Cedar Mini Decorative Planters/Boxes
Using Interlocking Dovetail Joints
Having a cedar mill within an hour of my shop allows me to work with some very nice wood. While cedar can be brittle, it is wonderful to work with and makes putting these decorative boxes together a breeze.
When working with cedar I am always looking for pieces that have what is known as “heartwood”. This is the red portion of the wood. When first planed or sanded, this heartwood is almost pink in color but takes polyurethane or spar finish well giving a vibrant dark red when applied. If left untreated, cedar will turn gray in direct sunlight and a dull red color from normal household light.
These boxes have been treated with a wiping polyurethane mix that allows me to apply it with a cotton rag instead of a brush. It’s faster to apply, doesn’t run and dries fast enough to apply two coats in a day. So applying 5-6 coats only takes 2-3 days to accomplish.
I assembled the boxes using a dovetail joint which provides both strength and decorative at the same time. A fan shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise.
The dovetails on these boxes are shown on the length of the box and not the end where the handles are located. I use a dovetail jig and a router to make these joints which is more efficient.
Depending on how the client will use the box I may or may not drill two holes in the bottom of the box. If they are built to be used as outside planters then I drill 2, half inch holes in the bottom for water to drain. If they are to be used inside as a table center piece or fireplace mantle decorative box, then I do not drill the hole.
In the end they are strong, durable and beautiful no matter how they are used.