Once a year the Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association hosts a weekend event called Tools and Techniques. As president of the club, even I am not immune to doing demonstrations! I was asked to demonstrate cutting dovetails with a router jig.
I built this box as the completed sample to show while I did my demonstration. It also helped me get all the dovetails laid out ahead of time. I sized the box to use some of the odds and ends I had kicking around the shop. With a little fine tuning, it fits my Lee Valley router plane nicely. The plane is held in the box with some machine screws that go through the fence holes in the plane body. At some point I will make some long custom hold down nuts so you don’t have to reach all the way to the bottom of the box. Look for that project some time in the future!
The sides are maple which was left over from another box project. The left side has some interesting grain patterns and color from either a knot or a branch crotch. The top and bottom panels are 1/2” cherry veneer plywood. There is a little bit of curl in the panel I put on the lid. The finish is rattle can gloss lacquer. I knocked the gloss back with steel wool and wax. I used Brusso hinges and a jewelry box hasp from Home Depot. I wasn’t thrilled about the hasp in the beginning, but I think it looks good.
I cut the dovetails with my 24” Porter-Cable Omni Jig. I used the narrow pin router bit. All of the pins were the same size, except for the half pin at the joint of the lid and box. I made that pin 1/8” wider to account for the saw kerf when I cut the top off. To make it 1/8” wider, I used a drill bit as a spacer when I set up the guide fingers. Much easier than measuring! When I cut the lid off, I put a 1/16” thick 7-1/4” framing saw blade in my table saw. That left me a little meat to true up the join. I used sand paper glued to a granite slab and flattened the box like you would true the bed of a hand plane – figure eight pattern.
Since this was my display box, I have the twin box that I built during my demonstration. I haven’t cut the top off that one yet. Perhaps I will finish it as a gift with Christmas coming up soon.