Box from scraps

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Project by SST posted 03-19-2008 08:33 PM 2270 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Box from scraps
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I’ve been playing a bit with hand cutting dovetails, but if I wait til I get good enough at it to actually make a project, I might be too old to remember to post it here, and I found a very basic Craftsman dovetail jig on ebay for $8.00 (mostly plastic, but functional nonetheless), so I decided to try it out. (As luck would have it, I owned the necessary Craftsman router that it works with)

I keep my wallet & other misc. pocket debris in an old basket on a closet shelf, and I figured that it’s well hidden enough so that if I made a mess, who’d see it, anyhow. The basket is falling apart, so I now had a purpose for my project.

The design kind of just evolved as I went along…no real drawings. This is how I work a lot, but as you can imagine, the process can get challenging if the project is larger & more complex.

The box sides & divider are made from scrap poplar (1/2”) and the floor is maple pallet wood (about 5/8” thick) The floor of the box & the center divider/handle are held in place with glued in dowel pins, 1/4” for the floor & 3/16” for the divider. I thought the dowel end grain would go well with the dovetail end grain. The dimensions are roughly 7” x 8”. I say roughly because, since this was a “practice making dovetails” project, I started with longer pieces, and each time I screwed up a set, I just cut off the end of the piece and started over. (would you believe the original size was 48” x 46” ...OK, maybe not quite that big) I used several coats of shellac and finished with 2 coats of water based poly.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

10 comments so far

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 5294 days

#1 posted 03-19-2008 08:58 PM

They look great from here. Nice and tight, good work WOW

-- Hope Never fails

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5461 days

#2 posted 03-19-2008 09:16 PM

I like it very much.

I’m curious about the poly-over-shellac finish. What is your thinking? I’m guessing you like the shallac color and add the poly for durability?

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

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5438 days

#3 posted 03-19-2008 09:24 PM

Your guess is right. I’ve gotten to like the shellac warm tones, and I have a lot of water based poly (long story) so I used some, partly for durability, and partly just to see how it would work. The water based poly dries really fast which I love about it. I tried it on a couple of pens and it’s quick & easy. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5308 days

#4 posted 03-19-2008 09:55 PM

SST sounds like a learning experience gone good the dovetails turned out really nice. I like the finish on it as well. Nice job.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5065 days

#5 posted 03-20-2008 03:07 AM


This is a nice use of “scrap” material. The dowels add nice details to the box. And, yes I can believe the size. I am trying to handcut dovetails now and I can assure you I would not have gotten this far even with a 48”x46” piece. :)

Your finish looks good as well.

Thanks for the post.

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

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5306 days

#6 posted 03-20-2008 06:14 AM

Really nice box. I thought I had cornered the market on length “Bordnerizing”, but apparently variable length box plans are more popular than I had imagined.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5117 days

#7 posted 03-20-2008 11:10 AM

Good job. The dovetails look very nice.

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 5047 days

#8 posted 03-20-2008 07:05 PM

A very good box for multiiple use made from scrap. The dowels add to its beauty. The divider cum handle is very innovative and looks nice

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2134 posts in 4991 days

#9 posted 03-20-2008 07:12 PM

Very nice and certainly a box with a lot of potential uses.

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5231 days

#10 posted 03-20-2008 07:24 PM

Great use of material rather than throwing it away.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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