Small toolchest – carcase joinery

I think I have seen every tutorial on making dovetails there is to see. None of them can put a chisel in your hand though.

Also, I found out, make sure it is the sharpest of sharp when chiseling out pine.

This is the back corner. Pretty standard dovetail layout but with one extra-wide pine. The toolchest will be sawed apart through this pin and it is sized to allow for a saw kerf.


To cut out the tails themselves I added this backing board. This is probably the best idea I’ve seen presented so far. I cut a track for the saw on the backing board. This allowed for straight across the wood for the toolchest part and results in better fitting dovetails. I could have ganged-up the sides also but I forgot.


The carcase went together OK. I wasn’t too happy with how easy it was to chip out the pine. Also it is very soft so even looking at it would cause it to get a dent.

After I dovetailed the sides I worked on the front drawer divider. It has an interesting joint that incorporates a small dado to house the divider into the sides of the carcase. Then this divider if further dovetailed into the sides. This keeps the front all locked together. Pretty neat stuff.

I glued the carcase up. It pretty much held itself together. I just used some clamps to keep it that way


After the glue cured overnight I then planed any protruding joinery flush. This squared up the lot.

I got some tear-out and some of the joints are a bit gappy, but I think this looks pretty good.


The bottom of the toolchest has a panel installed in a mortise-and tenon frame.

The rails and stiles were ploughed out using a 1/8″ bit. To match, I had to saw 1/8″ tenons with a haunch to fill the groove. Also, I had to chop out 1/8″ mortises. This went easier than I thought possible.

The bottom panel is 1/4″ hardboard with the edge beveled with a plane to fit in the 1/8″ groove.


The top of the chest was made in a similar fashion. The top also has a center rail. The panels in the top are 3/8″ pine beveled on the top and bottom. I actually went back and softened the edges of the bevels to give it a more “pillowed” look.


With the joinery done I put the top parts into the vise and planed them all flush. I did this similarly to the bottom and glued the lot to the box.


I left that to set up and then went to work on the drawers.


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