A Box of Firsts

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Project by nobuckle posted 03-10-2013 04:20 AM 2643 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yeah I know, it”s just a box. To me it means a great deal more than that. This is the first project I’ve completed where nothing but hand tools were used.

Firsts for me include;
-Planing everything to thickness using a scrub plane and my jack plane
-Creating the dovetail joints
-Creating the 1/4” rabbets in the box bottom to allow it to recess into the box

When it came time to do the dovetails I was extremely methodical. All in all it took me about 4 hours to create the tails and pins. I know that time will decrease as I become more proficient at creating dovetail joints.

I originally wanted to create the 1/4” deep rabbets using a chisel plane that I made, but that didn’t work out very well. I went with a chisel and mallet instead. The picture that shows the inside reveals some of the flaws made during the chiseling process.

I can’t stress enough the importance of a knife line. It’s amazing how clearly a knife line can be seen as you get close to bringing the material to final thickness or width. I learned I could create consistent results as long as didn’t cut past my knife line. Also, if you do not have a bench hook or a shooting board let me say that there is no way I could have completed this project without it. I highly recommend that you invest the time to make one, or several for that matter. They truly are worth their weight in gold.

Over all I am very pleased with how this simple (yeah, right!) little box turned out. I made it for my daughter who has decided to put her finger polish collection in it.

Thanks for taking time to look and read. Take care.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

11 comments so far

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 2817 days

#1 posted 03-10-2013 04:37 AM

Love it. Those are awfully tight looking dovetails too. Mine still look like they’re made for a live-action Flintstones remake.

View Natalie 's profile


367 posts in 2293 days

#2 posted 03-10-2013 05:19 AM

Great project. If you hone your skills with hand tools you will save yourself tons of time a frustration having to do certain things that take more time to set up the machine as they do to do it by hand, and it’s so ZEN!

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

View LUMBERDONKS's profile


3 posts in 2231 days

#3 posted 03-10-2013 05:51 AM




View Oldtool's profile


2761 posts in 2518 days

#4 posted 03-10-2013 12:36 PM

This project came out very nice, great looking dovetails. I think you’ve discovered something the occurred to me while visiting the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker Shop in Colonial Williamsburg; the old ways are a lot of fun, and provide a great deal of satisfaction to the user (well, at least for me they do). Aside from the usual benefits touted by hand tool enthusiast’s, no dust, no noise, etc., this method provides a degree of accomplishment with a craft- again, at least for me this is the case.
I agree with you about the knife lines, and not going beyond the markings. Proper layout and adherence to that layout creates a great deal of accuracy with the results, plus it’s just plain fun.
Enjoy your new found method of woodworking.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Gary's profile


1360 posts in 4651 days

#5 posted 03-10-2013 02:45 PM

That’s a gem. Nice work. Looks like great DTs.

-- Gary, Florida

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 3088 days

#6 posted 03-10-2013 03:42 PM

LUMBERDONKS, it’s being used by my daughter to hold her collection of fingernail polish.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3194 days

#7 posted 03-10-2013 04:07 PM

Nice work, Doug. It looks like you learned a lot on this project.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ben's profile


273 posts in 4040 days

#8 posted 03-10-2013 06:34 PM

Great job. Your dovetails look nice and tight. I too have been trying to use hand tools almost exclusively. Projects may look simple, but they sure don’t let on how much time and effort goes into them.

-- Do something nice for somebody

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 3088 days

#9 posted 03-10-2013 07:18 PM

I appreciate the kind words and support. There is still so much more to learn.

I have to admit that when I saw someone post a box I would say to myself “what’s the big deal about making a box?” What a fool I am to make such statements! A box is not just a box. I’ve learned that by making boxes one can learn the valuable skills needed for case work.

Suffice it to say that I have a new found respect for those of you who make “simple” boxes.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View mafe's profile


11848 posts in 3416 days

#10 posted 03-11-2013 08:23 PM

Impressed here, really nice tails.
A box is not a box – this is a really special box – period!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Roger's profile


20993 posts in 3131 days

#11 posted 03-12-2013 12:14 AM

Nice. I need to get into some dovetails

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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