Some Rando Dovetailing

In prep for the medium-size wooden tool chest project, which I plan to knock out starting next week, I’ve been practicing my dovetails.  Some benchtop tool storage was far overdue, so I took the liberty of knocking together a few dovetailed boxes.


Some “every day clamp” storage.  Don’t laugh at the bulk on my sharpening angle guide.  It’s super wieldy.  

And a "benchtop miscellany" tray (which will eventually be a benchtop chisel tray.

And a “benchtop miscellany” tray (which was specifically built to be a benchtop chisel tray for my eventual full-size workbench).

I don’t own a plow plane, so in each case, the bottom is simply glued and nailed to the tray frame (wire brads, until my cut nails arrive in the mail).  Don’t give into the hype: a heavy stone and a flat surface is sometimes all the clamp you need.

A heavy stone and a flat surface: sometimes all the clamp you need.

The lip is so the tray can be spring-clamped to my worktable top.  I’ll rip it off at some point and re-purpose the tray.

I’ve found the pre-sized, 1/4″ birch plywood you can buy at big box craft stores (e.g., Michael’s) is perfect for drawer bottoms.  Off the shelf, it has much less warp than a full 5′ x 5′ sheet from the lumber yard.  Plus, the inevitable offcuts make great battens and holdfast cushions.

There is also a 12.5″ x 18″ x 4″ box (corner detail seen below) that might actually end up being a drawer for something.  I’ve been experimenting with different pin sizes and techniques for hogging out waste (I’m back to the coping saw method) and they are the tightest I’ve ever cut dovetails thus far.


Practice makes better.

Even if I opt for the rabbeted and nailed version of the tool chest, I’m glad to have gotten the dovetailing practice.  In addition, each of the boards used in these boxes was 100% hand-prepared.  No thickness planer for once.

Happy Bastille Day everyone!


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