I took up woodworking with the goal of making a violin, but I’ve been sidetracked into the cabinetmaking side of things. Right now I’m trying to improve on my hand-tool joinery skills. Here are a few things I’ve made:
The “Kitamura” Box
Finished May 2011
Hand dovetailed maple and walnut, with inlaid silver. Lined with velvet. Finished with shellac and beeswax. This project was benched for a couple of years as I completed my Ph.D., but I managed to get it done in time to deliver it to its owner.
There were many issues along the way. A tablesaw mishap in splitting the top from bottom required me to thin the back, revealing some internal flaws in the dovetailing that normally would have been hidden. Then the hinges were very slightly off center, causing the top and bottom to be minutely misaligned. I am also far from figuring out shellac, meaning my finish is somewhat uneven. Everybody I show it to insists they can’t see these flaws, so I must consider it a success.
And really, I think it’s not that bad.
Finished August 2008
This is my second box constructed of hand-cut dovetails. It was going really well until I oversanded, resulting in improperly fitting joints and off-squareness in general. Then I messed up the finishing as well. Still not too bad.
A Coat Hanging Thingy
This was very simple, except for the drop-leaf door. It took several tries to get the door to open properly, and it still sticks a little bit.
Made out of western maple. The legs are “x” shaped, joined with cross-laps, through which a single stretcher passes, secured with a keyed tenon. This took forever because I messed up the tenons, and ended up waiting 6 months until I got a router and figured out how to fix it.
Built in the Mission style, modeled loosely after ones made by Harvest House. This project turned out to be a beast, mostly because of the large number of mortice + tenon joints. There were 40 mortice + tenons, which translates into 320 saw cuts (by hand) for just the tenons, 90% of which needed adjustment by chisel to matches the mortices.
A Small Box
Finished August 2007
Oak, with hand-cut dovetails and hand-carved top. On this one I discovered I really enjoy making boxes.