Hand cut dovetail box

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 12-27-2010 08:36 PM 5973 views 11 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In October, our local woodworking club hosted a class by Texas furnituremaker Frank Strazza. I put the last coat of finish on it late on Christmas eve, and gave it to my wife as a gift.

The class was to build a dovetailed jewelry box entirely by hand. I’m ashamed to say I have never cut dovetails by hand. In addition to the dovetails, the frame and panel lid was also made by hand – grooves, mortise and tenon, raised panel. The box is made from curly maple and walnut. The finish is shellac.

The last photo shows one of the ten Moxon twin screw vise I built for the club.

-- Tony -

18 comments so far

View dub560's profile


606 posts in 2003 days

#1 posted 12-27-2010 08:49 PM

handsome looking box..nice choice of woods

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View bvdon's profile


466 posts in 2105 days

#2 posted 12-27-2010 08:55 PM

Looks nice… try out a Japanese Pull Saw sometime—you might prefer that over the saw you’re using.


View stefang's profile


14955 posts in 2424 days

#3 posted 12-27-2010 09:08 PM

What a great job you did on this box. The design really sets off the wood. You also did a fine job on the dovetails and the panels. I find that work done with handtools is not necessarily better, but I do find the process more satisfying when I do it that way.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2264 days

#4 posted 12-27-2010 09:42 PM

Beautiful job !

My wife loves her folding Ott light (looks like that’s what you’ve got, there). I think the high-CRI lighting is great for shop use.

But … yeah … love your handcut DTs, and the box, generally !

-- -- Neil

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 3182 days

#5 posted 12-27-2010 09:45 PM

Beautiful in oh so many ways Tony… the wood, the joinery, the design… wonderful piece.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

251 posts in 2213 days

#6 posted 12-27-2010 09:48 PM

Thanks, all!

Yeah, the Ott light came in really handy. My wife used to have an Ott light.

-- Tony -

View helluvawreck's profile


19507 posts in 1956 days

#7 posted 12-27-2010 10:10 PM

That’s a beautiful box, Tony. You did a fine job on it.

-- 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

View blackcherry's profile


3251 posts in 2913 days

#8 posted 12-27-2010 11:46 PM

Nice looking box, the hand work came out wonderful.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3336 days

#9 posted 12-27-2010 11:49 PM


-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 2415 days

#10 posted 12-27-2010 11:51 PM

Great choice of woods and how it’s put together. The tone on tone dovetail effect is beautiful.

View a1Jim's profile


113832 posts in 2667 days

#11 posted 12-27-2010 11:55 PM

She zammm
This is one cool box Tony . I never would have guessed these were among the first hand cut dovetails you had done. Nice work and great choices of wood too.

-- Custom furniture

View bigike's profile


4047 posts in 2378 days

#12 posted 12-28-2010 12:47 AM

good work on the handcut dovetails the contrasting woods are great too.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 2211 days

#13 posted 12-28-2010 03:55 AM

Tony, what size is your box, it almost looks like a chest. I been wanting to build something like this for a friend’s wedding but a tad bigger as a wedding chest.

I like the contrast between the walnut and maple, the striping of the maple really stands out, I really like your design.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16740 posts in 2766 days

#14 posted 12-28-2010 04:17 AM

Awesome box! I love curly maple :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Triumph1's profile


856 posts in 2169 days

#15 posted 12-28-2010 02:58 PM

Hand cut dovetails…I am jealous. It loks beautiful. Thank you for posting.

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

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