Dovetail Splined Box

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Project by Trev_Batstone posted 03-30-2012 02:15 AM 4132 views 6 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My latest project which I just finished this morning is this dovetail splined box. This is my first time ever of creating anything with dovetails, but I was inspired by Peter Dunsmore’s YouTube video on how to make the jig for cutting the dovetail slots, so I made the jig and went to work on this box.

The box sides are reclaimed mahogany which a friend gave me a few weeks ago. The top insert is 1/2” solid (not veneered) birds-eye maple, which I sliced off a burl that I bought a few weeks ago. The dovetail splines are birch and the lifting knob is a small piece of poplar which is recessed into the top of the box. This box features quadrant hinges, which I have never worked with before (again inspired by Peter Dunsmore). The quadrant hinges keep the lid open at 100 degrees. During the construction process, I made the box in a completely closed fashion, then cut the box open on the table saw, which kept the grain pattern matching with the top and bottom portions of the box. The bottom is lined with red stiffened felt which was applied to the bottom piece of 1/4” baltic birch ply which was rabbitted into the bottom before the box was cut open. Finished with tung oil only. The box measures 9”x9”x4”. Thanks for looking.


36 comments so far

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4324 days

#1 posted 03-30-2012 02:33 AM

Great looking box. I really like the top and the hinges.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Boxguy's profile


2904 posts in 3548 days

#2 posted 03-30-2012 02:47 AM


Anyone who can install quadrant hinges well has my undying admiration. Beautiful work. Dovetails are much harder than flat splines.

I wonder how this would look with a lift protruding out of the face instead of inset in the top?

I looked back and saw your press. How is that working and have you tried it when attaching solid tops to boxes?

-- Big Al in IN

View Roque's profile


65 posts in 3542 days

#3 posted 03-30-2012 02:50 AM

Very nice box. Excellent dovetail work.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3587 days

#4 posted 03-30-2012 02:52 AM

Nice looking box, the dovetailed splines look great and such a nice contrast in the wood.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Trev_Batstone's profile


317 posts in 3774 days

#5 posted 03-30-2012 02:54 AM

To Boxguy.. The press is working fine. I have made a couple ofpanels, but have not incorporated them into any projects as yet. I’m going to try hide glueing in the near future.


View peterrum's profile


153 posts in 3960 days

#6 posted 03-30-2012 02:57 AM

That is a great looking box. Good job. Nice to see that burl in action. You keep increasing the difficulty level with your work and its paying off.

-- Carpe Diem

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3699 days

#7 posted 03-30-2012 03:05 AM

Beautiful box. The birdseye maple top is really nice, as is the contrasting colour of the mahogany sides, maple top and the dovetail splines.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4079 days

#8 posted 03-30-2012 03:58 AM

Nice one Trev. Good balance and a solid feel. I really like the birdseye.
Keep up the fine work.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Ian Hawthorne's profile

Ian Hawthorne

297 posts in 3929 days

#9 posted 03-30-2012 04:07 AM

Great looking box Trev – nice contrast topped of with fine work.

-- Worlds Best Box Hardware!

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4386 days

#10 posted 03-30-2012 04:25 AM

a very fine specimen of a box. Many well done details. I have not worked much with mahogany. I thought it was Walnut. The two go well together. I have made a few boxes where I cut the top away like you did. Not sure why i stopped! It is a good method. tanks for letting us see this.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View lizardhead's profile


654 posts in 4122 days

#11 posted 03-30-2012 05:27 AM

Love this box—nice work

-- Good, Better, Best--Never let it rest---Always make your Good be Better & your Better Best

View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 3914 days

#12 posted 03-30-2012 05:31 AM

Really nice box!

-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4858 days

#13 posted 03-30-2012 05:33 AM

View Chris's profile


31 posts in 4124 days

#14 posted 03-30-2012 08:12 AM

Really nice looking box, I especially like contrast of the woods and how well they go together. Really eye catching. I haven’t used the quadrant hinges either, did you have any trouble installing them?

-- May the Lord bless you and keep you

View bigkev's profile


198 posts in 3909 days

#15 posted 03-30-2012 01:26 PM


-- Kevin, South Carolina

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