Well, due to a posting about first dovetails by mikeswoodshop, I decided to (somewhat) chronicle my journey with hand cut dovetails over the last year or so.
My first attempts were far worse than anything here, but have been thrown away, so I don’t have pictures. I think the most heinous ones went into the wood stove. I figured that if I could get some heat out of them, they would at least be good for something. It wasn’t until my fifth or sixth joint that it occurred to me to start keeping them to study and learn from, though I didn’t date them, but just threw them in a box. Even so, there is a definite progression in quality from the first to last, though I can’t say for sure that these are in the actual order, but they are certainly close.
Let’s start here.
and we’ll go from there:
and the same one from the other side:
There are some gaps in these that are far bigger than what the camera shows, but they are getting better. This might be the point where I got the Veritas fine tooth dovetail saw. I wish I could be sure, but I didn’t really keep track of when these joints were cut. I do know there was an immediate and marked improvement in my dovetails when I got a good dovetail saw.
And finally we are getting to some of the better ones, though they still aren’t great. As you can see throughout, I’ve had problems with the half pins splitting out, because the joint is too tight, and I always try to assemble to the saw cut rather than doing a bunch of paring. I have gotten better at this, and it has forced me to hone my sawing skills.
After all of this, I decided to try half blinds. These are my first and only ones that I have done.
And even though I still have a ton of room for improvement, I have finally gotten to the point where I am willing to use hand cut dovetails on actual projects, and not just practice joints.
Thanks for looking, and I hope that this will inspire you to try to hand cut your dovetails if you haven’t yet, or to encourage you if you have, and find yourself with less than ideal results. Or possibly, if you are really good at it, this post just gave you something to laugh about! A little something for everyone.