Toybox Chest with Dovetails

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Project by Rick Sergi posted 03-28-2008 11:31 PM 4688 views 11 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a toybox I made for my grandson. The sides and top are solid red oak with a 3/4” oak-plywood base. The lid is a floating panel as you would do with a solid door. This was my first attempt at hand-cut (or really, any) dovetails. While they came out nicely, I’d recommend not starting with oak! Pretty hard stuff! I put soft-lift, safety lifts on that help raise the otherwise very-heavy lid and keep it in whatever angle you open it to. Probably went a bit overboard here by putting on redundant lifts but with small kids, I wanted to be safe (vs sorry).

-- Rick Sergi - Bethlehem, PA

15 comments so far

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 4770 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 11:44 PM

You didn’t go overboard on the lifts. The children are the most precious things you have. I lost my first to an accident just before his 8th birthday.

I usually gravitate toward highly-figured wood, but the straight grain on this box is perfect! That one will be around for more than a few generations.

If that’s you’re first attempt at dovetails, we’re going to be treated to some special photos in the future!

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5038 days

#2 posted 03-29-2008 01:14 AM

Great looking chest. Very simple clean lines! Nice execution.

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

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4872 days

#3 posted 03-29-2008 01:16 AM

Nice work. I agree with Earle, you didn’t go overboard at all. We as woodworkers keep safety first in the shop. It should be built into the projects we provide for child rich environments. So, good job.

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

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 4848 days

#4 posted 03-29-2008 02:22 AM

GREAT looking chest – clear precise lines with exceptional finish and great joinery, I agree with the reduntant saftey latch.
Kids will have it for their kids——nice family treasure——you should special engrave it.

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View gunner's profile


11 posts in 4814 days

#5 posted 03-29-2008 03:03 AM

Very nice work. When I was very young, I had a finger lopped off by a heavy desk lid that wasn’t supported well, so I always look at that stuff. They reinstalled my finger with no complications, but I’ll never forget that day.

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 4763 days

#6 posted 03-29-2008 05:41 AM

Yeah, I agree… can’t be too safe with kids.

This chest looks awesome!!!... I love how you made the grain match all the way around the corners… the straight lines in the grain are really cool.. and the “first attempt” dovetails look fantastic! Certainly the mark of a master craftsman. Great job, you’re grandson’s grandson will treasure it 50 years from now.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 5322 days

#7 posted 03-29-2008 06:05 AM

Very nice work, I really like the finish.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4924 days

#8 posted 03-29-2008 10:50 AM

That is very nice. Ilike the dovetails, but the whole package is a show-stopper.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4871 days

#9 posted 03-29-2008 02:02 PM


This is simply a beautiful toybox. The construction is straightforward and well executed with nice straight lines. The raised panel was a nice detail to add to the piece. And your dovetails add visual interest to the box and speak volumes about the craftmanship that went into it.

Very nice project.

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

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 4913 days

#10 posted 03-29-2008 06:55 PM

Nice Job! That will be one nice piece for the kids to use.

-- Kevin

View Napaman's profile


5534 posts in 5126 days

#11 posted 03-29-2008 07:17 PM

Welcome to Lj’s…and welcome to dovetails!!! THOSE ARE AMAZING…I have not tried any…but your comment to not start on such hard wood will help me…beautiful box…I really like the top…and the edge that comes around (oversize vs. the box) is a nice detail…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4773 days

#12 posted 04-21-2008 03:49 AM

Great looking dovetails Rick. This is a beautiful box!

Thanks for sharing it.

-- Martin, Kansas

View NJ_Joe's profile


6 posts in 4539 days

#13 posted 11-22-2008 04:38 PM

This looks like a great project. The dovetails turned out really well, and the raised panel in the lid gives it an additional bit of elegance.

Remarkable job. Thanks for sharing.

-- -- Joe --

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4431 days

#14 posted 05-26-2009 10:59 AM

That must weigh quite a bit! I’m with the rest – 2 extra hinges is nothing if it saves some fingers, or keeps a young one from a hard crack to the head. They’ll find things to bang their heads on anyway. We don’t have to provide custom-made solutions for it :)

It looks sharp and solid. Nice job on those dovetails, too!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4627 days

#15 posted 05-30-2009 06:48 AM

Hey Rick I really like this chest well done.


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