This one of those projects that you should never show anyone, let alone publish it. Everything that could go wrong did. And that’s exactly why I’m posting it. It started out as another in-between-project project and a practice for hand cut dovetails. I also wanted to test the Silky Oak, as it was very cheap and not the most popular wood for furniture making. I saw my woodworking hero Paul Sellers make a similar box on a recent blog. He probably finished it in 2 minutes and 48 seconds.
Up to now I’d been cutting dovetails with softer pine which allows for a tighter fit. The Oak was not as forgiving so even thought the dovetails looked super tight (see below) on dry assembly, there was no glue space, so the gluing up was a nightmare.
In the ensuing panic I didn’t square up the box properly and that was a problem when fitting a lid that slides in a groove cut into three sides of the box! But it was good practice, because after all woodworking is mainly about problem solving. I raised the panel by hand-marking gauge and #5 jack plane. I cut the grooves for the lid with a Record 050 plough plane. And I had fun.
Silky Oak is easy to work in terms of plane and chisel, but there is a fair amount of tearout. I found the grain very busy and would therefore personally not use it with bigger pieces.