First handcut dovetail box

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Project by Julian posted 04-11-2009 05:19 PM 2661 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After recently aquiring a very old set of E.A.Berg chisels, I felt compelled to have a serious go at getting proficient at cutting dovetails. Here is the result. It’s 10wide x 12long x 3 1/4 tall. The sides are tiger maple, cherry, and the bottom panel is walnut. The finish is BLO with my own home made beeswax finish. I must say that I’m hooked on the handcut dovetails. There is something so relaxing and satisfying about working with handtools. Plus there is no need for hearing protection, and you can hear your music without having to crank it up.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

13 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4673 days

#1 posted 04-11-2009 05:29 PM

Wow! Beautiful lumber, beautiful joints!

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

View lew's profile


12823 posts in 4210 days

#2 posted 04-11-2009 05:32 PM

Ditto What Charlie Said!!!!!!!

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

View woodworm's profile


14472 posts in 4045 days

#3 posted 04-11-2009 05:39 PM

The wood is beautiful, the box & the dovetail joint is beautiful.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View milehigh's profile


57 posts in 3795 days

#4 posted 04-11-2009 05:43 PM

Nice joints. nice wood, and the finish looks perfect. Care to share your recipe?


View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1251 posts in 4454 days

#5 posted 04-11-2009 06:06 PM

Nice simple project, good design and execution. Love the mix of woods.

-- Bob A in NJ

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4174 days

#6 posted 04-11-2009 06:40 PM

Nice job, nice box, great looking joints. How did you attach the bottom, in a groove? Is the bottom a raised panel?

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3980 days

#7 posted 04-11-2009 06:41 PM

Thanks for the comments. To make the wax I took 1 one pound block of filtered beeswax, and melted it in a double boiler, then mixed it with a pint of turpentine. It comes out looking like lemon yogurt. To finish this project, I first applied the boiled linseed oil, and once it cured I put the beeswax on and rubbed it in with 0000 steel wool, and buffed it out with an old cotton t shirt. This finish gives an unbelievably satiny smooth finish that is very inviting to touch.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3980 days

#8 posted 04-11-2009 07:56 PM

Kenn, the bottom is 5/16 thick and is set in a 1/4” deep rabbet.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

527 posts in 3971 days

#9 posted 04-11-2009 08:08 PM

Well, it looks like you got really “serious about becoming proficient” at making dovetails by hand. They (and your box) look great. Now I just have to cut some in mesquite.

-- jstegall

View Kate's profile


400 posts in 4329 days

#10 posted 04-11-2009 08:43 PM

beautiful job. Thanks for posting your recipe for the wax.

-- Kate,

View Dusty56's profile


11850 posts in 4143 days

#11 posted 04-11-2009 09:00 PM

Great design and beautiful woods and finish : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3845 days

#12 posted 04-12-2009 02:06 AM

Very special!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 4085 days

#13 posted 04-12-2009 06:23 PM

Beautiful wood and nice tight joints. Great job!

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

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