Hand Tools Adventure #5: Assembling the Box

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 01-28-2014 12:03 AM 2293 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: The Stealth Hinge Part 5 of Hand Tools Adventure series Part 6: Finishing Up and the Top Marquetry »

With the hinge out of the way, one of the tricky fits is history but getting all the corners to match is another thing altogether. The marquetry was applied to the back before assembly to facilitate bending the veneer around the curve of the hinge tabs but making the corner matches will be better accomplished with the bare box already glued up. I left the corners a little big when I cut the FB dovetails to allow a little fine tuning. Good thing because when first assembled it had a decent amount of rack in it. Fortunately a few adjustments could be made that almost entirely eliminated the twist.

I did however, as Patrick pointed out, miss one detail of the full blind dovetail when I failed to miter the top and bottom bits thereby leaving signs of the FBDT. To remedy this I did about a thousand hours of very tedious hammer veneering in the half lap interlock of the box and the lid. I did remember to miter the veneer strips.
The insides of the lid half laps were veneered before assembly and the rest was done afterward.

( The lid parts were too small for FBDT’s so they are simple miters, cut in the miter jack of course.)

The actual fitting of the marquetry panels on the sides was a bit of a gong show. You would have had a good laugh on me. It was so fit-critical that I became all wound up in the difficult parts, which I pulled off really well, but managed to make some real rookie mistakes on the easy stuff. For example, (but not limited to) I glued one end panel on the lid on with the masking tape still on the back ….. wait for it ….. TWICE!

What amazed me most was the fact that I just went along and fixed it without any swearing or breaking things at all. It must be the effect of doing marquetry for a while …. or maybe I’m just getting old. (I’m going with the former). The concentration and difficulties do however explain why I wasn’t taking a lot of photos while that was going on so the next ones are with the box all glued and marquetried up. I do have to say that without the reversible properties of hot hide glue these pieces would all be in the trash can and there would be no more blog.

Here are the four corners and the front. They still need some minor patching, filling and sanding but the fits are there and it really wasn’t all that hard.

I have not only decided on the marquetry for the lid now but have cut and mounted it. I can’t show pictures until I post the project though because it would give away the end use of the box …... and that’s a secret.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

25 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2480 days

#1 posted 01-28-2014 12:10 AM

I can only dream to do what you do Paul, you sure look like you are having fun doing it though.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3356 days

#2 posted 01-28-2014 12:27 AM

this is so gorgeous, i just love your work paul..cant wait to see the finished project…thanks for sharing the process..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3977 days

#3 posted 01-28-2014 12:46 AM

Very fine job Paul. I would like to try the FBDT one day, any advice?

View tinnman65's profile


1358 posts in 3467 days

#4 posted 01-28-2014 12:46 AM

Fantastic Paul! Its hard to believe all the work that goes into one little box but I must say the results are stunning.
The suspense is killing me as to the top and the box’s purpose.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2857 days

#5 posted 01-28-2014 01:00 AM

WowZa Paul. This is lookin good.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3362 days

#6 posted 01-28-2014 01:05 AM

As always… awesome and detailed

View sras's profile


4822 posts in 3182 days

#7 posted 01-28-2014 01:27 AM

An excellent testament to perseverance! Looking good!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2743 days

#8 posted 01-28-2014 01:56 AM

“really wasn’t all that hard”......for you maybe. Insurmountable for normal folks. That is one of your coolest pieces and we haven’t even seen the top yet!

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

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10152 posts in 4105 days

#9 posted 01-28-2014 02:15 AM

Sure is NICE…



Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Boatman53's profile


1058 posts in 2250 days

#10 posted 01-28-2014 03:04 AM

That’s beautiful Paul. Amazing.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View rance's profile


4259 posts in 3214 days

#11 posted 01-28-2014 03:36 AM

Paul, I really like the fact that you are REAL with your posts. You tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. The box is coming along quite nicely. Can’t wait to see the completion. Stay vigilent.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18311 posts in 3729 days

#12 posted 01-28-2014 05:19 AM

That is awesome!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3765 days

#13 posted 01-28-2014 05:32 AM


You never disappoint! I’m anxiously awaiting your project post.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1044 posts in 2365 days

#14 posted 01-28-2014 09:16 AM

Fantastic descriptions all along will encourage many of us to try the same route at some stage. This is great textbook stuff. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View SPalm's profile


5321 posts in 3935 days

#15 posted 01-28-2014 01:22 PM

So nice to read your blogs and watch you putter along.
Can’t say enough about perseverance and skill level. Just amazing stuff.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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