Dovetailed TP holder

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Project by gepatino posted 08-08-2014 03:10 PM 1727 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Inspired by Steve Ramsey’s advise on dovetails I decided to make my first project with dovetails: a toilet paper holder.

I’ve cut the dovetails by hand using a japanese saw and chisels (my homemade mallet was very useful here). I must say it was a lot of fun, and the result is… well… functional. Not the pretiest ones, not even a good fit, but it works. I was about to fill the gaps with glue and sawdust but I don’t think anyone in my family will notice the gaps as a failure. So it was all about lowering expectations!

As a newbie I was very intimidated by dovetails, if you are also intimidated, but like how they look, just be brave and use them in your next project. As long as it’s something usefull, your family will love it.

Back to the project, it’s made in lenga from a 1×5 board I had lying around. The rod or axe where the paper roll stands is just a piece of 1 inch thick firewood (keep recycling…). Nothing fancy here, just functional. Routed a slot for the rod, and that’s it. Ready to assemble and finish.

I’m getting quite good at finishing and, for the other newbies, here goes my recipe of ‘something like french polishing’. The result is something very smooth and warm, I love it.

1. Make the shaping and gross sanding with 80 grit paper.
2. Then sand up to 200 or something like that in steps. I’ve used 100, 120, 150, 180 and finally 220. I took this from
3. Apply some coats of shellac. I like to use a piece of an old t-shirt, and it’s so easy that my 3 year old son made it for me.
4. Let it fully dry. Since it’s alcohol based, this takes less than an hour.
5. Sand by hand with a 400+ grit paper. In this case I used 600, what I got.
6. Apply a couple of coats of shellac, this time with a piece of cloth.
7. Keep rubbing it in circles/figures eight until it gets a bit sticky.
8. Apply one drop of oil (I’ve used olive oil or regular kitchen oil) to the piece of coth and keep rubbing it some more.

At this point you see how the glossy surface starts to form, and you should also see some kind of ‘cloud trail’ when you pass the cloth. You can apply a tiny bit of shellac to the cloth if it dried and you don’t see the cloud.

Done, that’s all. It took me less than three hours to finish this project using this technique. Try it, shellac dries really fast and looks great.

Hope you enjoy such a long post.

Any comment/advice is very welcome.


PS: feel free to comment how crappy/shitty my dovetails are… quite appropiate in this case :)


3 comments so far

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2869 days

#1 posted 08-08-2014 04:50 PM

Personally, I feel that my bum deserves nothing but the best. Now that I have seen this, I cant un-see it. I must have a dovetailed TP holder. Well done my friend!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 2923 days

#2 posted 08-08-2014 05:19 PM

To keep the same theme, I should say the finish is soft and smooth as a baby’s bum ;)


View MRue's profile


53 posts in 3625 days

#3 posted 08-10-2014 10:45 PM

Very important to have the strength of dovetails incorporated into a TP holder.


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