I am hand-cutting the dovetails for the case joinery. Its the first time I’ve ever really done this. I’ve been playing around with dovetails a little lately for practice but haven’t used them for a project.
First I had to figure out how I wanted to lay them out. This took quite a bit of time actually. I started by looking at the two pieces to be joined.
I have a little dovetail sample that I use for a reference so I don’t get confused as to how the tails and pins go, how many marks I need, etc. The dovetail sample was one of the practice pieces that I cut off.
This is what the process looked like for figuring out the dovetail pattern. Basically trial and error with sharpie on masking tape until I liked the spacing. The spacing you see here changed before I settled on one I liked.
Marking the depth:
I love my Japanese marking gauge. In fact, I love the tools I work with as much as I love doing the work.
Cutting the Tails
I am using a Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide with my Japanese rip saw to cut the dovetails and man is that a sweet combination. Veritas claims that there saw guide ”lets amateurs achieve professional results” and I can tell you its true. It just arrived in the mail a few days ago so this is the first time I’m using it.
I know if I practiced enough times I would eventually split my pencil line every time without the guide. But this is just a jig that holds the saw and I can get perfect results in a joint as critical as this one right in the top corners of my case. So call me a cheater if you want, but I am still hand-cutting the dovetails. No power tools, just the “zip zip” of my saw and John Coltrain in the background.
Here you can get an idea of the spacing I finally decided on. There are three sizes of tails, the widest in the middle, two mid-size on either side of that one and three small tails on the ends:
Sorry, thats all I had time for in the shop and this weekend I’m going camping in Big Sur so you’ll have to wait till next week to see the finished dovetails.
Total building time so far: 14 hours
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