No pics today, but there’s not much new to look at compared to last week’s final fit. A big step was rabbeting the walls for the bottom to fit up into. After doing one wall, I got some very helpful feedback from Dave and Luis that I should do a dado instead that the rabbeted bottom would fit into. The advice came a day too late, although I did consider doing the dado on the other three walls. But alas, I don’t have a blade small enough (the smallest I have is my 1/4″ chisel) to make a very narrow dado, so I ended up just going ahead with the rabbeted walls. On the plus side, the bottom is fitting in very snugly, so I may just add a couple drops of glue on the ends, as Luis suggested, and that should do it; as long as my wife doesn’t drop a wrench into the box, it should hold.

One thing that I had mentioned in the post I wrote after doing the first rabbet was that I busted both pins (since the rabbet doesn’t go all the way to the edge, it’s tricky). It was frustrating, but I glued them up and moved on. Well, wouldn’t you know that I busted at least one pin or tail on each of the remaining three walls, no matter how careful I was? I tell ya, this is the last time I work in miniature (that’s what it feels like). But you know what? It actually helped me to relax more, as I trusted the glue and tried even harder to not bust anything on the next wall. I told my wife that even if she looks hard, I don’t think she’ll see more than two places (out of seven) where I had to glue up something I broke – if she even sees those.

So now that I’ve rambled on about the dovetails and rabbets, on to the next step: the top. Here’s what I’m thinking, and please give me your feedback on whether it’s a good idea or not. The end grain looks ugly and screams to be covered up. So mitered edges, yes? But how would it look/work if I used a strip of sapwood (same wood, kempas) for a little color variation like this:

Top Sketch

I’m thinking that the middle strip would be pretty thin, like 1/4″ or less. What are your thoughts? Any other ideas? And as for size, I think that I will make the top just a touch wider than the walls, so there is just the very slightest bit of overhang. It seems appealing in a tactile kind of way. Then there’s the issue of glue-up and saw-off. It seems from the pictures I’ve seen that it’s okay to saw off the lid in between (or even on!) a tail. Is that right? Seems kind of funny to have the dovetails go *zoop!* up with the lid when you open it, but maybe that’s the way they do it.

So to summarize, here are my questions for you esteemed woodies:

  1. Am I on target with my general box top design?
  2. Will the use of sapwood sandwiched between heartwood present any problems?
  3. Will I really cut the top off in between tails?

Thanks so much to those of you who have commented here and on LumberJocks. I’m learning a lot!