Aha! Box

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Project by kewald posted 01-24-2009 05:20 PM 5142 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This little box was my first recent attempt at hand cut dovetails. The design came from the book “Puzzle Projects for Woodworkers” by Allan J. Boardman.

It is made from Ebony, which is very hard to work due to it’s brittleness and hardness, so probably not the best wood to practice hand work on. The inner side panels are Brazillian Cherry because I had some that was 1/8” thick. Outside measurements are 2 3/4 X 1 7/8 X 1 1/2 inches.

Note the knot on the top. The knot is not the secret to the box, though it is close to it. The secret is in the book!

I sawed the parts and dovetails with the new set of small Japanese saws that my wife gave me for Christmas. Then squared them up with hand planes and a shooting board. The inside of the dovetails were too small for my smallest chisel, so I ground an old 1/4” chisel down to 1/8 inch. The dovetails on the first corner are a sloppy fit. Each set got a little better and the fourth set fit much better than the first.

I glued the corners with epoxy to fill some of the gap. Then fitted the bottom and glued it in with CYA. Then sanded the outside on my oscillating belt sander, filling the remaining dovetail gaps by applying CYA and sanding while it was still wet. Several passes at this on each side filled in all the dovetail gaps. Of course, had I done a better job cutting the dovetails this wouldn’t be necessary.

-- Always do the Right Thing the Right Way the First Time - if you can figure out what that is! Ken, Spring Branch, TX

5 comments so far

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 4332 days

#1 posted 01-24-2009 05:24 PM

I think this little box turned out quite nice.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View tinnman65's profile


1395 posts in 4018 days

#2 posted 01-24-2009 06:14 PM

You should see my first attempt, that’s the fun of woodworking its not all about getting it perfect the first time but enjoying yourself as you hone your skills. Thanks for sharing.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View lew's profile


12932 posts in 4359 days

#3 posted 01-24-2009 06:32 PM

Neat little box! The knot really give the top character!

Good Luck in the contest.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4822 days

#4 posted 01-24-2009 08:33 PM

Pretty nice joints for being a first time and working on such a tiny scale.

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

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4327 days

#5 posted 01-24-2009 10:52 PM

Ken, that’s a great first attempt. Looking forward to seeing more hand cut dovetails.

-- Martin, Kansas

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