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Readers Project

I received a letter from John in Germany last week and thought I’d share it with you.

John recently finished making a Pochade Box following plans from my book, The Unplugged Woodshop.

It’s a Christmas gift for his Mom but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my Journal posts so no danger of spoiling the surprise~; )

The veneer work and dovetails look great John!

Thanks again for sharing this with us and I hope we’ll catch up again in Munich next year~


A Pochade Box in Germany

A Pochade Box in Germany


Hey Tom,

more time gone down the road, and the past months have been rather trying, but I managed to get in one more project before the year is over, and in that I tried my hand at your pochade box. Christmas will always provide the incentive. Here some pics.

Once again I didn’t quite stick to plan, both for some lack in tools and also for some hard-to-obtain components. I also changed the dimensions slightly to accommodate for the size of paper and art supplies common here in Germany. The roto-hinges turned out to be near-impossible to get so I went for some hinge-pins from the hardware-store instead. Also I don’t have any molding-planes (I like the tool-concept, but its single design purpose I find too limiting), hence I decided to improvise the moving tray and compartmentalize it with strips of oak, instead of planning the round grooves. The strips at the front and back are slightly higher than the rest, which I have found useful, as they prevent pens, chalk or coal from dropping out and rattling around in the box. I liked the idea of one of your readers to use magnets to hold the easel, instead of a strap, and it works great! The biggest challenge however was the choice of material. I had hoped to break down some cherry logs I have had drying in my garage, and then to joint them and turn them into usable boards, but I simply didn’t have the time (plus having never done that before). I admit, using plywood gives all of it a bit of a gritty touch, and isn’t half as elegant, but hey, it works and if I’m honest I really like the look of the thing! Instead to give it a bit of contrast, I decided to veneer the front and back of the sliding drawer using mahogany, and again your books and youtube-clips were of great help. Needless to say, your sawyer’s bench I built last helped significantly cutting things to size. 

The learning fields this time? My first attempts at veneering and my first half-blind dovetails.

So there it is, and I hope my mom will like it. Thanks for the inspiration!

I was very impressed by your Artisan course, and I take it the shop is running well. That is great! I hope maybe someday we can make it over to Canada. I’d certainly love to come by.

I saw recently, that you will be in Munich again next year, and I’m currently trying to figure out whether I might be able to make it. Here’s hoping.

It’s been a crazy year, and the globe once again seems to be spinning too fast with too much tension and human worry. I hope the world calms down a bit and leaders come to their senses, and put their energies into constructive thought and creating a better one.

Methinks they should all try their hand at some woodworking.

I hope your year has been a successful one, that you and your family are well, and that you have a calm and happy festive season.

Hope to see you in 2017.

take care


Side view

Side view


Front view

Front view