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It started with the quest for a pen...


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#1 kiavonne

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 00:30

Warning! I get wordy. embarrassed_smile.gif in advance.

As many of you know, I've been on the hunt for the "perfect" gift for a friend completing his doctorate in the next year. I went from asking for gift pen advice to the wheels of my mind turning at full speed in pursuit of the ultimate Twain Collection: Pen, watch, book, all associated with Mark Twain, my friend's favorite author. The full gift presentation pics will come later when all the pieces are in place and home from restoration, etc. Right now, though, I'd like share with you the ultimate pen and paraphernalia presentation box designed just for this collection.

The designer is me. I had to have something to hold the Twain Collection, as I've come to call it. I wanted a nice box, unique, and I knew it wouldn't be coming prebuilt from any store. With my Field Notes notebook in hand, I set about trying to design the Twain Collection presentation box. My specs:

Had to be made of a very nice dark wood
Had to be a book box
Had be be able to use as a reading stand
Had to be of fair size but not TOO big, and be a piece to be treasured but also functional
Had to have nooks and crannies to house a vintage pen and vintage watch, small journal, and/or other assorted items (could double as a valet box)
Had to have a custom fit drawer to hold a rare edition book
Had to have a locking lid and a separate locking drawer, but with the same key
Had to have a writing surface.

I sketched out my ideas as they came to me (with my preppy eyedropper, heh), and I had some inspiration from the Jefferson Desk that has been talked of here on FPN, as well as some interesting antique writing slopes I saw on the 'net that doubled as book stands. Then I contacted Deb and Dan McBride of AzWoodman to ask if they could make the design reality. Here is the mess I sent them with my inquiry:


BookBox1.jpg

BookBox2.jpg

BookBox3.jpg



Well, this was quite a project. After some minor tweakage (we went from two handles to just a hand-made drawer handle and increased the over all size by 1/2 inch in both length and width) through emails and a phone call with Dan, they set about creating the Twain Collection presentation box. And here is the result:




Rosewood_Book_Box.jpg


I received this incredible box last night. I will be finishing it with a tung oil finish to let the beautiful rosewood stand out. The blonde wood inlay, the lid prop/easel-type stand, and the book rest are all made of birdseye maple. It is exactly to scale as I'd worked out (with the added 1/2 inch tweakage all around). The bookstand lid prop has built-in hinges (I don't know how else to describe them). There are two enclosed compartments on the first tier under the lid with slider lids, and two open compartments opposite. The center, open area fits well a Renaissance Art refillable journal, with a little extra room. The drawer fits the rare 1st edition book exactly, with just enough room on the side to allow for lifting the book out properly without stressing the covers or spine. What isn't shown in the collage, is the portable, lift-out writing surface made to fit perfectly on top of the top tier compartments when stored. It is made of hardboard, and will be covered on top with a hand-tooled leather writing surface and on the other side with an imitation leather bookbinding cloth of the same color. One side for fine writing, the other side for those other so-called writing things if one must use them. And it all locks up nicely with two locks keyed to fit the same keys. I've ordered a dark blue, antiqued leather writing surface for the hardboard, with antiqued gold embossing in a semi Renaissance style, and Tom Smith of Just Desk Leathers made some wonderful embellishment suggestions. (And he has a wonderful British accent and is a delight to speak with.)

Deb and Dan made my writing slope, and they have been very receptive to my special orders. I think this box is an outstanding example of their craftsmanship, and I think it truly is the perfect Twain Collection presentation box. That Conklin crescent filler will look fine inside, along with the vintage pocket watch and the book.

Cost - well, it was expensive. $300. But, for Bolivian Rosewood, Birdseye Maple, double dovetail joints, inlay, and a slew of other special requests, I don't think it was actually that expensive after all. And this collage does not do the box full justice. It really is too beautiful to describe.



The usual disclaimer applies: I am not affiliated with any of the vendors mentioned here, except that I am a very satisfied customer of all of them!

Edited by kiavonne, 23 April 2008 - 00:47.

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#2 Rapt

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:16

For the quality of workmanship evident even in the tiny photos and the woods involved I'd say $300 was pretty cheap.

Stunning box.

Makes me want to dust off my woodworking tools.
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#3 Bill J.

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 19:01

K,
What a beautifully designed and executed work of art! I can imagine the photos, no matter how good, just do not do that box justice for it's beauty in person. Thanks for sharing with us.
Tell that craftsman " Well Done! "

Bill J.
=)

#4 haywoody

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 20:22

Wow!!! yikes.gif Really nice and it is fun to see the background information. Thanks for posting this.

/Woody

#5 kiavonne

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:40

QUOTE(Bill J. @ Apr 23 2008, 01:01 PM) View Post
K,
What a beautifully designed and executed work of art! I can imagine the photos, no matter how good, just do not do that box justice for it's beauty in person. Thanks for sharing with us.
Tell that craftsman " Well Done! "

Bill J.
=)



I think I have pretty good taste in wood craftsmen. True artists, every one of you! cloud9.gifbiggrin.gif


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#6 usqview

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 22:12

very nice! $300! that seems like a very good deal to me.

i have been toying with the idea of designing and building a writing box for myself. using mostly hand tools, it might take me a while to get it done.

your friend is luck to have you as a friend.

cheers,
ryan


#7 Artful Lounger

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 23:45

Thank you for the images. The box is beautiful and your friend is very blessed indeed to have you caring so much for him. ^^ Meanwhile, you've definitely given me ideas about how I want to manage my own stationery / desk. Ahh, how do I balance my budget now ^^ cloud9.gif

#8 artaddict

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 23:48

Wow! Well done!
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#9 ethernautrix

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 06:04

That is impressive. I'm sure your friend will treasure this gift... forever!
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#10 Elaine

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:17

Wow, he must be one special friend! You sure are.

