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Dovetails and wedged tenon joinery

Case study

Truly bespoke

A brief look into the processes and methods involved in constructing a bespoke handmade chest. This was commissioned to house an essential oil collection and associated equipment.


American black walnut, storage chest

The first step

How all projects start! A lovely plank of American black walnut ready to be processed into dimensioned stock.

Rough sawn walnut

The layout

Once the stock is processed and dimensioned, i then start the most important task, laying out all the joinery. In this case, dovetails and wedged through favourite!

Tools of the trade

Something more

Sometimes when making a piece, the build process can change a little. I had originally designed the front panel to be crown-cut walnut, but after making the carcase, thought there should be something with a little more interest.

Hand cut veneers

Starburst veneer

Once agreed on the design with the client, it was then time to cut the starburst veneer and glue to a plywood substrate. The veneer in this piece is Peruvian olive wood, American black walnut and olive ash.

Front starburst panel

Handmade, by hand

Nowadays alot of processes are all too often done by machines and automated tools on repeated settings. As you can see, the traditional processes and tools are being fully employed to make something unique, a true one off.

Handtools being employed

Fit for purpose

Two small drawers were required at the bottom to house some specific items. Here I used some olive ash for the sides and back, with half blind dovetails into an American black walnut front.

Handcut dovetails on drawers

Joy division

In the top of the box, there were two sliding trays, each with divisions to house some small bottles. These divisions were half lapped together, then dry fitted. This is so they could be removed and the bottoms cleaned easier.

Half lapped divisions

Ready for a final sand

Once the drawers had been fitted, I routered in some scallops to give the morticed in handles a little more depth. All ready for sanding, then finishing.

Handmade joinery details
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