So what makes them bandsaw boxes? Nothing! Other than they magnetise perfectly with the bandsaw and accessibly useful tools. Of course they will work for other tools too. I made a couple of bandsawn box trays using the bandsaw and then one identical to those using only hand tools. They take nothing to make by machine: by that I mean hardly any skill, but great skill to get them right by hand methods using hand tools and no machines at all. These two side by side look identical but the one on the right, unfinished with regards to coating, is totally made by hand. I then n realised that the dovetailed cornered versions really don’t take much if any longer if you are indeed skilled. If you want to learn how to make a dovetailed tray like the one below then you can follow a lesson on our Common Woodworking website where we teach intro level woodworking for beginners and those new to the traditions of hand tool woodworking. Here is the link. Subscribe. It’s free and if you have friends at all interested in getting started then have them join in too.


  1. Bill Hall on 6 December 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Personally, I like the looks of the dovetail box much better. I do think I’d prefer the look without the lip on the bottom though.

    Since I just finished drawer for my workbench (per your recent video) and have some drawer bottom plywood left over, I may give this a go next.

    The workbench drawer was great fun, as well as great joinery practice!

    Ya should of seen the look on my wife’s face when I told her about all the construction using half lap dovetails with a small rebate in the front and housing dados in the back featuring through mortise & tenons. Some people just don’t get it…..LOL

    • jay gill on 6 December 2018 at 9:58 pm

      I don’t know about your wife, but my wife would have noticed that you were not working on her projects!

      • Allan on 6 December 2018 at 10:14 pm

        HaHa I have never seen a more true statement on the internet!

      • Bill Hall on 6 December 2018 at 11:12 pm

        Ha Ha….Very good point! Or maybe helping with the housework instead.

      • MarkR on 10 December 2018 at 12:49 pm

        Absolutely … and that is why I still haven’t even got my workbench made … despite saying that has to be the next project

    • nemo on 6 December 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Agree with you about preferring the looks of the dovetail box. As I was reading about the making of the bandsaw box and the non-bandsaw box in the previous blog posts I was a bit ‘meh’ about it. Somehow it doesn’t resonate with me, perhaps because of the large amount of waste (cut-out part), the looks, the method…. or all of it. Was already thinking that the dovetailed-boxes wouldn’t take that much more time and effort, only to have that confirmed in this post by mr. Sellers himself. But it’s good to see that when it comes to making a simple box there are many ways to skin a cat; everyone can pick the method they prefer.

      • Paul Sellers on 7 December 2018 at 8:18 am

        Ah! But only if they have pursued hand work and the development of skill. Most people are magnetised to the easy root not thinking about the aesthetic outcome of it all. I think that woodworking with hand tools is so much more high demand and the result is a level of fun that those who think they see from a machinist’s point of view really cannot see. So I hope to convert one or two along the way in the hope that they will stand on my shoulders to discover a wonderful world of true and real woodworking instead of donkey work machining alone.

      • Sylvain on 7 December 2018 at 8:27 am

        I had the same reaction.
        The hand made bandsaw box was seen as an academic exercise to demonstrate feasibility.
        No other reason to copy by hand something specifically designed to be made by machine except here P.S. comment about wood movement; as this box will behave as a single block of wood.

    • Paul Sellers on 7 December 2018 at 8:20 am

      I don’t get why you don’t just not have the lip then. Surely there is a place for both for people who have a different opinion. Just do it without.

      • Zargon on 10 December 2018 at 4:40 pm

        Ah! The LIP!

        Yes; at first glance, to me, it’s rather disturbing. If it went all the way around and had a matching lid, it would make a sweet box. Me thinks, that the lip, while showing some skill of sorts, is nothing more than an annoying “dust collector”. As a matter of fact, when I make one for my band saw, I think I’ll put a rake on the top, with a lid, probably using a leather hinge concealed in a slot both on the lid and the box side.
        Just a few thoughts, from “Planet Zargon” in Atlanta, GA. 😀

  2. Johan Basson on 7 December 2018 at 7:12 am

    Hi Paul.

    Those boxes are each beautiful in their own way. I’d just like to comment that since you are a very experienced band saw user, working accurately and (more significantly) safely probably come quite easily to you. Such a band saw project would be much more taxing on me, a complete novice on machines, than building a dovetailed box.

    Just a common craft principle is that a project can only be counted as a success if you finish it with the same number of fingers with which you started it.

  3. Glen on 7 December 2018 at 10:45 am

    Hello Paul,

    I’m sorry this is unrelated to the blog post but I just wanted to thank you.

    I had two great moments today.

    The first was when I was planing a piece about 5′ wide and I suddenly felt the action of the plane. Like I connected with it and I could feel that the piece had become flat. I can’t explain, I just knew that when I checked with the straight edge it would be smooth and flat.

    The second one was when I chopped out a mortise. Something I never thought possible happened-

    I actually enjoyed it.

    Again, I don’t know why, but I think I read a post if yours about enjoying chopping mortises. I had never given it any thought before other than it being a chore. I think just having the little thought in my mind that somebody actually enjoyed chopping mortises made me consider the process and it became equally as important as any other aspect of the build and it really changed my perspective.

    Suddenly the waste was as important as what remained and I now believe it truly is, taking off too much or too little means that the end result will be wrong.

    I enjoyed each chop and feeling the grains sever as little by little I revealed what I’d planned.

    I can’t believe I spent so many years and also made so many mistakes by simply not acknowledging that basic fact, just blasting through the hole as quickly as I could to get on the seemingly more interesting parts and causing so many little failures.

    I was a high end kitchen fitter for years and thought myself quite handy with wood but it wasn’t until about five years ago when I changed my job and began woodworking as a hobby that I moved to hand tools and realised I was just a butcher.

    Thanks for all the videos. They have been a real help in lots of ways.

  4. miles on 10 December 2018 at 4:01 am

    The single tail dovetail joints are quite a bit harder for me than the joints with more then one tail (like those of the workbench drawer). I practiced a bit these past couple of weeks, and for sure the ones with the single tail are easier to get wrong – usually way too loose. Something about there being multiple surfaces and edges in the joints with two or more tails makes them seem to fit “tighter”. Thanks again for your experience and know-how!

    • Paul Sellers on 10 December 2018 at 8:09 am

      I think that that is true. Much easier to cut three tails and fit than one in the beginning, when you first start out, but then, with rote practice, perhaps at the beginning of every session of work, it becomes so second nature it’s as easy as writing your name. Persevere.

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