Dovetail Box from Pallet Wood and Scraps

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I got some pallet wood that was oak. Some of it was exactly what you’d expect from pallet wood. But there were a few pieces that I found to be very pretty.

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The oak pallet wood boards used for the sides of the dovetail box.

I wanted to use in in something. I decided to make a dovetail box. The 4 pieces of oak pallet wood would make up the sides. I had some ¼” plywood I would use as the bottom. And I decided to use some scraps of decking board I had for the lid.

I started by beginning the milling of the oak pallet wood pieces. Each board had odd thicknesses running through out them and I needed to get them square. The jointer just seemed to make the issue worse so I decided to use the hand plane so I’d have more control. I could shave some off one area of the oak board while not taking any away from the other areas. Then after getting the thickness more even I was able to run it through the jointer and finish getting the oak pallet wood boards even in thickness. And then I squared up the sides on the table saw and jointer.

 Using a hand plane to get an even thickness on the oak pallet wood.

After that I was ready to begin marking and cutting the dovetail joints which would join the sides together. Doing hand cut dovetails may not be the easiest way to do dovetails, certainly not the quickest way to join the sides. But I enjoy cutting dovetails by hand. Mine are a far cry from perfect; I still come up with gaps. But practice helps and the more I do, the tighter my dovetails get.

It’s an old school way of doing things I know. People often ask me why I sometimes use the hand tools because they are so limited. I say it’s the person doing the woodworking that’s limited, not the tool. And when the power goes out, who is more limited? The person that has only used power tools or the person that has learned to use hand tools as well? And I just like to know I can whether I have to or not.

 Cutting the tails to join the sides of the dovetail box.

I marked out the tails for the dovetails first to the size I wanted, and then using the hand saw, I cut them being sure to stay on the waste side of the marks. I would pare, trim and micro-adjust to the dovetail marks I laid out after removing a lot of the waste between the tails with a forstner bit on the drill press.

Can I really say I cut the dovetail by hand if I used the drill press? I don’t know. The same thing could be done with a hand drill or a brace and bit by clamping the piece of wood to your bench. But I had the drill press handy and had just purchased the forstner bits that I wanted to try out. I never said I totally restricted myself to hand tools. Hehehehe. Then as mentioned, I trimmed the rest of the waste away with chisels; slowly sneaking up on the marks to get a tight fit.

And that’s as far as I got in this video. What I spoke of above is shown in the video below. The playlist that includes all 7 videos of the building of the dovetail box from pallet wood and scraps is available on my youtube channel at Dovetail Box from Pallet Wood and Scraps Playlist on Youtube




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