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To Our Friend and a Funeral Urn (Box)


To Our Friend...

We have not met Gary Katsanis or his family face-to-face, but in the world where the material and the virtual blend via the Internet, we feel we know him.  Many of us have made a special bond with people of shared interests who are scattered in space, but brought together by hand tools, woodworking, and related matters.  So Gary is someone we would try to look up if we found ourselves “close to Buffalo, NY, USA.”  Through the OldTools list we have already been close to Buffalo, in a way.

Because of these connections, close in feeling even though distant by miles, we are now grieving with Gary over his immense loss.  Because of what we share, we can identify with him and his family, and with some of what he’s been going through, even though it cannot be really comparable.  We’ve used our tools, worked on our projects and our houses, shared our stories in print and pictures, and loved our families. 

While most of us can't know Gary’s pain, we share it, as we too value our children, and can't imagine losing one of them.  Many of us in the Galoot community are keeping Gary and his loved ones in our hearts and prayers.

A lot of us have re-examined our lives, and feel closer to those we care about, including Gary and the OldTools community.  We are aware that there is a healing process ahead for Gary, where he and his family will want to draw closer, and find a way to continue on without their precious Amanda.  May their principles and their faith be their guide.

If there is anything any of us can do we hope Gary and anyone else will reach out.  We’ll be here for you.

Group of Anonymous Friends
August, 2007

A Funeral Urn (Box)



I recently volunteered to make a box to contain the ashes of the 11 year old daughter of one of our Old Tools List members. I thought others might be interested in seeing the box.

I used Watco oil for the finish, then hand rubbed and waxed it. The box was entirely made using hand tools.

I was asked to carve a duck on the top of the box. I decided that the duck should look like one that a child would like, rather than a realistic duck. So I carved first example.


When the family saw it in preview, they asked that I flatten the background and the area under the duck’s tail. Which produced this:

The final version has some darkening of the wing feathers. Another suggestion from my wife.

The difference in the color of the wood is caused by the fact that the sun was out for the first picture, and the second picture was taken under an overcast sky. (As were the remainder of the pictures. No shadows)

Here are pictures of the finished box: I decide to use a frame within a frame to set off the carving. I used the same texture around the carved frame that I used under the duck. That was a suggestion from my wife. And it turned out to be a very good suggestion. I think this would appeal to an 11 year old girl.

Top view.

End view.

Bottom of the box with removable bottom.

My original plan was to make the box with sharp, mitered square edges. The family wanted radiused edges. This precluded me from making mitered corners. Instead, I used simple butt joints which show end grain on the sides.

I am proud to have been able to make this little box for a little girl I never met.

August, 2007

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