Hand-Cut Triple Dovetail Box

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Project by ProbablyLost posted 01-31-2009 06:22 AM 8602 views 15 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a 14” X 11” X 5 1/2” box made out of Purpleheart, Cherry, Pink Marimba, and Maple. Finished with B.L.O. I hand cut the triple dovetails really just to see if I could do it. I have not come up with a good use for this box, so I am open for suggestions. I did take a lot of pics thinking that I would post a blog but decided that it is not much different than a double dovetail and there is already a great blog on how to do that and it would just be repetitive. I have not posted anything in about a month just for that reason, it doesn’t seem right to show things like the drink coasters that look just like someone elses. With that being said I did post this hoping for real feedback, not just a “good job” but what you really think….. I promise you can’t hurt my feelings. If it is too many types of wood and hate it, go ahead let me have it. Thanks…...

Here are some better pics as requested

-- Chris

26 comments so far

View Tom Goodman's profile

Tom Goodman

198 posts in 4665 days

#1 posted 01-31-2009 06:26 AM

Absolutely Beautiful ! ! ! My wife wants me to make her one now.

-- - " If you want square work, You don't cut corners. " - -- Tom Goodman, Santa Maria, CA. [email protected]

View lew's profile


12875 posts in 4289 days

#2 posted 01-31-2009 06:31 AM

My first reaction is WOW how can you do that by hand!

I did read your blog on cutting these dovetails but I doubt that I will ever achieve the patience or skills to master even those. I like the color and grain combinations but I think it would have been just as awesome without the inlay strips on the side.

Just my opinion.

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

View ProbablyLost's profile


83 posts in 4051 days

#3 posted 01-31-2009 06:33 AM

The blog wasn’t mine, it was Woodhacker’s …... and I hated the inlay strips after I did it but it was too late.

-- Chris

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4752 days

#4 posted 01-31-2009 06:41 AM

Great piece of craftsmanship, Chris.

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

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4524 days

#5 posted 01-31-2009 06:56 AM

First Reaction = Beautiful, great execution of a great design.
(Remember, you promised)
Constructive Criticism = I can’t see enough details in the pictures. Use a higher resolution on your camera. Get real closeups of all the features. Suggestions – the triple dovetails, the lid and the joinery used, the inside, the bottom, the hinges, etc. There can never be too many pictures because you can never predict when someone will get an idea or what it will come from. Learn how to add pictures to the body of the post. Add descriptive language so the pictures will be as clear as possible. If you can share a technique or a description of the result, you can inspire people to stretch their skills.

Thanks for the post, hope to see more of your quality work soon.

-- Jim

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4124 days

#6 posted 01-31-2009 07:22 AM

Great looking box. I like idea of using multiple wood species – we can learn many species in one project.

I’m a box making enthusiast and dovetail joinery fan, but never succeed in making hand-cut dovetail joints
as clean and snug-fit as your box. When I failed, I always blame the saw. Then, I tend to use router.
What type of dovetail saw you use?

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4247 days

#7 posted 01-31-2009 07:47 AM

Hate it?? No way. That box is the mark of a master craftsman. I think the wood tone and selection are just right. You can’t make a triple dovetail with similar woods, or no one would appreciate it!


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View ProbablyLost's profile


83 posts in 4051 days

#8 posted 01-31-2009 07:49 AM

woodworm, I use a coping saw and chisels

-- Chris

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 4440 days

#9 posted 01-31-2009 09:22 AM

pow! you knocked one out of the park…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4524 days

#10 posted 01-31-2009 09:27 AM

Wow Chris,

Those detail pictures really show the quality of this piece.

Thanks a million,

-- Jim

View W. Paul's profile

W. Paul

45 posts in 4623 days

#11 posted 01-31-2009 11:16 AM

I’m astounded. Amazing. If there is a flaw, it is that the piece is too busy. Sometimes, I find that it’s best to let spectacular details dawn on a person slowly. Using such high contrasting species is a very aggressive approach. Nonetheless, beautiful work!

-- Paul, Wildwood, MO; (Ps 145: 1-2)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4355 days

#12 posted 01-31-2009 02:54 PM

Chris, this is a stunning piece. It does make a bold statement as, Paul, suggested but I think that is part of the beauty of it.

Have you ever considered adding flocking the interior? To me that would add a nice detail to the box, not that it really needs anything else.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4332 days

#13 posted 01-31-2009 03:27 PM

definitely a 10! great work

-- making sawdust....

View Ampeater's profile


441 posts in 4281 days

#14 posted 01-31-2009 03:27 PM

Terrific!! Thanks for posting.
I made some jewerly boxes for Christmas presents and I thought they were great until I looked at this. I really like the contrast of the different woods and the design in general.

Great design and great craftsmanship.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4496 days

#15 posted 01-31-2009 04:09 PM

This is an absolutely wonderful example of how good craftsmanship can be. The ability to do all the different disiplines it took to build this box is outstanding, to say the least. That said, I will add a caution which I’ve seen in my other profession, saddlemaking; we must be careful that we don’t start to make pieces merely to impress our peers. As a prospective buyer, I might consider this box too busy of even gaudy. As a craftsman, I applaud your skills and patience.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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