small boxes -- first try

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Project by John posted 09-06-2020 05:39 PM 767 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I moved and downsized to a townhouse, I got rid of my tablesaw. So I decided to “go small” and also give fully hand tool woodworking a try. Thee are my first attempts at some keepsake boxes. The first two are mitered (with contrasting splines), made from curly maple. The last (actually my first attempt) is a small (4×6x2) dovetailed box made from some scrap walnut.

Box making presents new challenges and new things to learn, as does using all hand tools. Enjoying the journey in my slimmed-down space.

12 comments so far

View MrWolfe's profile


1240 posts in 1038 days

#1 posted 09-06-2020 05:48 PM

Nice boxes.
I especially like the scrap walnut dovetail one. The variegation in the wood looks great.
Nice work on the miters and dovetails.

View recycle1943's profile


4809 posts in 2537 days

#2 posted 09-06-2020 05:57 PM

I am impressed with the miters and like Jon, the scrap walnut box is a keeper

-- 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 wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2213 posts in 462 days

#3 posted 09-06-2020 06:35 PM

Always tip my hat to the hand-tooling guys! And the dove-tailors. Nice work.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View mel52's profile


1744 posts in 1179 days

#4 posted 09-07-2020 02:26 AM

Great looking boxes and I really like the splines. Great job !!! Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View AGolden's profile


82 posts in 249 days

#5 posted 09-07-2020 05:13 AM

very nice. How did you do the miters by hand?

View Eric's profile


712 posts in 788 days

#6 posted 09-07-2020 10:56 AM

Very nice boxes, impressive is the fact of using hand tools. Great job.

-- Eric, building the dream

View John's profile


32 posts in 4306 days

#7 posted 09-07-2020 12:55 PM

Thanks Brian, Jon and Dick. I am only starting, and after having looked at all of your projects, I have a long way to go and so much to learn! But it is enjoyable and creative. So I will keep at it and keep posting. Thanks again for the encouragement and kind words.


View splintergroup's profile


4124 posts in 2137 days

#8 posted 09-07-2020 02:17 PM

Simple shapes that go beyond “simple”. You really show some talent! Great joinery and attention to the small details.

View therealSteveN's profile


6648 posts in 1489 days

#9 posted 09-07-2020 02:20 PM

They look pretty darn good for someone saying they are just starting. Handsaw, and chisel skills are best learned with regular reinforcement. Whoever coined “practice makes perfect” was a hand tool woodworker I believe.

Keep making.

-- Think safe, be safe

View oldnovice's profile


7681 posts in 4283 days

#10 posted 09-07-2020 05:20 PM

Very nice work, you do have a knack for these boxes.
Keep them coming so we can enjoy some more.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View John's profile


32 posts in 4306 days

#11 posted 09-07-2020 05:30 PM

Thanks again everybody. @agolden, I threw together a shooting board (very necessary for my sawing skills :) ) and then glued together a “donkey ear” at 45 degrees for the miters. This one was pretty basic, but there are lots better ones out there. I just hand-cut the miter by eye (oversize) and then used the shooting board to get it exact. Used my Stanley no. 62 low angle jack, which is by no means a premium plane, but works great.

View BigMig's profile


518 posts in 3528 days

#12 posted 09-09-2020 10:15 PM

Wow, that’s lots to be proud of!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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