Tissue Box Cover - First Handcut Dovetails

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Project by Deaser posted 878 days ago 1237 views 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a tissue box cover I built for my brother as a birthday gift. He asked for one of these about a year ago. It was my first attempt at hand-cut dovetails. The sides are Poplar, milled to 3/8” thick. My new Lie-Nielsen Progressive Pitch Dovetail Saw cut like butta. (gloat…ahem) Wow, what a pleasure it is to use that saw! The sawing went more smoothly than expected, but I struggled most with the chisel work. I think I need to upgrade my Stanley Fat Max chisels, improve my sharpening skills, or consider a smaller bevel angle for Poplar? Probably all 3.

Once the sides were assembled, I was happy enough with the results that I decided to use a nice piece of Curly Cherry I had for the top. It’s 1/2” thick. I’m definitely a fan of Curly Cherry!

For the finished, I used a coat of boiled linseed oil, followed by a coat of dewaxed shellac, and then 3 coats of oil-based poly.

I liked this project so much I almost kept it for myself, but I’m glad I didn’t because my brother was pretty psyched when he opened his gift!

-- Steve, Pennsylvania

5 comments so far

View Hoakie's profile


306 posts in 2669 days

#1 posted 878 days ago

Very cool and nice dovetails…. especially if those are truly your first ones…surely you have some practice ones laying around your shop somewhere :)

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

View Dusty56's profile


11644 posts in 2321 days

#2 posted 878 days ago

Nice job ! Nice Curly Cherry : )
What did the Shellac do in between the BLO and the coats of oil poly ?

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

View Deaser's profile


51 posts in 1050 days

#3 posted 877 days ago

Thanks guys. Honestly, this was my first attempt. It seemed to take forever, but I really enjoyed the process of creating dovetails by hand. I used this as a practice project for the show rack I plan to build for my wife.

Dusty56, first let me say that I’m a novice when it comes to finishing. I like to use the Zinsser Bullseye Sealcoat after a coat of oil, as it dries quickly and sands to a fairly smooth finish after a single coat. I’ve used this as a final finish in the past with good results and could have done that, but after I applied the shellac, I decided I wanted to go with a finish coat that would hold up better to contact with water in case it was used in a bathroom. Was the shellac necessary? Probably not. But it dries faster than poly and in my opinion sands more easily than poly so it works well as an in-between sanding sealer.

-- Steve, Pennsylvania

View Dusty56's profile


11644 posts in 2321 days

#4 posted 877 days ago

Thanks for the explanation : )
I assumed that with both being oil based , they would be compatible , but maybe the Poly wouldn’t stick to the BLO ?
I know that I’ve used oil based stains in the past with Poly for a finish , with no problems.
I guess some experimentation is in order : ) LOL

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

View Dave's profile


11159 posts in 1473 days

#5 posted 867 days ago

A very nice box and wonderful dove tails. Really its impressive.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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