Magazine and Mail Box/Holder

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Project by Cole McFarland posted 08-02-2012 12:11 AM 1466 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Magazine and Mail Box/Holder
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Made this over the past few days for my mom, used scrap cedar, and plywood for the bottom. Trimed it out in a darker colored cedar. Still open to all ideas! I’m confused with dovetailing so if someone could explain what i need to do please do. I do have a coping saw, miter saw, table saw, circular saw, and several others, but no band saw. I just don’t understand it and my father does not like furniture work. So he refuses to help figure it out with me.

6 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


2122 posts in 1687 days

#1 posted 08-02-2012 02:33 AM

Cole, Welcome to Lumber Jocks. It looks like you have a good sense of design. What you built is very functional and useful. Nice job.

I am the wrong person to help you with dovetails. I simply don’t find they are worth the time. However you could master corner splines with the tools you have. But, you may need to buy a dado blade if you don’t have one. Check this blog item by clicking here A planer will open new possibilities for your work.

-- Big Al in IN

View Cole McFarland's profile

Cole McFarland

25 posts in 1549 days

#2 posted 08-02-2012 02:57 AM

What is the difference between dovetails and splines? I notice that splines are no more than a mere saw kerf wide. And dovetails are much bigger. But i do not understand the purpose of either. And just so everybody knows, I had to use the bottom as Plywood due to the fact that i am on a VERY tight budget and my woodpile was running too low to put towards a floor.

View Boxguy's profile


2122 posts in 1687 days

#3 posted 08-02-2012 06:52 AM

Cole, a spline is a saw kerf, however it can be widened by using a dado cut to be quite wide. I have put 1/2 wide splines in some boxes.

Dovetails are traditional joints and are angled about 7 degrees. Because they are angled they will lock together and won’t come apart. Look at a drawer in a piece of quality furniture or quality cabinets and you will see a dovetail joint holding the front on the drawers.

If you click on these blue links it will take you to two possible books.

You seem to need such a wide range of basic information that I would suggest you buy a book by any number of authors. This is my favorite.

Or this one- 1&keywords=basic+box-making. This is my second choice.

Your local library my have some books or be able to get one for you for free. I will be glad to answer specific questions as you go, but you really need to get a book that will help you fill in all the blanks you have at the moment. I am sure there are You-Tube videos on cutting dovetails, but I would suggest a good old fashioned book would serve you better at this stage.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ken90712's profile


16864 posts in 2608 days

#4 posted 08-02-2012 09:09 AM

Nice work, Welcome!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View balidoug's profile


396 posts in 1898 days

#5 posted 08-02-2012 02:20 PM

Cole, you’re off to a great start. Boxguy’s book suggestions are a great next step, or brows your local library (or Amazon) for something more your your liking. There are a ton of resources for beginners. The web also has some great information: just type “how to …”.

Quick response to your questions: dovetails are a series of interlocking notches which allow you to join two board faces at right angles. If you look at a picture of the joint (lots here on LJ) you’ll see why the name: the “tail” notch fans out like a bird’s tail. Splines are typically used to strengthen a mitre joint (where the two joining board ends are cut at 45*). The dovetail joint is very strong, and very visible. Mitre joints cannot be seen but without reinforcement are not very strong.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 1417 days

#6 posted 12-10-2012 08:36 PM

Great job on the box if you are doing great work like that at your age I think you have a bright future ahead in woodworking

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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