Mahogany Briefcase

One of the oldest projects I retain, built in 1989. I believe I have a picture of a bird feeder I built entirely with hand tools when I was 8, but (not so sadly) the item hasn’t been around for a long time.

This is a simple briefcase that was built in high school shop. The body is mahogany, built with simple rabbets and glued together. There are two dadoes that run the full length on the sides of the lid portion to hold the ‘dividers’ which are of 1/4” mahogany plywood inserted before the glue-up. The top and bottom are made from 1/4” mahogany plywood glued on. The lid was then ripped apart from the bottom once it was all assembled. I believe the finish is some awful polyurethane from a spray can. Cheap hardware, an awful finish, and the overuse of power tools all came together with a lot of glue and simple joinery to make it.

Interestingly enough, this saw a lot of hard use by myself and my brother over a 10 year period and there is only one rabbet joint that has begun to separate after 15 years.

Briefcase - Exterior
Interior of Briefcase

  • Exterior of the briefcase.
  • Interior of the briefcase (the cat was a much later project additoin)
  • Close-up of the rabbet joint that is starting to fail. The rabbet joints were simply glued, with no additional reinforcement other than the outside panels that make up the sides.
Failing Joint

All Materials not credited to other authors is (c)2003 - 2008 Paul R. Morin.