Salvaged Pallet Wood Dovetail Box with Hinged Lid

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Project by BerBer5985 posted 01-24-2012 05:36 PM 3914 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I keep building boxes mostly because I enjoy them and their neat to give away, but because I don’t have a dedicated workbench (or really an open table to work on other than my table saw) to work on and it limits me because my shop is so unorganized right now and I need to build my workbench. So instead of doing all that, I build boxes ;). This box was made of salvaged pallet wood, my guess is poplar, but no clue.

I actually screwed up a few times on this one, but was able to fix it so it would work. The first screw up was I mortised the hinges into the box first and not the top making it very difficult to set the hinges in the top, so I cut the top of the box off (hence why there’s one less pin then there was originally. Then because the hinges at lowes are so thin and you have to mortise on a angle, I mortised too deep on the one side and box was binding and wouldn’t close all the way. So I planed the back of the lid top down with the smoothing plane on a slight angle, reattached the top, and voila. Then, this was the first attempt at shellac and the first 2 coats were applied with a 2” Nylox brush from Lowes which gave me a lot of runs, so I sanded them down as best I could, then went and bought a gold taklon brush from the art store. Much easier and smoother, but still showing a few runs from the first 2 coats.

The other thing on this was everything but the original jointing and dimensioning was done by hand including the roundovers. As I progress, I’ve been adding one more element to each box to make it a little more complicated. After I build my bench and get my shop completely organized, I’ll start with some small furniture and cabinets and what not. So the morals of my long winded story with this box is:
1)Use quality hardware if you can (makes it so much easier to set correctly.)
2)Use the right finishing supplies
3) Always mortise the hinges in the smaller piece first

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

11 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


3396 posts in 3027 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 07:16 PM

Greg, Great salvage from a pallet.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View terry603's profile


319 posts in 2006 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 09:01 PM

i like the size,looks great

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View jumbojack's profile


1483 posts in 1716 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 09:05 PM

Man I love reclaimed wood. I am a pallet hound. I see hundreds a day, and save the one or two I see to work on later.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Bobsboxes's profile


798 posts in 1756 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 09:21 PM

You have to love taking scrap and bring out the beauty of the wood. Great looking box.

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

View a1Jim's profile


113839 posts in 2669 days

#5 posted 01-25-2012 04:52 AM

Very nice box good job.

-- Custom furniture

View tomd's profile


1957 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 01-25-2012 05:38 AM

Very nice looking box, like the color and grain.

-- Tom D

View neffcustom's profile


10 posts in 1409 days

#7 posted 01-25-2012 06:38 AM

Wow, from a pallet?! Very nice job. I love the grain. What finish did you use?

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 1512 days

#8 posted 01-25-2012 02:12 PM

Thanks guys! The finish is just 3 coats of zinzer bullseye clear shellac.

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View Roger's profile


17851 posts in 1896 days

#9 posted 01-25-2012 04:28 PM

mighty fine recycled pallet

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Dangstraight's profile


2 posts in 59 days

#10 posted 10-03-2015 12:27 AM

Can anyone tell me the history of this dovetail design? I have an antique dresser with French writing in the drawers to identify placement. Dovetail looks to be made using hand tools. I’m trying to figure out where and when it was made using this joinery as a clue.

View Dangstraight's profile


2 posts in 59 days

#11 posted 10-03-2015 12:29 AM

Beautiful work on your box BTW.

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