Men's valet - lessons learned

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Project by bygrace posted 191 days ago 1270 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Men’s valet I made for my son’s 22nd birthday. Made of Padauk and Peruvian walnut. I love Padauk with a few coats of Watco natural. Such a deep, rich color. One side is hinged, and the side with the coin/key depression lifts off. I want to learn how to make dovetails and figured these lap corners would take me one step closer. The finish is three coats of Watco natural, a few coats of spray lacquer, and paste wax.

Lessons learned: #1. clean off your drill bit when drilling multiple holes. The base is attached with screws, and when drilling on the drill press the wood dust became impacted on the bit and left no where for the dust from the next hole to go. This resulted in a few small cracks in the side. #2. I will bevel cut the top a little steeper next time. Amost had a complete tragedy. If I hade used the screws that came with the hinge I would have drilled through the top to install them. Luckily I noticed how thin the wood was and found some 3/8” screw that are probably just a hair under the surface. I was holding my breath when I in installed them. #3. Since the screws where so close to going through the top I shimmed the hinge slightly which raised the hinged side a little higher than the other side.

Any project I learn something is a good project!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

16 comments so far

View OldWrangler's profile


519 posts in 220 days

#1 posted 191 days ago

If the piece is perfect it probably came from a sweat shop in China. With a few flaw or mistakes, people know it is handmade and is so much better. Even if I could do a perfect box, I’d leave a boo-boo as my trademark.

Box is beautiful and the combination of woods is just great. And your son will love it even more because it was made by you.

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View TRHeath's profile


44 posts in 213 days

#2 posted 191 days ago

Very nice. I actually did drill through the hinge holes on a jewelry box lid so I took some ebony and turned it down to make small dowels to plug the holes hoping it would look like they belonged there. Mistakes are how we learn. Not a great picture but you can see what I was going for.

-- So much to little time.....

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

236 posts in 961 days

#3 posted 191 days ago

Very nice looking box. Good choice of wood, colors and design.

-- J.C.Sellers

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13735 posts in 964 days

#4 posted 191 days ago

Nice design, awesome color

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bugz's profile


773 posts in 1290 days

#5 posted 191 days ago

Great looking box,great wood combo.

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

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 450 days

#6 posted 190 days ago

Very nice mens’ valet …thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View 489tad's profile


2278 posts in 1637 days

#7 posted 190 days ago

Nice job Andy. Style and finish are great. I’ve been to that hing screw party before.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View clarkey's profile


443 posts in 1682 days

#8 posted 190 days ago

Looks great

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1041 posts in 236 days

#9 posted 190 days ago

love the wood combination, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View Rick's profile


6454 posts in 1658 days

#10 posted 190 days ago

Nice Project Indeed! Thanks For Sharing.


-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View fuigb's profile


179 posts in 1583 days

#11 posted 190 days ago

Looks like a little casket! :)

Well done.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Mean_Dean's profile


1353 posts in 1773 days

#12 posted 190 days ago

Great looking valet box! That padauk is striking! I’m sure your son will really enjoy it!

-- Dean

View gfadvm's profile


10721 posts in 1316 days

#13 posted 190 days ago

Great looking valet. Been there with the screw holes! That’s one reason all my hinges are wooden and glued now!

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

View Jerry's profile


529 posts in 274 days

#14 posted 190 days ago

Really really nice. If you want to learn to do hand cut dovetails, I learned from watching David Barron’s videos on YouTube. Watch both of these videos because the second one shows you how to undercut, a very important step in getting a nice crisp line.

Also, there is a third video concerning this subject here that shows you how to make hand cut dovetails without leaving a baseline mark that is usually left by the marking gauge, something which I don’t really like to see on a nice piece.

You will need a good marking knife, a fine dovetail saw, some very sharp chisels, and don’t forget to make your cuts on the waste side.

-- I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

View bygrace's profile


122 posts in 595 days

#15 posted 190 days ago

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. They are much appreciated. And thanks for the links Jerry!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

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