First handcut dovetail box

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Project by Julian posted 1915 days ago 2026 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After recently aquiring a very old set of E.A.Berg chisels, I felt compelled to have a serious go at getting proficient at cutting dovetails. Here is the result. It’s 10wide x 12long x 3 1/4 tall. The sides are tiger maple, cherry, and the bottom panel is walnut. The finish is BLO with my own home made beeswax finish. I must say that I’m hooked on the handcut dovetails. There is something so relaxing and satisfying about working with handtools. Plus there is no need for hearing protection, and you can hear your music without having to crank it up.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

13 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


15621 posts in 2801 days

#1 posted 1915 days ago

Wow! Beautiful lumber, beautiful joints!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View lew's profile


9914 posts in 2338 days

#2 posted 1915 days ago

Ditto What Charlie Said!!!!!!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2173 days

#3 posted 1915 days ago

The wood is beautiful, the box & the dovetail joint is beautiful.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View milehigh's profile


54 posts in 1923 days

#4 posted 1915 days ago

Nice joints. nice wood, and the finish looks perfect. Care to share your recipe?


View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1145 posts in 2582 days

#5 posted 1915 days ago

Nice simple project, good design and execution. Love the mix of woods.

-- Bob A in NJ

View kenn's profile


773 posts in 2303 days

#6 posted 1915 days ago

Nice job, nice box, great looking joints. How did you attach the bottom, in a groove? Is the bottom a raised panel?

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2108 days

#7 posted 1915 days ago

Thanks for the comments. To make the wax I took 1 one pound block of filtered beeswax, and melted it in a double boiler, then mixed it with a pint of turpentine. It comes out looking like lemon yogurt. To finish this project, I first applied the boiled linseed oil, and once it cured I put the beeswax on and rubbed it in with 0000 steel wool, and buffed it out with an old cotton t shirt. This finish gives an unbelievably satiny smooth finish that is very inviting to touch.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 2108 days

#8 posted 1915 days ago

Kenn, the bottom is 5/16 thick and is set in a 1/4” deep rabbet.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

402 posts in 2099 days

#9 posted 1915 days ago

Well, it looks like you got really “serious about becoming proficient” at making dovetails by hand. They (and your box) look great. Now I just have to cut some in mesquite.

-- jstegall

View Kate's profile


396 posts in 2457 days

#10 posted 1915 days ago

beautiful job. Thanks for posting your recipe for the wax.

-- Kate,

View Dusty56's profile


11638 posts in 2271 days

#11 posted 1915 days ago

Great design and beautiful woods and finish : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View spanky46's profile


977 posts in 1973 days

#12 posted 1915 days ago

Very special!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 2213 days

#13 posted 1914 days ago

Beautiful wood and nice tight joints. Great job!

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

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