Joiner and Cabinetmaker School Box

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Project by upriver posted 865 days ago 2013 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working through the book The Joiner and Cabinet Maker, and this is the 2nd project. I have already made 3 of the “packing boxes” and will make a few more of these school boxes before doing the chest of drawers. My goal is to test the claim that co-author Chris Schwarz made in stating that working through this book would result in skills required to move onward as a “journeyman” in the traditional hand-tool sense. I have been woodoworking on a casual level for decades, but I have only taken hand-tool approaches seriously with this project, and am loving every moment of it.

If you have not read this book, the box here is meant for a wealthy young school boy to take his books, snacks, and toys with him on a carriage ride and then house his possessions during the school day. It has dovetailed corners, an inset lock and hinges, and was done from rough lumber entirely with hand tools. In the book, “deal” or soft pine was used, but I cannot find that locally so this is alder from a tree on my road, milled with a portable gas-powered mill and then dimensioned entirely with hand planes.

Its been a lot of fun and a real education in traditional woodworking!

11 comments so far

View josh's profile


887 posts in 1194 days

#1 posted 865 days ago

This is a nice box. It looks great.

-- Josh; Former Pennsylvanian, current Coloradan

View workerinwood's profile


2708 posts in 1692 days

#2 posted 865 days ago

Well done, great job!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View OldKranky's profile


121 posts in 957 days

#3 posted 865 days ago

Very nice work on the dovetails!

-- Better looking at it than for it....

View helluvawreck's profile


15582 posts in 1492 days

#4 posted 865 days ago

It’s very nicely done and I hope that you have fun on all of the rest of the projects in the book.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- 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 daydrik's profile


64 posts in 1041 days

#5 posted 865 days ago

great looking trunk! where do you get the book?

-- "by all means read what the experts say. Just don't let it get in the way of your woodworking" ;John Brown

View upriver's profile


22 posts in 1204 days

#6 posted 865 days ago


The book is available from Lost Art Press. I know Tools for Working Wood carries it, and Lie-Nielsen might also.

By the way, I have documented the experience of learning the skills in the book on my blog:

Feel free to read along!

View nuttree's profile


244 posts in 1949 days

#7 posted 865 days ago

I have just started focusing on hand tools, myself. What a great journey. Very nice job, by the way.

-- I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2181 days

#8 posted 864 days ago

Looking good, you sure have a talent

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View gfadvm's profile


10717 posts in 1315 days

#9 posted 864 days ago

That shows a lot of skill and craftsmanship. It also means a lot that you started with a tree and arrived at this end point.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View upriver's profile


22 posts in 1204 days

#10 posted 864 days ago

Thanks everyone, and I agree that working with the wood right from the tree has been a very exciting and nourishing. I am spoiled by living in the Pacific Northwest where alder grows like crazy and people don’t see the value in in it. On the other hand, we get none of the beautiful hardwoods seen in the midwest and south…

I will be making a few more of these boxes, and as they improve I will post more. Thanks for looking!

View deborelli's profile


79 posts in 858 days

#11 posted 850 days ago

I really like this, especially the hinges against the light wood.

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