Hand Made Solid Oak Jewellery Box

Introduction: Hand Made Solid Oak Jewellery Box

Hello my fellow ible' readers!!

Finally I am writing up my first Instructable :D So sit back, grab your tea/coffee and I hope you enjoy!

I love working with wood especially with hand tools so when the opportunity came up where I needed a gift for my girlfriend I thought to myself that something made means more than something bought. So I set about crafting a solid oak jewellery box for her. The box had to incorporate a few features that I really wanted, the first was all the joints had to have hidden fixings i.e. no visible screws or nails. The second was I really wanted to make a drawer, I had never made a drawer before so I really wanted to give it a go. And lastly dovetail joints, I love the appearance of dovetail joints and this was a must for me. Again, before this instructable I had never tried making a dovetail joint.

Note: Unfortunately I'm not used to documenting my builds very well so I forget to take lots of pictures! So apologies for the lack of pictures in this ible' ! Promise I'll do better next time.

Also please don't forget to vote for me in the competition!

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Step 1: Required Materials and Tools

Right, when I started looking for the oak that I would need for this project I didn't have any plans or drawings. All I had was an image in my head of what I wanted the box to look like. So I just searched around on eBay until I found some oak planks that had already been planed to a uniform thickness and dimension. I also found all the hardware for the box from a doll house parts supplier on eBay. Below you can see a list of all the materials and tools I used for the box. I'm not going to include exact dimensions of the box in this instructable simply because I don't have any, the entire box was crafted and modified as I went along with the build, I will however include dimension of the raw materials I bought.


Oak planks: 1x (754mm x 112mm x 12mm) used for sides and drawer front, 1x (405mm x 189mm x 16mm) used for base and top lid

1x 3mm birch ply (300mmx300mm) used for upper section bottom and internal draw sides

2x Plated miniature hinges 19x24mm (Antiquie Brass)

2x Box latch 26mm

1x Small handle 48mm

1x Friction stay 3" when closed

Crushed velvet 50cmx150cm (wine red)

1x 3mm metal rod approx. 20mm long

Small screws for hindges and handle

Small pin nails


Rustins shellac sanding sealer

Double sided tape

Thick card at least 1.5mm thick


Tenon saw

Hand saw

Coping saw

Various wood chisels


Pin Hammer


Sanding block and Sandpaper grades 240, 400, 600, 1000

Paint Brush

Craft knife


Lots of clamps

Manual hand drill and a 2.5mm wood bit

Step 2: Cut Panels/Dovetail Joints and Begin Assembly

Once I decided on the dimensions of the box I used the hand saw to cut the oak into the relevant pieces. At this point I needed to mark and cut the dovetail joints. I had no idea on how to do this but a quick Google search brought up hundreds of guides many of them from Instructables!! I'm not going to dwell too long on how to make a dovetail joint since there are already many guides out there.

So once I figured out what I was doing with the dovetail joints I marked them out and used the tenon saw and coping saw to cut them out. Once they where all cut out I glued all the joints and clamped the four sides together. The beauty of using dovetail joints like I have, didn't require me to use any nails or screws to hold the sides of the box together.

Step 3: Clean Up the Dovetail Joints and Add the Base

You may have noticed in one of the previous pictures that the dovetail joints looked awful since they didn't meet correctly they stuck out the sides. So using the tenon saw I cut any excess off and then sanded the corners by hand until they where perfectly smooth.

Then I applied some glue to the bottom edges and placed the base on top. I used clamps to hold it tightly in place while I hammered small nails to hold it in place. The clamps where left there until the glue had dried. Once the glue dried I placed the lid on top of the box and I was starting to really love this little box and just couldn't wait to finish it.

Step 4: Make the Drawer and Attach the Hardware

I got a bit excited with this step and don't have many pictures :(

To construct the internal section of the drawer I used the 3mm birch ply. The face of the draw was basically the bottom half of the front piece which I had cut in half. At the back of the drawer face I cut two parallel slots for the sides of the drawer to fit in and I made a 3mm recess on the bottom for the base of the drawer. The internal birch pieces had 3mm tongue and groove joints cut and assembled with only glue. Once the face was attached to the birch internal section with glue I also nailed the base to the recess of the face I had cut earlier. Once all the glue had dried I mixed some sawdust with glue to make some filler. I then used this home made filler to fill any gaps in the joints of the drawer. Once the filler was dry I sanded it smooth.

Attaching the hardware was easy until I got to the friction stay. I realised that the one I had ordered could not be used with my box as is. I needed some form of block sticking out the lid for me to screw the stay into. I didn't want to do this as it would have ruined the entire look of the box. So instead I used a chisel, craft knife and sand paper to cut a small channel/groove into the lid so that the stay could slide into the lid. I then used a manual hand drill to drill a small 2.5mm hole from the side of lid to then press the 3mm metal rod through and to fix the stay to the lid.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

To finish the wood I removed all the hardware and sanded all elements down with 400 grit sandpaper. I then applied a coat of Shellac sealer and once it was dry I sanded it down with 400 grit sandpaper. I repeated this two more times and sanded with 600 grit and 1000 grit respectively. This process of sealing and sanding really brings out the natural beauty of oak and highlights its features. It also gives a nice hard wearing surface that will protect the oak through many years of use.

To finish of the box I lined the upper section and the base of the drawer in velvet. To do this I cut a piece of card just smaller than the internal dimensions of the upper section. I then stuck double sided taped onto the card and cut a piece of velvet about 30mm larger on all sides than the card. I then stuck the velvet onto the card. I stuck more double sided tape on the underside of the card and then stuck the velvet covered card into the upper section. This process was repeated for the drawer.

All the hardware was then reattached and the box was finished! Yay :D

I learnt a lot with this project and really enjoyed working the wood with basic hand tools. It goes without saying my girlfriend loved the gift, only thing is, now I have to fill it up lol :P

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    5 years ago

    I don't know what you're talking about. Your dovetails look great! Way better than my first attempt.