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Raymond McLaren

Raymond trained in engineering at Stewarts and Lloyds in Newcastle in the 1950’s. This included the arts of precision machining of metals. Wood work always fascinated him (even making gun stocks while in high school) and with increasing access to high tech machine tools for his engineering business it was only natural to combine the magic of these machines to the wonderful dense hard woods of inland Australia.

Applying modern German milling machines to these dense woods has enabled him to carry out precision removal of wood leaving only 4mm on all panels of the boxes. Although the boxes have to be hand assembled and finished as finely crafted objects these machining operations make the manufacture possible. The Fine Boxes embody two unique inventions in the world of wood. One is the barrel hinge the other is the sinusoidal corner joint both original inventions. Neither of these can be created with normal wood machines requiring the rigidity and precision and complex tool paths of metal cutting machines.

These two original processes combined with the use of hard woods differentiate Raymond’s boxes from any others being made in the world at present. He works only with the hard dense woods and most of them are left without any coating over the wood these metal-like woods are left completely bare so as to enjoy their sensuous natural feel. Some of his favourite woods are Eucalyptus crebra (Narrow Leaf Ironbark) E macrorhyncha (Red Stringybark) Acacia rhodoxylon (no common name) A excelsa ( Ironwood) and Lignum vitae. These finely machined but simple design boxes are engineered to last for hundreds of years.

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