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Hand tool tips and tricks #19: Dovetail Tip; Mark Your Mistakes Early

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 04-16-2013 01:11 PM 1238 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: No Pencil Gauge? No Sweat. Part 19 of Hand tool tips and tricks series Part 20: A Bit More About Resawing »

There are an awful lot of errors you can see well before a test fit. I have found that the earlier I make note of them, the more likely I am to catch them and clean them up before they are an issue.

Here you can see two places I ran afoul of my cut line, I can clean that up once the waste is cleaned out of the tail sockets.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan



10 comments so far

View RaggedKerf's profile

RaggedKerf

407 posts in 872 days


#1 posted 04-16-2013 02:47 PM

Okay, I really need to practice my dovetails…I just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out where you ran afoul of your cut line…I kept thinking, man, I wish my lines were that nice, where is the mistake? lol I was looking at the lines and missed the arrows.

My problem is usually going too deep because I’m not paying enough attention to where I’m supposed to stop cutting…and I’m not good enough to know where the saw blade is cutting. But that’s what scrap wood’s for, right?

-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1406 days


#2 posted 04-16-2013 04:18 PM

RaggedKerf Try this on for size, it’s a bit slower, but it’s a good way to learn and a good way to do cuts that have to be perfect. Cut a small kerf in the end of the board to start your cut, then as you work use more pressur on the back end of the saw, tilting it back as you go. This will avoid cutting much int the kerf of the back side, while following the line you can see. When you about touch your line bring the saw level and work your way down. You can look at the back of the cut as you go, so you can check that your level. If you use a light touch, your saw will follow your other kerfs, so you can go ahead and focus on depth.

This is an almost essential technique on tenons.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View RaggedKerf's profile

RaggedKerf

407 posts in 872 days


#3 posted 04-16-2013 04:52 PM

Thanks for the tip! I will try that…at least it makes sense in my head at the moment!

-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

5837 posts in 734 days


#4 posted 04-17-2013 02:21 PM

Thanks. Hand cut dovetails are on my list to practice this year. Kind funny, all the power tools I have and I drew the line at a dovetail jig. Just feels like cheating;-)

-- Red-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1406 days


#5 posted 04-17-2013 04:12 PM

That’s a pretty good line to draw. Cutting them by hand give you a heck of a lot more control over the final look of your work.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

5088 posts in 1192 days


#6 posted 04-18-2013 01:45 PM

You have identified the problem, how did you go about remedying it?

-- ~Tony

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1406 days


#7 posted 04-18-2013 03:58 PM

Two ways to fix this one.

Pare it down with a chisel after you have removed the waste betwen the pins.

Or use light pressure from your fingertips on the saw plate to chew away the waste you missed the first time.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

5088 posts in 1192 days


#8 posted 04-18-2013 04:02 PM

I often get myself in trouble with the pare in that case, ill have to try the saw method. I am feeling more and more comfortable with a saw in hand.

Thank you bud.

-- ~Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

15563 posts in 1319 days


#9 posted 04-18-2013 04:02 PM

I find when i do hand cut dovetails, I mark the good ones. I know everything else needs work. Fewer pencil marks that way.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1406 days


#10 posted 04-18-2013 04:05 PM

^Don. You my friend are just plane awesome. And yes I used the wrong word on purpose.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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