Last Saturday, after making four practice corners with hand cut dovetail joints, I began making a box with dovetails. I planned on doing the four sides and checking the fit of the dovetails. Then I would cut two 1/4 inch dadoes near the bottom of each side with pins paralell to the bottom edge just above the pins. In the two sides with tails I would cut a stop dado in the same position and parallel with the bottom edge. These would be finished off with a 1/4 chisel so that the dado would not go all the way through the dovetail. The 1/4 inch dado would contain the bottom which would simply be a 3/4 inch piece with a rabbet all the way around so that it’s 1/4 in lip would sit in the dado. I would also make a center partition that would also act as a handle for the box. The center partion containing the handle was simply fit into two dados that ran across the width of the parts with the pins, that is, from top edge to bottom edge.
My dovetail joints were better than the practice joints and there were no major problems that came up so all went well with the box. The pictures should be self explanatory. I always cut my tails first because I find that it is easier and more accurate to mark the pins that way.
After this point I tapped the sides apart and cut the dados for the bottom paralell with the bottom edges. I also made the bottom and the center partition with the handle cut out. Then I put two dados in the pin sides for the end of the center partition to sit in.
Even though I know that my dovetails are not perfect, they are improving. I may go through with this whole episode again this coming weekend in an effort to improve my dovetails even more. I am happy with the box and will probably put some sort of finish on it and put it in my projects section. It wil make a nice little utility box for my shop.
-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau