Ask is a Swedish word for box, although I think it can also mean ash. In any case it’s a useful word to have when searching the online image collection of artefacts in Swedish museums

This collection has been a huge source of inspiration for me as it is full of items that were turned on the pole lathe. I was lucky enough in May this year to be able to view some of these items in the museum stores in Boras, Sweden, along with visiting a private collection and meeting the world expert on these types of boxes (from an antiques perspective) Svenning Svenningson. I am hugely grateful to Svenning, and Torbjorn Lindstrom and all his colleagues who all facilitated my visit. Here are a few examples of locking lid boxes, a fraction of what was there:

Unfortunately I was not able to get straight to work turning new things despite being full of inspiration. I was distracted by other projects and had limited time. Recently though I have had the chance to do a little bit and here is one 3 level box in process.

The bottom section completed:



Assessing the blanks for the next levels:


Turning the second level and checking the fit:


Turning some of the fine detail on the second level produced some very fine shavings. Oak is not the most forgiving wood to turn detail in and you will see on this one I lost a lot of height compared to the original blank after a mistake on the little ledge had to be rectified. Just about saved the whole thing.


Last but not least the top section, very small and a nightmare to turn such a small container on a pole lathe.


Thankfully they all came together into quite a nice form and are a good fit. Based on other boxes I have made, you had to leave the lids slightly loose to accommodate for the small change in shape that happens as the green wood dries. However as the openings are made parallel to the radial plane of the wood, the movement is minimal. If it’s just right they lock together very snugly.


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