Hand cut dovetail and groove experiment

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Project by jeffgao posted 10-24-2018 02:16 PM 2158 views 6 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a simple hand cut dovetail box. Usually when we need to make a groove in the boards for slotting in the box bottom and lid, the piece that holds the corner has to have a stopped groove to hide it from showing. To cut it with hand, you have to chisel it out rough and then use a router plane to clean up to uniform depth. On the other hand, the piece that won’t show a through groove can be cut by a plow plane. This is a pain because it is hard to line up the grooves with two different process.

I experimented an idea that just popped up in my head for how to cut the groove easily for fitting the box bottom and lit. I got inspired by the technique to make a shallow rabbet at the tail board.

Here my approach is to cut end rabbets on the pin board, then use a plow plane to cut the groove all the way up to the depth of the rabbet. This way, both types of boards can have the same plow plane setup to cut the grooves. This is easy and things will line up well because the same plow plane fence setting is used.

Other “technical information” about this project is: It is made from pine. The dovetails are hand cut. Grooves are made by a plow plane. The bottom and lid are hand-made raised panel (by a plane). The side tab of the lid (to match other sides of the box) is a single piece with the lid, not glued on. Finish is a Tung Oil finish (I believe it is actually an oil and varnish blend).

7 comments so far

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 3653 days

#1 posted 10-24-2018 03:01 PM

Good work. Sturdy box. Thanks for the link!

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 3562 days

#2 posted 10-24-2018 04:42 PM

That is clever.
Another way to hid the groove is to do a mitred dovetail. They sound complicated but are actually quite simple and look pretty good too.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View recycle1943's profile


7002 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 10-25-2018 01:00 AM

Who’d a guessed that pine could look so good and functional

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View swirt's profile


7635 posts in 4423 days

#4 posted 10-25-2018 01:56 AM

Clever solution to a common problem. Good work trying something different.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Ivan's profile


17281 posts in 4319 days

#5 posted 10-25-2018 06:00 AM

Beautiful wide fingerjoints and slide top opening.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View SplinterProneNewbie's profile


3 posts in 1315 days

#6 posted 10-25-2018 05:36 PM

Love this box. I am learning dovetails too so this was helpful, thanks!

-- -Live Long and Prosper

View Rwolinski's profile


191 posts in 1777 days

#7 posted 11-11-2018 12:57 PM

Very Nice. Clean cuts. Well done

-- What I make is for others....How I make it is for me.

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