Make a Dovetail Box


Make a Dovetail Box

Make a hardwood box with hand-cut dovetail corner joints and a sliding lid as you build your woodworking skills with hand and power tools.

Meeting Times
  1. Wed, 5/8/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  2. Mon, 5/13/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  3. Wed, 5/15/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  4. Mon, 5/20/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  5. Wed, 5/22/2024 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Wed, 5/8/2024 - Wed, 5/22/2024

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Class, No Prerequisite

Woodworking and Small Boatbuilding Studio



Dovetails started out as a practical solution to keep drawers from coming apart as people tugged and pushed them in and out. Today, when there are machine-assisted ways to join wood at right angles and mechanical drawer slides, hand-cut dovetails have become a code for fine craftsmanship. This class covers all the steps involved in making boxes plus the exacting details needed to create tight-fitting dovetail corner joints.

  • Day 1: Learn about measuring and marking tools, different kinds of hand saws and the steps needed to lay out and cut the dovetail pins and tails. Make practice cuts.
  • Day 2: At the table saw, cut the box sides. Using hand tools, plane the ends, sand the interior surfaces, and lay out and cut the tails.
  • Day 3: Lay out and cut the pins. Fit the box, then take it apart and use the router table to cut grooves for the top and bottom. Cut and bevel the box bottom using the table saw and miter saw, and smooth the bevels with a hand plane. Glue up the box.
  • Day 4: Make the top using steps similar to making the bottom. Make the end molding and glue it in place.
  • Day 5: Add finishing touches and do final smoothing of the box. Discuss finishing methods.


The hardwood box is about 6 inches wide, 12 inches long and 4 inches tall, with three dovetails at each corner. The outside edges of the bottom and the sliding lid have a bevel about 1½ inches wide.


A $25 materials fee, included in the class fee, covers everything you need.


Class Policies

  • Ages 14+ are welcome.
  • Open to beginners, but prior hand-tool experience is recommended. Related skills — such as how to sharpen tools — won't be covered in this class.
  • Depending on your pace, you may need to work on your box during open studio time to complete it by the end of the class. Use of the shop during these times is always free for members. Non-members can also use the shop during open studio time to complete the class project at no additional charge.

BARN Policies

Instructors or Guides

Paul Kury

Paul Kury studied woodworking at Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking in Dandridge, Tenn., and has been an active woodworker for more than 40 years. His preference is 18th-century furniture. Paul also volunteers as a woodworking safety monitor at BARN.

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