#11 Bananafish

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 19:06

kiavonne, please tell what ink was that you used for your sketches ? Nice box and neat handwriting btw.


#12 pmsalty

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 20:03

Very, I say very nice! yikes.gif
Well, that's quite not all I feel! crybaby.gif
Enjoy!
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#13 kiavonne

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 22:00

QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 01:06 PM) View Post
kiavonne, please tell what ink was that you used for your sketches ? Nice box and neat handwriting btw.



Heheh, the ink was actually Noodler's Socrates. I modified the scans so the graphs would pick up and thus changed the ink color, too.




QUOTE(pmsalty @ May 31 2008, 02:03 PM) View Post
Very, I say very nice! yikes.gif
Well, that's quite not all I feel! crybaby.gif
Enjoy!
PMS



/hugs PMS
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#14 pakmanpony

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:07

Good Job!! You are one good friend!! Don't forget to let us see it all together before you give it to your friend!!

#15 Bananafish

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 04:24

QUOTE(kiavonne @ May 31 2008, 03:00 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 01:06 PM) View Post
kiavonne, please tell what ink was that you used for your sketches ? Nice box and neat handwriting btw.



Heheh, the ink was actually Noodler's Socrates. I modified the scans so the graphs would pick up and thus changed the ink color, too.



Bummer I'd thought it was an obtainable ink. The color looked quite like Parker Penman Mocha - my holy grail ink. The search continues. Thanks tho kiavonne.


#16 fatehbajwa

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 05:11

Beautiful.........out of the world.
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#17 kiavonne

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 23:51

QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 10:24 PM) View Post
QUOTE(kiavonne @ May 31 2008, 03:00 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 01:06 PM) View Post
kiavonne, please tell what ink was that you used for your sketches ? Nice box and neat handwriting btw.



Heheh, the ink was actually Noodler's Socrates. I modified the scans so the graphs would pick up and thus changed the ink color, too.



Bummer I'd thought it was an obtainable ink. The color looked quite like Parker Penman Mocha - my holy grail ink. The search continues. Thanks tho kiavonne.



Check the Ink scans, there are some browns that come close. Grizzly maybe? http://www.fountainp...showtopic=62968
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#18 Bananafish

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 05:58

QUOTE(kiavonne @ Jun 1 2008, 04:51 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 10:24 PM) View Post
QUOTE(kiavonne @ May 31 2008, 03:00 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Bananafish @ May 31 2008, 01:06 PM) View Post
kiavonne, please tell what ink was that you used for your sketches ? Nice box and neat handwriting btw.



Heheh, the ink was actually Noodler's Socrates. I modified the scans so the graphs would pick up and thus changed the ink color, too.



Bummer I'd thought it was an obtainable ink. The color looked quite like Parker Penman Mocha - my holy grail ink. The search continues. Thanks tho kiavonne.



Check the Ink scans, there are some browns that come close. Grizzly maybe? http://www.fountainp...showtopic=62968


kiavonne, the Grizzly looks very similar! Thank you thumbup.gif


#19 Writer44

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 16:07

Kiavonne,

Brilliant sketch and then to see the finished product was wonderful. Enjoyed the story. Your friend will be well pleased with such thoughtful gifts.
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#20 kiavonne

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 22:32

QUOTE(Bananafish @ Jun 1 2008, 11:58 PM) View Post
kiavonne, the Grizzly looks very similar! Thank you thumbup.gif



Glad I could help out a little. I hope it holds up in person. I haven't used it myself. Hated that my color changing might have disappointed someone.



QUOTE(Writer44 @ Jun 2 2008, 10:07 AM) View Post
Kiavonne,

Brilliant sketch and then to see the finished product was wonderful. Enjoyed the story. Your friend will be well pleased with such thoughtful gifts.



Thank you, Writer44 - and everyone who has commented. It gives me confidence that I'm on the right track to make my friend's milestone a true milestone and a memory to keep of his hard work and dedication. I'm afraid when I get to putting my "schemes" into actual play that sometimes I can really go overboard. I just want it to be right for my friend.

Edited by kiavonne, 02 June 2008 - 22:35.

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#21 Gcouch

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 21:59

Wow... A stunning job for the price. I'd buy one of those In a store any day. I'm working on something of the like myself, though not at such a high price point :) It's a classy way to store your pens.
...................__
............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../ BROFIST
..........''...\.......... _.·´
............\..............(

#22 Gcouch

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 22:00

Wow... A stunning job for the price. I'd buy one of those In a store any day. I'm working on something of the like myself, though not at such a high price point :) It's a classy way to store your pens.
...................__
............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../ BROFIST
..........''...\.......... _.·´
............\..............(

#23 CatBookMom

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 00:20

What a beautiful gift this will be - the box itself is the sort of treasure that becomes an heirloom, and the other items you have described will make it really worthy of the milestone in your friend's life. '

Thank you for sharing the concept and the finished object. Brava!!

Edited by CatBookMom, 12 April 2012 - 00:24.


#24 BamaPen

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:14

That is one great design! Congratulations on the design itself and finding someone who could carry it out.

#25 Aslan

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:20

Gurl, you got class! And, your friend has a very good friend ( in you). Nicely done.
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