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Forum topic by mikeyp posted 08-17-2015 02:42 PM 902 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 983 days

08-17-2015 02:42 PM

I know this is a lot to ask right off the bat but I’ve only done a couple projects before but nothing so “small” (I’ve done a deck, pergola, and a set of bookshelves) so I’m kind of nervous about the fine woodworking portion of this job.

I want to make my wife a jewelry box and I have a list of questions or concerns or advise I’m hoping you all can help with.

I’m very new to this kind of work and the lingo so keep that in mind, haha

My initial dimensions I’m thinking about be 8” tall plus the lid. and 13 1/2” side to side. I saw one online that has 2 3/8” drawers (3×2 3/8” plus wood guides at 3/8” plus bottom of box- if you don’t think that would work, what would be a feasible size be?

- It was mentioned yesterday that dovetails probably aren’t necessary. Do you think just routing the edge out and gluing them would work, like a half lap joint?

- What size wood would you recommend? A lot of places online I’m seeing 3/4” but that seems to thick to me (not that I’m a pro). I was thinking 1/2” for the sides and back, 1/4” for the drawers (I’m planning on doing one drawer on the bottom and two smaller drawers in the middle…then a permanent shelf above that). Then one the front covers (whatever its called that is the decorative piece on the drawers) I would use 1/2”....and the top is up in the air. I’m thinking about using 1” and taking a band saw to it to make a curve if I’m going that route. I’d LIKE to do inlays on the side but I’m really not sure about that yet. What do you think??

- Type of wood? I honestly have no clue about this. I don’t know my woods at all. Do you have any recommendations? I was planning on making it a dark walnut type finish with a lighter oak inlay (if I do them) but I don’t know what I should use for it. I’m limited where I live to pretty much a lowes and depot so I don’t have much to choose from

- I can’t find any advise online for the drawer guides. I have the router where I can make a dadoo but how do I make it? Somewhere online make a dadoo on both the drawer and the side of the box and glued a wooden piece in there…looking like a track….I’m really stuck on this part though.

- Do you recommend any in lay kits or have any advise on using them? I’ve never done an inlay and never done anything with the router besides a couple round edges

- when constructing the drawers, do you recommend the same joint as the box?

- Are inlay bands tougher to do than a shaped inlay (heart, square, etc)?

- how do I route small/thin pieces with a hand router? I don’t want it to get away from me but have no where to hold the piece in place.

Thanks again for all of your help in advance

7 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2224 days

#1 posted 08-17-2015 10:43 PM

Wow! Mike that is a lot of questions. There are a number of books about making boxes available. Here is a good one to get you started. You need to learn to crawl before running a marathon. Once you have the book in hand, start by making the first one and progress at your own rate. Ask individual questions to clarify various points/tasks in the book that aren’t clear to you. Be patient and persistent and someday, you will be able to make the box of your dreams. I’m not there yet. HTH

-- Art

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11 posts in 983 days

#2 posted 08-18-2015 03:42 PM

ok, well how about an easy…just an opinion…question.

Do you think it would look weird to do a 1/2” box with 1/2” drawers?

I’m planning on connecting everything with a lap joint so I don’t want to use 1/4” on the drawers and then lap that…figured that would end up pretty weak. What do you think?

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4683 posts in 2318 days

#3 posted 08-18-2015 06:36 PM

Usually the drawer fronts are thicker than the sides, so a 1/2” drawer front w/ 1/4” sides is not out of line on a small box. Not sure what you mean by lap joints. If I were you I’d be looking for a set of plans where all of these details are worked out. There must a gazillion small box plans available, look for something that matches your skill set and tooling and meets your aesthetic requirements. Small boxes are all about the details and can be every bit as complicated as a dresser, and because they invite scrutiny can be even more demanding in precision.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View DrDirt's profile


4423 posts in 3709 days

#4 posted 08-18-2015 07:06 PM

I would look for a set of plans… e.g. from Wood magazine – - and use that as a basis for the elements and tweak it. make it wider or taller or ???

like these

They charge like 10 bucks for some plans… but these are in the magazine itself… so perhaps a friend or the local library has a subscription already.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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11 posts in 983 days

#5 posted 08-18-2015 07:24 PM

Thanks guys. Yeah I’ve seen a TON of plans for sale but I’m trying not to spend money on plans if I don’t have to.

What I’ve been doing is looking at the plans I can find online and trying to change them to the size wood I want to use. Most of the ones online are using 3/4” tops, sides, and drawer fronts….but I feel like 3/4” is bigger than I wanted to use.

I’m sure I’m using the wrong terminology but my idea for joining the drawers together (1/4” wood) was to route a small piece out and butt the end together and glue it that way. But I wasn’t sure if it would be smart/safe/secure to join 1/4” wood together that way….I’d guess the dadoo would be 1/8” deep to join it…

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11 posts in 983 days

#6 posted 08-18-2015 07:25 PM

and if I’m not putting enough pressure on myself, I want to make it for our 5th anniversary….in 2 months…haha

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4683 posts in 2318 days

#7 posted 08-18-2015 07:32 PM

Goods plans will save you more time than just about anything else you could do. Pennywise and pound foolish to skimp on that.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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