Half Blind Counter Tray

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Project by Mosquito posted 12-22-2013 09:35 PM 1770 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So named, because of the half blind dovetails. This was originally intended to be a Fathers Day gift for my dad, but that deadline came up too quickly. It then sat on my counter unglued and unfinished for almost half the year until I decided to finally quit being lazy and get it done for Christmas.

We have a family cabin on a lake (kind of, Lake City is on Lake Pepin, which is a wide spot in the Mississippi), and there’s always been a pile of stuff on the counter by the door. Cellphones, keys, wallets, sunglasses, etc. Stuff that doesn’t go well with bathing suits and water. I figured this might help out with the large pile, and make it more organized (My dad, brother, and I typically have a pile of cellphone, wallet, keys etc).

My second foray into half blind dovetails turned out pretty well I think, but I did have to do a little damage control. Between the 4 corners, I had to use about 10-12 different wedges to fill some gaps. Still practicing :-) I also hid the groove for the bottom for the first time, using a half tail in this one too. This was another strictly hand tool project.

Front and back are Mahogany, sides and dividers are Red Oak, and the bottom is 1/8” birch ply.

The finish regiment is as follows:
  • 1 coat of 3/8 cup Dewaxed Shellac with 2 drops of Vintage Maple TransTint dye
  • Sanded with 320 grit
  • 3 coats Minwax Polycrylic semi gloss, sanding with 400 grit between coats (ran out of 320)
  • Lightly sanded with 1000 grit
  • Waxed with paste wax applied by rag and buffed

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

13 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7460 posts in 2984 days

#1 posted 12-22-2013 10:59 PM

Good idea Mos and the dovetails look fine to me. Sure to put a smile on your dad’s face.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

18959 posts in 2709 days

#2 posted 12-22-2013 11:10 PM

Nice dove tails. Try them with the blue wig on next time, that might help!!

Nice piece. It will look great in the cabin.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mosquito's profile


9459 posts in 2433 days

#3 posted 12-23-2013 12:25 AM

Thanks Andy! It’s the second counter tray I’ve made, first was for me, but only had 2 compartments. Only through dovetails as well.

Thanks Don, that thing was way too warm to work in lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View terryR's profile


7339 posts in 2450 days

#4 posted 12-23-2013 01:36 AM

Looks great, Mos! Love the color of the tinted shellac.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Mosquito's profile


9459 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 12-23-2013 01:53 AM

Thanks Terry. It was just enough to bring out the contrast between the two a little better. Overall I’m happy with the color.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


15564 posts in 2760 days

#6 posted 12-23-2013 04:51 AM

^ Ditto to all the above, very nice work. Love half-blinds, they’re my favorite task with chisels.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View bondogaposis's profile


4981 posts in 2492 days

#7 posted 12-23-2013 01:09 PM

Nice job on the dovetails, I’m sure your father is going to love it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AnthonyReed's profile


10002 posts in 2581 days

#8 posted 12-23-2013 01:32 PM

Good looking tray Mos. Well done man. Red oak and mahogany are very complimentary.

-- ~Tony

View Mosquito's profile


9459 posts in 2433 days

#9 posted 12-24-2013 03:22 AM

Thanks guys. I have grown quite fond of red oak and mahogany myself. if nothing else, I like the texture/grain contrast

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 3110 days

#10 posted 12-24-2013 04:28 AM

Glad you got around to finishing it. It looks great and should be a big help organizing that pile.

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View Mosquito's profile


9459 posts in 2433 days

#11 posted 12-24-2013 05:36 AM

Thanks Greg :)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3293 days

#12 posted 12-26-2013 10:08 PM

Great job Mos, the DT’s turned out great, I wouldn’t have noticed any patches if you hadn’t pointed them out.

Great hand tool work! Those dado’s look pristine.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Mosquito's profile


9459 posts in 2433 days

#13 posted 12-27-2013 02:36 AM

Thanks Mauricio! Isn’t that the point of patches? lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

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