MotC: The Beautiful Bandsawn Box
Michael Cullen creates seamless boxes from a single block of wood
Michael Cullen trained under the English furniture maker David Powell, receiving the same rigorous education in hand tool and machine use, and in traditional European furniture making that Powell had gotten in his years at Edward Barnsley’s workshop in England.
The training has stood Cullen in good stead over the years as he has built polished, elegant, complex pieces of furniture. But those projects take weeks or months of sustained concentration, and Cullen, who always yearns to see the finished piece, has often wished for more immediate gratification in the craft.
Bandsawn boxes have delivered just that. He developed a technique for cutting the whole box–sides, top and bottom–from a single block of wood, and with just a couple of glue joints he can produce a beautiful, seamless box in a matter of a few hours.
Then he’s got a blank canvas for the sort of decorative carving and milk-painting he’s widely known for in his furniture.
Cullen had been making bandsawn boxes sporadically for a number of years before he spent a semester last year as Windgate Artist in Residence at Purchase College, just north of New York City. In those few months, Cullen made some four dozen boxes. This slide show documents the boxes he made at Purchase and includes his commentary on making them.
This slideshow was originally published October 5, 2015