Men's valet - lessons learned

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Project by bygrace posted 02-12-2014 02:21 AM 2717 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Men’s valet I made for my son’s 22nd birthday. Made of Padauk and Peruvian walnut. I love Padauk with a few coats of Watco natural. Such a deep, rich color. One side is hinged, and the side with the coin/key depression lifts off. I want to learn how to make dovetails and figured these lap corners would take me one step closer. The finish is three coats of Watco natural, a few coats of spray lacquer, and paste wax.

Lessons learned: #1. clean off your drill bit when drilling multiple holes. The base is attached with screws, and when drilling on the drill press the wood dust became impacted on the bit and left no where for the dust from the next hole to go. This resulted in a few small cracks in the side. #2. I will bevel cut the top a little steeper next time. Amost had a complete tragedy. If I hade used the screws that came with the hinge I would have drilled through the top to install them. Luckily I noticed how thin the wood was and found some 3/8” screw that are probably just a hair under the surface. I was holding my breath when I in installed them. #3. Since the screws where so close to going through the top I shimmed the hinge slightly which raised the hinged side a little higher than the other side.

Any project I learn something is a good project!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

16 comments so far

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 3045 days

#1 posted 02-12-2014 03:20 AM

If the piece is perfect it probably came from a sweat shop in China. With a few flaw or mistakes, people know it is handmade and is so much better. Even if I could do a perfect box, I’d leave a boo-boo as my trademark.

Box is beautiful and the combination of woods is just great. And your son will love it even more because it was made by you.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View TRHeath's profile


75 posts in 3038 days

#2 posted 02-12-2014 03:27 AM

Very nice. I actually did drill through the hinge holes on a jewelry box lid so I took some ebony and turned it down to make small dowels to plug the holes hoping it would look like they belonged there. Mistakes are how we learn. Not a great picture but you can see what I was going for.

-- So much to little time.....

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

520 posts in 3785 days

#3 posted 02-12-2014 04:23 AM

Very nice looking box. Good choice of wood, colors and design.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30677 posts in 3789 days

#4 posted 02-12-2014 04:31 AM

Nice design, awesome color

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1674 posts in 4114 days

#5 posted 02-12-2014 04:38 AM

Great looking box,great wood combo.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3275 days

#6 posted 02-12-2014 10:00 AM

Very nice mens’ valet …thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View 489tad's profile


4153 posts in 4462 days

#7 posted 02-12-2014 12:05 PM

Nice job Andy. Style and finish are great. I’ve been to that hing screw party before.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View clarkey's profile


468 posts in 4507 days

#8 posted 02-12-2014 12:27 PM

Looks great

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 3061 days

#9 posted 02-12-2014 12:58 PM

love the wood combination, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4483 days

#10 posted 02-12-2014 10:50 PM

Nice Project Indeed! Thanks For Sharing.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View fuigb's profile


599 posts in 4408 days

#11 posted 02-13-2014 12:54 AM

Looks like a little casket! :)

Well done.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4598 days

#12 posted 02-13-2014 01:41 AM

Great looking valet box! That padauk is striking! I’m sure your son will really enjoy it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4141 days

#13 posted 02-13-2014 02:06 AM

Great looking valet. Been there with the screw holes! That’s one reason all my hinges are wooden and glued now!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jerry's profile


3577 posts in 3099 days

#14 posted 02-13-2014 02:17 AM

Really really nice. If you want to learn to do hand cut dovetails, I learned from watching David Barron’s videos on YouTube. Watch both of these videos because the second one shows you how to undercut, a very important step in getting a nice crisp line.

Also, there is a third video concerning this subject here that shows you how to make hand cut dovetails without leaving a baseline mark that is usually left by the marking gauge, something which I don’t really like to see on a nice piece.

You will need a good marking knife, a fine dovetail saw, some very sharp chisels, and don’t forget to make your cuts on the waste side.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View bygrace's profile


198 posts in 3420 days

#15 posted 02-13-2014 02:29 AM

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. They are much appreciated. And thanks for the links Jerry!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

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