Build an Heirloom Box
Book-matched veneered top makes this simple box shine
Synopsis: This box project is a great way to learn and perfect new woodworking skills . As you work through the project you’ll cut dovetails at the tablesaw, rout tongue-and-groove joints on the router table, create a book-matched veneer panel, and add banding. The small scale of this project won’t cost you much in the way of materials and you’ll end up with a beautiful keepsake.
Boxes are a great place to practice and hone new skills. The materials won’t break the bank and you can spend as much or as little time on them as you want. This box project is a great example. With it, you can hone your dovetail skills and learn to cut tongueand-grooves at the router table. It will also introduce you to working with veneers and bandings, two details that really bring the piece to life.
I chose walnut for the case to complement some spectacular walnut crotch veneer I had. Using that veneer for a simple book-match gave me a dramatic-looking panel for the top. Banding frames the veneer beautifully and a pine liner adds a bright, contrasting interior. I’ll guide you through putting the box together and show you some tips for getting the most out of this small project.
Lay out dovetails around the grooves
The case for this box appears to be of basic dovetail construction, but because the top will be sawn off later at the tablesaw, you must provide for the sawkerf when laying it out.
Start by flattening, planing, and cutting the stock to dimension. When laying out the dovetails, be sure to space them so that the tablesaw cut that will separate the top from the bottom falls in the center of a pin. Make that pin extra wide to accommodate the…