Hand cut dovetail box

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 1309 days ago 3901 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 1515 days

#1 posted 1309 days ago

handsome looking box..nice choice of woods

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View bvdon's profile


456 posts in 1617 days

#2 posted 1309 days ago

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


View stefang's profile


12592 posts in 1936 days

#3 posted 1309 days ago

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


4806 posts in 1776 days

#4 posted 1309 days ago

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 2694 days

#5 posted 1309 days ago

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

240 posts in 1725 days

#6 posted 1309 days ago

Thanks, all!

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

-- Tony -

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


15439 posts in 1469 days

#7 posted 1309 days ago

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


3148 posts in 2425 days

#8 posted 1309 days ago

Nice looking box, the hand work came out wonderful.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 2849 days

#9 posted 1309 days ago


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

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 1927 days

#10 posted 1309 days ago

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

View a1Jim's profile


112000 posts in 2179 days

#11 posted 1309 days ago

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


4031 posts in 1890 days

#12 posted 1309 days ago

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

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Richard 's profile


387 posts in 1723 days

#13 posted 1309 days ago

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


14609 posts in 2278 days

#14 posted 1309 days ago

Awesome box! I love curly maple :-)

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

View Triumph1's profile


833 posts in 1681 days

#15 posted 1309 days ago

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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