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Woodworking with Will Myers


 
 

A Little Box

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Will Myers

 

Mr. Webster’s definition of a box is: a rigid, typically rectangular container with or without a cover.

Small boxes are always an enjoyable project. They do not require much material and if you keep it fairly simple they do not take long to make. Finding a use for them is never a problem either.

If you like to cut dovetails they are excellent practice projects; if you make a bad mistake all you need is another scrap of wood to make a replacement piece.

This particular box is made out of Bald Cypress (beehive scraps) I had. Cypress can be an extreme wood, I have seen is so hard and brash it would explode trying to drive a nail in it. I have also seen it so soft you could push a nail in it with your fingers. The pieces for this box were a happy medium, mild and pretty straight grained.
I started by plowing a grove for the bottom board to set in a ¼ in wide x ¼ in deep.

I plowed the grove before I cut the sides to length, this is faster and easier than plowing the groves on each individual piece.

I then cut the pieces to length, the front and back pieces are 12 in long the ends 8 in.

My favorite way to lay out dovetails is the way Roy Underhill teaches in his dovetail class. First lay out the baseline for the tails and pins on both boards with a cutting gauge.

Starting with tailboard (yes, this is a tails first method) pick a chisel the width you want the pins to be (3/8 in in this case) and strike in on the base line on both sides of the board even with the edge. This will be the bottom of the two outside half pins. Then divide the space between by the number tails you want. Once this is done strike in on the base line centering the chisel on the division points, these will be the bottoms of the two full pins.


 
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