The Radial Dovetail

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Project by Woodhacker posted 10-26-2008 01:47 PM 10148 views 61 times favorited 50 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I call this joinery radial dovetails. If your interested, I have a blog on its construction. The woods used in this box are curly maple, Caribbean rosewood, and hickory.

Instead of traditional angles, the dovetails were cut from two perspective points per each corner as you can see below.

The sides were curved to accentuate the “fan” or radial shape of the dovetails. This was a lot of fun to build and more challenging than traditional dovetails because the angle of each side of each dovetail is different than the adjacent one.

The lid handle was made with the same radial effect and mortised into the lid…

The center panel in the lid also carries the radial dovetail theme. It is “inlaid” into the frame…into a rabbet joint modified with radial dovetail shaped “mortises” that match the corners of the box.


The inside of the lid’s panel pieces were also curved with multiple passes on the router table.

The finish is an oil blend first coat followed by 9 coats of satin poly/oil wipe-on. The finish fills in all the grain pores and was sanded to 1500 grit and hand rubbed out with auto body polishing (not to be confused with buffing) compound after curing for a week. It was then given two coats of paste wax.

..............................................................(The End).....................................................................


-- Martin, Kansas

50 comments so far

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 4982 days

#1 posted 10-26-2008 01:59 PM

Wow, this box is really really nice, once again I have not seen anything like this before, well done!

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4829 days

#2 posted 10-26-2008 02:14 PM

wow thats really beautiful! i love the contrasts of the woods and the radial dovetails are very cool to!

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4652 days

#3 posted 10-26-2008 02:14 PM

This is another fantastic box man..! Great variation in box making creativity…!
You really inspire me to make more boxes before trying to make anything else.

Thanks for the blog too.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5125 days

#4 posted 10-26-2008 02:21 PM

That is a tour de force, Martin. Beautiful in concept and execution. Thanks for posting the blog as well.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View ericandcandi's profile


152 posts in 4579 days

#5 posted 10-26-2008 02:40 PM

Glad to see something different for a change….....way to go

-- ericandcandi in Louisiana- Home of the "LSU Tigers"

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4923 days

#6 posted 10-26-2008 02:55 PM

Beautiful box. Great job on the joinery.

-- Peace in Wood ~

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4936 days

#7 posted 10-26-2008 02:59 PM

The design and execution are both flawless. Great work.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4828 days

#8 posted 10-26-2008 03:00 PM

Beautiful box and design that was executed flawlessly. Thanks for sharing, Martin.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5279 days

#9 posted 10-26-2008 03:29 PM

Man, this is just insane! (And I mean that in the best possible way) :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5049 days

#10 posted 10-26-2008 03:45 PM

That is ine great looking box you got there!
Excellent design and execution.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 4562 days

#11 posted 10-26-2008 03:48 PM

Very nice box and I like the detailed blog.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View woodyone's profile


231 posts in 4652 days

#12 posted 10-26-2008 03:48 PM

Great job, the dovetails are beautiful. Well done.


-- Woody, UK

View Albert's profile


545 posts in 4651 days

#13 posted 10-26-2008 04:17 PM

Most excellent! This is beyone my capability but I’d like to know your source for the hinge material for some of my ‘simpler’ boxes. Thanks,

View Napaman's profile


5534 posts in 5138 days

#14 posted 10-26-2008 05:02 PM

just spectacular…i love it!!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View mtnwild's profile (online now)


3988 posts in 4588 days

#15 posted 10-26-2008 05:27 PM

I’ll add my WOW to the list. Beautiful, original, all the good stuff. Thanks for the show!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

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