Dovetailed African mahogany box

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Project by stanley_clifton posted 02-15-2010 12:35 AM 2765 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was made from a piece of timber found on Blackpool beach at Starr Gate. I posted pictures of this on the site asking for identification and folks told me that it is African mahogany.

The piece was re-sawed to give two usable planks and then hand planed to size. This timber tears out terribly and is very prone to splitting, so working it has been ‘challenging’. I wonder if being soaked in sea water has made this timber slightly brittle. On the other hand, once worked the finish is very beautiful; the surface seems to move as one walks around it. The surface is extremely hard and shrugged off the hand-scrapers, although the No 80 cabinet scraper was more successful; the latter is tricky to use on small sections. I had to resort to hand sanding to get the last imperfections out.

I had meant to make the box in one piece and then saw the top off; however, being a prat, I sawed a section for the lid off each dimensioned timber. Why did I do that? This mistake caused a nightmare: the lid still does not really fit properly and you will notice that its single dovetail is a different size to the rest.

After this and several other mistakes, a reasonable looking box emerged. The lid insert is pitch pine, which gives some grain contrast to the mahogany, but which I hope does not jar. This was fitted by routing out with a rebate cutter and then fixing the pine panel in with hardwood fillets. The base is a thin ply rebated into the sides.

Not my greatest work by any means. Sometimes I think that I’m actually going backwards in terms of skill, and making the same mistakes over and over. However, I do take some pride in making something nice from a found material that would otherwise have gone to waste.

-- Stanley generally struggling

10 comments so far

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4529 days

#1 posted 02-15-2010 12:39 AM

Very pretty box Stanley!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View lou's profile


344 posts in 4895 days

#2 posted 02-15-2010 12:59 AM

well done.i really like the inside lid molding.

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 4499 days

#3 posted 02-15-2010 03:39 AM

Nothing wrong with that. Great job.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 4484 days

#4 posted 02-15-2010 05:09 AM

Nicely done. Beautiful box.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5030 days

#5 posted 02-15-2010 05:16 AM

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 5276 days

#6 posted 02-15-2010 05:29 PM

Looks good to me. The fact that those are hand cut dovetails, speak volumes for your skill. This is something that a lot of us use dovetailing jigs for, because we aren’t that patient.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 5047 days

#7 posted 02-15-2010 09:55 PM

Nice, I just got my first dovetail jig at a garage sale can’t wait to try it out.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View stanley_clifton's profile


196 posts in 5156 days

#8 posted 02-16-2010 12:29 AM

Thanks for the very nice comments.

-- Stanley generally struggling

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4741 days

#9 posted 02-16-2010 01:06 AM

very nice box, the only thing i can say is the top since u made it the way you did with the molding inside that part shoud’ve been magnatized to the lid so you can put in/and take out a picture. All in all it is a saweeeet box. I guess my idea could be one for ya for the next one.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View wing79's profile


33 posts in 4907 days

#10 posted 03-18-2010 07:08 AM

Very good. Woodworking sometimes makes us feel like were going backwards. But trying new ideas and projects is what makes us go forward.


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