What NOT to do when making a lidded dovetailed box

So I’m making a box designed to hold a coronet. A coronet? Really? Yep, a coronet, it’s a long story. The box is designed to be somewhat similar to a 10th century Viking box. I did a bunch of research, or at least used Google & found a lot of nice boxes, but nothing like I was hoping for so I took what I did find, massaged it a bit and ending up with a dovetailed box with some bead work as I want to try out some of my molding planes. My client requested the decoration – it has the Yggdrasil (Viking Tree of Life) on it and some runic text.

1. Do not forget to accommodate for material removed. I thought it would be nice to have a lip around the base and lid so the lid stays on nicely and then I wouldn’t have to mess with hinges or a clasp. Well this turned out to be the first challenge that I failed at, not just once but twice! I forget to accommodate for the amount of material removed in this process.

2. Double check what’s waste.  When hand cutting dovetails, not only mark the waste with an X, but  also remember to cut the marked portion out, not the unmarked. I set the chisel in the scribe line, smacked it with the mallet and thought, that’s not quite right. Screwed this up twice also!

3. Cut on the right side of your lines. While on the subject of cutting dovetails and marking your waste, remember which side of the line to cut on, thankfully I only screwed this one up once. UGH!

On a positive note, a good sharp smoothing plane does wonders when properly adjusted. Planing curly maple turns out great – it’s silky smooth and no need for sand paper. Sharp molding planes are also invaluable, putting a 1/8th inch bead on was simple and elegant. And I didn’t have to sand!