Michael Brent of Pilot-Portraits is a perfectionist and when he wanted a long lasting and beautiful field box, he went to his friend Nathaniel Brewster who admittedly has an addiction to hand-tool woodworking. All of his projects are constructed almost entirely by hand, from preparing the rough stock to finishing the final product, (though he does admit to some random orbital sander use every now and then). Nathaniel built Michael’s RC Field Box from some old quarter-sawn walnut that was quite a large door in a past life.
Nathaniel comments that the stuff is amazing to work. Perfectly straight grain and perfectly clear. You’re not going to find it in your local lumberyard any time soon.
The box is held together with through-tenon joinery. I added brass corner guards to offer a bit of field protection. They float on each edge so as not to be affected by wood movement. The bottom of each compartment is lined with cork — it’s actually the thin stuff you get at the office supply store that’s used for small bulletin boards.
He farmed out the production of Michael’s nameplate to a woman who uses a vintage WWII-era dogtag machine to deboss various steel plates. I think it adds a bit of industrial interest that contrasts nicely with the piece’s overall handmade aesthetic. This project, like every project, is ultimately a chance to learn something new. That’s what it’s all about — planning, experimenting, making and remaking.
An amazing piece of custom work working for sure, and we wonder what great model airplane he could produce if Nathaniel put his mind to it.