Curved chest dovetailing

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Stefflus posted 06-04-2013 05:59 PM 1862 reads 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

 photo IMG_0941FIXA_zps23ba46c2.jpg
I’ve been triple dared to show how I dovetailed my chest, so I’ll give it a try.

After shaping the walls, I stood them up at the right tilt individually. In this position I could make a simulated miter line by means of a jig that guided a batten with a pencil at the end.
 photo 3769789-0_zpsd906d187.jpg

After cutting almost to the line at the bandsaw (1mm clearance at bottom, 7mm at top), I stood them up square in corresponding pairs, and at the right tilt. While in this position I could plane the end of each wall flush with the corresponding outer flat.
 photo IMG_0910_zps56335930.jpg

When this was done I could scribe the inner profiles of each wall onto the other. This is a good, trustworthy reading. -But note that since the walls are sloped, the end of each wall will not correspond with the inner profile of the other wall while working on a flat table, for that one would have to move the wall in the sloped plane. Also the inner profile doesn’t match the outer perfectly, but that doesn’t matter too much.
 photo IMG_0913_zps727c96ef.jpg

I modified a scribing gauge to work at 180 degrees, so I could scribe an approximate tail and pin bottom on the outside. Inside I had the trustworthy transfered line.
 photo IMG_0914_zps7ae15492.jpg
 photo IMG_0915_zps404375fb.jpg

I don’t have pictures or drawings of the tail layouts, but I think it is easily explained.
I put a plumb line down the center of each short wall, where the tails would be. Then I marked out the tails width with a compass. Using a large protractor I made a mark on the plumb line at the correct angle from the tail compass marks. Then I used the mark on the plumb line to draw one pair of tail sides, ensuring that both corners would be mirrored. However, each tail on the same side might have a slightly different angle due to inaccuracy, but it doesn’t matter in any practical way, and it is not visible.
When the tails where marked, I made a level line by measuring out the tails:
 photo 3769817-0_zps5bd414ec.jpg

Now I had to cut the tails while the walls where standing in their correct position but slightly protruding, so I could use the level line as a sawing guide. I stopped 3mm from the line, removed the waste with a fret saw, then chopped to the inner -trustworthy- line with a chisel. Now I had to transfer this to the outer tailbottoms, so I taped a fence onto my dovetail saw:
 photo 3769807-0_zpsbc9629bc.jpg

After cleaning up the tails, I transfered the tails to the pins with an awl, and the process is pretty much the same from there, except that one must take care never to make the pins too small. I made them a little too large, and spent alot of time adjusting them with a paring chisel.
 photo IMG_0917_zpsa5e1ec77.jpg

-- -Steffen, from Norway

5 comments so far

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1863 days

#1 posted 06-04-2013 09:05 PM

Thanks for sharing this with us, Stefflus. This is one of the most impressive displays of joinery I have seen here, and you make it look easy.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View KCConst's profile


68 posts in 1893 days

#2 posted 06-05-2013 02:13 PM

Great work Steffluss. Quite a challenging task that would undoubtedly be taken for granted by an average consumer. Only craftsmen would understand an appreciate the thought and effort undertaken by such work. Congratulations, well done.

-- "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do" Wooden

View BBF's profile


143 posts in 1833 days

#3 posted 06-05-2013 02:17 PM

Thanks for sharing. You do very nice work.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2844 posts in 1969 days

#4 posted 06-06-2013 09:48 PM


-- Paul, Las Vegas

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1246 posts in 1708 days

#5 posted 11-18-2013 04:15 PM

Wow. Great design. Oldschool, modern and norwegian at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics