Photos My U.S.-made Whetstone (box modding project)

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by kreisler, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    This modding is not needed nor relevant and I myself find it only mildly interesting haha but I enjoy sharing, talking about the simple easy-to-explain stuffz which i have or do, so here we go, story time (and to be continued).

    After i had acquired my big precious expensive (ger)man-made ruby benchstone, i was desperately looking for a seller of a rigid storage/carry/protection box or case for it, made out of wood or plastic material. My preference would have been, and still is, an identical plastic case as known from the Spyderco 302-seriez, but Spyderco does not sell the 302-seriez cases separately or as spare/guarantee part nor were they willing to disclose the contracted U.S. company who actually manufactures the ceramic stones, which is also where the plastic cases get packaged to the retail blister end product. The Spyderco plastic case has several serious advantages:
    • super compact form factor: slim, thin, narrow; also light-weight
    • the two case halves have a male-female "plug" fitment connection, they are not loose
    • the material does not get indented/poked/damaged/cut by hard point sharp objects
    • the material does not absorb water, oil, dirt, humidity
    • the material doesn't get dirty, i.e. it is easy to clean
    • the case has four rubber feet for improved slip resistance
    The typical wooden box doesn't have any of these advantages but comes with its own set of advantages:
    • availability (SharpeningSupplies.com, etc)
    • low price, 7-9US$ (depending on dimensions and seller)
    • beautiful looks (if brand-new)
    • customizable (painting, labeling, modding)
    So i settled for the wood case and found the best price shipped total at Dan's Whetstone Company thru MAILORDER. I liked the Dan's logo/label on their wood cases but they explained that the empty cases are sold blank without label, oki doki no problem. 'Safe packaging fast shipping secure delivery' later i was delighted to hold a shrink-wrapped fresh product in my hands yay. The unmodded product weighs 164g, not that the weight would matter: (i put the logo sticker on it for the photo :p)

    [​IMG]

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the product was made in the States, especially at the low price offered:

    [​IMG]

    Since the box halves are loose (no "plug" connection), they'd shift around even in the tight shrink-wrap. I was reminded of the magnetic connection of my iFixit screwdriver set which uses Ø4.0×?mm neodymium magnets:

    [​IMG]

    I would call this a well-constructed well-made nice quality product with tight tolerances in the dimensions. The side walls are made out of a lighter wood material with a minimum thickness of 7.0mm. I ordered 10pcs of Ø3.0×6mm neodymium magnets from a geman ebayer (3.49€ shipped but in the end FREE for me due to ebay coupon), hopefully they'll do the trick (the smaller the magnet diameter, the more challenging to get the centering/alignment right in practice, marking&drilling):

    [​IMG]

    The finish of the junction seam was fine but not super fine. With my broken-in geman MATADOR wetordry sandpapers P1000 and P2000 i made the seam dead flat and super fine finished. I am new to woodworking tbh, so this manual refining process was a fun experience thanks. Note the three different wood materials in the product composition; top cover is thick hard massive wood, bottom layer is erh brown wood plaster stuff:

    [​IMG]

    Youtubers use olive oil, linseed oil, walnut oil, tung oil (wtf is that??) and whatnot oil to treat wood. The oil is supposed to harden in the wood structure ("polymerization" lol) after a couple of weeks and then protect it against humidity and other external detrimental influences. I remember having seen Opinel users fry the wood knife handles in hot oil baths. Treating wood with oil seems to be a science but i prefer to tread lightly;), so i took whatever i found in the kitchen (in this case: discounter's budget walnut oil made in California) and soaked all wood faces with it:

    [​IMG]

    I kinda overdid it with the oil. Now the total weight of the box is 184g lol. I am wondering how many weeks this walnut oil-soaked box needs in order to be fully polymerized, or how i could speed up the drying/hardening process. Anyway, this story is far from over. Further modding steps are:
    1. receiving the magnets (next week!)
    2. drying/hardening of the wood material (walnut oil is said to be the slowest!)
    3. coating the external bottom face with paint or glue such that four 3M rubber feet would adhere to that face; maybe this won't work out since the bottom layer is soaked with oil, so paint or glue would have a hard time sticking to it, we'll see
    4. precision-drilling eight holes (Ø3.0mm, depth 6mm) for the magnets insertion; problem is the precision-positioning of the small holes, fingers crossed!
    5. water-tight painting the inner chamber faces, so liquid or humidity could escape only at the (closed) seam not through the walls or top/bottom covers
    6. professionally labeling the box thru laser printing/sticker lol/spray paint/engraving/burning techniques/Sharpie/image transfer/
    7. making some inlay and loose padding out of felt/foam/fatever to reduce play and protect the stone against shocks during carry. the stone thickness is 12.00mm:eek:, the internal chamber height is 17mm (if i measured correctly).
    The most important mod is the addition of magnets; the magnets will keep the case closed. Imagine a cooking pot which comes with a flat disc as the maker's stupid idea of a lid. The disc could fall off anytime during storage, during cooking. Unacceptable. This no-hurries modding project, an overkill? In relation to the $7.78 box price, maybe. But in relation to the $$$ stone price, appropriate imho. If you are experienced in woodworking and have some tips or comments, please share. This thread should be entertaining for all! :D :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  2. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Alrighty then. :rolleyes:
     
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  3. jpm2

    jpm2

    Nov 19, 2014
    Does walnut oil polymerize? I'm very partial to tung oil for this.
     
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  4. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    I doht know tbh (maybe someone else would know?).
    if it doesn't, then my project is toast:oops:
     
  5. jpm2

    jpm2

    Nov 19, 2014
    Not sure about toast, but I wouldn't apply any more until you know for sure.
     
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  6. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    You @jpm2 are right, so i googled and found an interesting wikipedia article on the class of drying oils and walnut oil is mentioned there. Apparently one can classify oils thru a single number,
    • > 130 : drying
    • 115–130 : semi-drying
    • < 115 : non-drying
    Tung oil is 163+, linseed oil is 136+, walnut oil is 120+. As i understood, these oils react chemically with oxygen from the surrounding air ("autoxidation") in an exothermic polymerization, becoming solid, which we call drying/hardening/curing and which has nothing to do with evaporization of oil, solvents, or humidity. This curing process can take weeks or months (olive oil is < 88). It is not the wood which reacts with the oil but the oil reacts in the wood pores with oxygen (which is present in the wood or thru diffusion from the surrounding air) and hardens there, reinforcing the wood structure this way. Sounds like *ull to me :poop:. :D

    I need to experience it, learn it in practice, before i can believe it, and then i'll never forget!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
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  7. eKretz

    eKretz

    969
    Aug 30, 2009
    Here's my contribution: when you put the magnets in, add glue to the holes and slide the magnets in, then place the box halves together with some parchment paper in between. Glue won't stick to parchment paper and this way the magnets will be touching when the box is closed, so at maximum pull strength. Be absolutely sure that you have the polarities correct so the magnets are all attracting each other and not repelling.
     
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  8. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    i've received the magnets, the geman ebayer paid 0.95€ for his chosen Kompaktbrief national shipping option, clever! As we can see, the 3.0mm diameter looks perfect (as long as the 8 holes are drilled in precise locations):
    [​IMG]

    The parchment paper suggestion is for taking care of the excess glue during the magnet insertion? We wouldn't want excess glue landing on the wood seam but no worries, a quick wipe with a rag will clean up excess glue from the wood seam. I'll employ parchment paper, np.

    So does anyone feel inspired yet to buy an empty/blank wooden box too, or are you (To Whom It May Concern) waiting for me to present the completed successful project (with dried oil, installed magnets, 228 paint, label, and stuff)? Hey this project is not gonna fail, so go ahead already, pull the trigger and let's do everything together, sharing in this thread! :p

    Btw the dimensions are (my measurements) L × W × H:
    • external box: 221 × 74 × 27 mm
    • internal chamber: 205.0 × 54.3 × 17 mm
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
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  9. NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    417
    Jul 14, 2017
    Looks like it's turning out well and the magnets are a nice touch! :thumbsup: Dan's is really a great company to deal with.
     
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  10. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    Adhesive rubber feet don't stick at all on the external bottom face of the oiled wood case, argh; but how do i make the case slip-resistant like the Spyderco 302UF product, any working ideas?

    Anyway, after 2+ weeks the oiled wood still isn't dry imo, i should have used linseed oil instead:rolleyes:, no regrets though. I borrowed a METABO drill press and BOSCH power drill, bought a PROXXON drill bit set and started the drill task. But before i did so, i sanded the wood seams again to smoothen the dried walnut oil finish:
    [​IMG]

    Would it be possible to squeeze the magnet into a Ø2.5mm hole? I tested it and the answer is no. Also note the failed test image transfer attempt:
    [​IMG]

    I had thought about asking a workshop to quickly drill the holes at my given center points, a matter of 3mins in theory. In reality it took me a total of half a day to drill the 8 holes (actually 12 holes) to get the overall alignment right:
    [​IMG]

    It wasn't my original intention to let the magnets protrude on the bottom half, the very first magnet insertion got stuck like that! But this helped immensely with the (top half) auto-alignment and with the correction of its overall fitment, for example i had to re-drill two holes of the top half, "milling" by 0.3mm or whatnot. Maybe you can see which of the four visible holes have been "milled":
    [​IMG]

    Like LEGO bricks, the protrusion of the magnets also helps to stabilize/secure the two halves mechanically in lateral direction. I let the magnets (of the bottom half) protrude with different heights, asymmetrically, which helps me to put the case together correctly. If you slice up an apple in half, there is only one possibility to put the apple back together correctly to make it whole again, think about it. Actually, the way i arranged the polarities of the magnets, the user can put the case together in one way only anyway (magnetic pull), the other way around wouldn't work (repulsive forces). I decided to add magnets in the middle of the wood seam too because i had left-overs (i bought 10pcs, drilled 8 holes, used up 8pcs, drilled 4 additional holes, used up the remaining 2pcs, and still need more pcs, you do the maths) and because the drilling and fitment was so much fun and successful:
    [​IMG]

    Drilling holes in wood and glueing in magnets, all child's play? Not if the resulting case halves fitment is to be nice! In theory the alignment and fitment task was straightforward and mathematically simple but in practice no average highschool kid could have done it with the required precision, focus, and patience. But i did it! :D
    The order in which i drilled the 12 holes and glued the magnets in, and the clever arrangement of the polarities of the magnets, is nothing to detail upon here (i shouldn't bore you with such details), i can hardly remember how i did all that. All technical thoughts came natural, though, common sense, no worries no frustration. Right now i am testing wood glue as coating (sealant) for the inner chamber, testing it on the top half first. Will take a week to fully dry/cure, stay tuned ;):
    [​IMG]

    If that turns out nicely, i'd try the same 376 for the bottom half. Then i might apply paint on the dried glue ... simply because i have some paint left-overs :p. By then the box will be fully usable for storage and or carry. The final step will(!) be the professional-grade/commercial-grade labeling on top of the box. I www found a simple company logo.png (black/red) and have been wondering which kind of "image transfer" (decal) method would be the best and least invasive choice on this double treated wood finish. Or i simply get it done by a copy shop professional (my preference at this point tbh).
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  11. eKretz

    eKretz

    969
    Aug 30, 2009
    Nice! The protruding magnets turn out to have been one of those "lucky accidents" that worked out. :) Box looks good. And yes, precision alignments can definitely be time consuming, especially if you don't work with them every day.
     
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  12. Mr.Wizard

    Mr.Wizard

    956
    Feb 28, 2015
    Screw-on feet?

    [​IMG]
     
  13. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    argh, what a setback. I'm lying disheartened on my bed while typing this. The glue curing process overnight seemed fine (i didn't check fitment in the morning). Then in the morning i placed the case half on the sunny window sill outside for a few hours to speed up the curing process. When i looked at the glue, it looked transparent (i.e. cured), noice!, i thought.

    But i was blindsided by something else :eek: and now the case half is pretty much (irreversibly?/reversibly?) ruined :(

    NE1 can guess what's happened to the wood? :cool:
     
  14. jpm2

    jpm2

    Nov 19, 2014
    Did it swell, warp, split, or crack?
     
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  15. kreisler

    kreisler

    516
    May 11, 2012
    the thick wood plate warped excessively, like a lenghty parabolic panel. also the width grew wider (expansion), and the magnetic wood seam there became convex. thus the case fitment was completely ruined (wider width, not flat anymore).

    To reverse the warping, I've heated the top half with water steam inside a pot with boiling water and am using dumb bells to compress/bend the wood plate back to original flat geometry. Seems to do the trick yay! Good lesson here, the case doesn't like humidity in combination with hot sun rays, beware!

    A couple of days later the wood should be dry (stably flat and dried), and fitment will be back fine again, I'm confident.

    I'm questioning if i could glue-cover the bottom half similarly, of course without any warping side effects, what do you think, safe?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020

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