Build a Collector’s Case
Basic dovetailed project is loaded with character
Synopsis: Details are what matter in this small collector’s case by Gary Rogowski. Protruding, shaped dovetails, side-hung drawers, and inlaid pulls create a strong impression. Yet the piece is simple to build. The dovetails are cut with a router and jig, and the drawers are rabbeted with shopmade runners. The final touch, inlaid diamond-shaped pulls, are cut on the tablesaw, then inset into the front with the aid of a router.
Is it really the devil that’s in the details, or is it the angels? In this little collector’s case, the details make it stand out. Protruding, shaped dovetail joints, sidehung drawers to keep a low profile, and inlaid pulls all help this piece create a great overall impression.
Even with all the careful touches, the case is simple to construct. Almost all the joints are cut with a router. I use a commercial jig to cut the dovetailed case corners, and I make them stand out with a little handwork.
I built the case and drawers from black walnut. If you need to glue up boards for the case, pay attention to grain and color when you match them up. The drawer fronts should be ripped at the bandsaw from a single board with attractive figure. For the back, I used reclaimed water-tank redwood, which I kept fairly thick. I rabbeted the edges to create a raised panel.
To avoid marring the proud joinery details later, plane, scrape, and lightly sand the case pieces inside and out before starting work on the dovetails.
A jig makes dovetails snug and quick
Naturally, working with a router jig makes quick work of case dovetails, even when it comes to layout. For both tails and pins, you just mark the work and align the jig on the first piece…