Musical Shrink Pot

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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.

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I put a couple sound holes in the bottom, but I don’t know that it was necessary.

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The tapering of the pot produces some cathedral grain patterns that may bring hills to mind, along with the carved top edge.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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).

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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?

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12 Responses to Musical Shrink Pot

  1. Karen Bentley says:

    Your mama is one lucky lady! 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jari Hirvonen says:

    Some questions about the bottom plate? You use V-cutter, so is the groove inside also V-shaped? An then, do you also shape the bottom plate rim also V-shape?
    Unique, exellent, brilliant idea! Quite simple, but so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Easton says:

    The Hills Are Alive!
    Edelweiss, also known as pied-de-lion (lion’s foot), has conservation protection in several countries with alpine regions. What a beautiful job you did representing it!

    It’s also interesting to see your homemade / repurposed grooving tool. Thanks for that idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eric Goodson says:

    Love the way you took advantage of the taper and grain to create the mountain effect. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If you put a cat in there you’d have Schrodinger’s shrink pot.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. onerubbersoul says:

    How does it sound?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Sounds really nice. It’s amazing how quiet the musical movement is before it is attached to the box. The wood must resonate and amplify the sound. You can tell I’m not a luthier, or I would understand more about this!

      Liked by 1 person

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