A Lesson in Hand-Cut Dovetails
This is a small project I made this past winter. A gift for my wife, a school teacher who always sits with a pile of books and papers on her lap, it proved to be a pretty useful gift. Although it looks like a simple enough project, the joinery quickly became a lesson in cutting dovetails by hand.
The piece is a Shaker design I modified slightly in overall dimension. This version seemed to actually fit on my lap better and the angle of the top was adjusted as well. I used Black Walnut for the piece, the main carcass has hand cut through dovetails and sliding dadoes house the inner shelf, dividers and bottom.
The drawer was built in a very traditional way, solid wood for the interior as well as the drawer bottom. I used Butternut for the drawer sides and back with Poplar for the bottom. The top lid has battens on the interior to help keep things in place; I fastened these with Maple dowels down through the top for added strength as well as a visual accent. A fun piece to build it didn't take up too much time and doesn't need a whole lot of material. I used a hand rubbed oil finish on the exterior with wax on the inside. You could easily change the dimensions of the piece to suit your size requirements.