Magically, this wood has interesting lores. We see in different cultures that the cherry is seen as sacred, such as in Japan or Middle Ages Europe. Magically, it has many uses - and I don't mean that lightly:
  • Love & Fertility Magic
  • Hunting magic
  • Divination, Intuition
  • Healing Magic
and more.

Spells and rituals, it is great to stabilize and focus your energies. Deity wise, this wood is related to Artemis, Morrigan, Persephone, Yaya Zakurai, Herne, Mars, Pan, Thor, and Vertumnus. When used in spellwork, its often for seeking wisdom and awakening to new levels. 

This wood would work well for me, seeing as I'm always trying to push myself to new heights, and its connections with Artemis.

Cedar

Everyone knows of cedar wood, however, it's actually a handful of species that is commonly used, which you can find at this Wiki Page, and each species has a traditional use for it; for example, the Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) is typically a small tree - or a tall bush, depending on your view point - typically used for posts that hold other tree saplings up. We're also familiar with these species as cedar chests, closets, and moth balls due to their natural resistance to rot, insects, fungi, and more.

Magically, this wood is a cleanser of negative energies (makes sense!), and to create sacred space. These properties are recognized across many cultures and traditions: Jewish; Druidic; Norse; Greek; Cherokee, and Celts just to name a few. Several of these traditions see it also as the Tree of Life - Norse, Druidic, and possibly Cherokee.

In addition to cleansing and its creation of sacred spaces, the wood is used as a ward of negative energies and spirits, and as an attractant of helpful spirits, especially during rituals. This may be due to the cleansing properties - both spiritually and scientifically - as well as its associations with longevity, health, and protection. Lastly, when cedar is used in spells, it's considered a solar energy - any solar spells you do will be enhanced, and focused by this wood.

Commercially, cedar is available nearly everywhere and is easy to obtain. At Home Depot, for example, for a 2'x2'x1/2" thick plywood: $12.50.

Elm

I love elm - the tree itself is a beauty to behold, and is quite a sturdy species. In fact, in most of the New England states, you'll find there are many streets/roads/avenues with Elm in their name because of how widespread this tree grew. In my hometown of Buffalo, for example, there is Elmwood Avenue, that was once lined with these trees (like the rest of New England and Mid Atlantic states). However, with the introduction of Dutch Elm Disease (DED), this species has been decimated where ever the disease is; the disease primarily affects young trees due to their rapid growth coinciding when the spores are most likely to infect the tree. That stated, there are areas in the US where DED hasn't reached the American elm, and they are still thriving.

The American elm is also known as the Water elm due to it being found in floodplains, swamps, and similar areas. Not surprisingly, it's associated with the element of water (this is contended - some sources state Earth and Air; others Water; and others still Earth and Fire. I'm going with Water, because that is what I've usually associated it with - obviously, make your judgments).

Maple

Maple has always been in my life - Japanese maples, for their beauty, and Sugar maples for their delicious sap. These majestic trees are easily identified by both their lobed, palmate leaves, and the winged fruits (samaras) that arrive in Spring.

The beautiful grain patterns and golden hue of this wood makes it great for flooring and furniture construction, and when it's chipped, it is very useful for smoking and curing meat (and is quite delicious). The sap of Acer saccharum has the highest sugar content of the maple family, though I do know of people who have had success with other Maple species.

Magically, maple wood is associated with lunar energy; elementally, it's aligned with water. This makes it an excellent conduit for spells that relate to such energies. In addition, due to its use in furniture and flooring, it's an easy wood to work with - if you find a branch that you like, you should definitely try to either use a lathe to make a wand, or leave it be for a more natural look.

Oak (White)

A majestic tree, Oak species are considered sacred to the Druids of lore, and is their most powerful (along with Ash and Hawthorn). With over 600 species of Quercus, I'll be focusing on Quercus alba - the White Oak, which is native to eastern United States.

While the bark is a light-grey in color, the species' common name comes from the finish of the wood itself. The wood's high density, and strength made it invaluable for ship building (the USS Constitution, if I remember correctly, is built with a mix of white and swamp oak, and can withstand cannon fire - namely due to the strength of the wood). Thanks to interesting intercellular structures, it has water- and rot-resistant properties, and thus, white oak has been used by many for anything that is related to or built near water: ship building, barrels, construction, and other uses. In addition, the leaves, galls, and bark of the tree are known for their numerous herbal properties, such as astringents, and can be used to tan hides. The acorns can be dried and used as a flour replacer.

Magically, the wood of the white oak tree - due to its physical strength, and stability - is used for protection and strength. Oak is also seen as a channeler of nature's energies, and due to its long-lived nature, could be seen as some for knowledge.

Walnut (Black)

Black walnut (Juglans nigra is one I don't have much personal experience with, namely because it's not wanted by many as a plant in one's garden. Reason being: the tree actively emits allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plant species. though I have heard that certain species are fine with growing underneath the tree (like black raspberries).

The tree itself is found in riparian zones in the Eastern United States, and parts of southern Ontario. To identify it, you can smell the leaves or bark - they have a pungent spicy odor. In addition, this tree can grow remarkably tall: upwards of 130 feet! As a species, it's valuable due to its beautiful wood and delicious fruit, the walnut. The wood itself has a dark, straight grain, allowing it to be worked well and can hold the shape you carve it into, unlike other woods (Balsa comes to mind - typically used for model airplanes and the like). The fruit, as we all know it, is a great food source for both humans and wildlife alike. These properties make the wood VERY valuable - in fact, due to the introduced Thousand Cankers Disease, the price for Black walnut can shock you, and there have been poaching cases.

Magically, the wood is known for its cleansing and banishment properties (no brainer where that comes from), but also protection. Regarding energies - this is completely up in the air, and do what you think feels right. I say this because sources say earth and fire, others say water, and others still say spirit.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

Tags: journal woodwork 
 

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