I have been reading other people’s posts on hand cut dovetails and I thought about it and realized that I have not actually hand cut a dovetail in a long time. For those that don’t know, I have been getting myself set up again for woodworking and it has been nearly 20 years since I had a workshop. Most of my time and effort has been getting tooled up again and I can say now that I have what I want to work with. The last phase of acquisition was getting saws.
To start with, I grabbed a piece of Home Depot special mystery softwood. I figured that it would be good practice because it sucks. If I can cut reasonable dovetails in that, I don’t have much to worry about.
I crosscut the wood with my new bowsaw blade. I like it. A lot. Trimmed it up on the shooting board with a low angle block plane. I laid out the pins first this time. No particular reason. I don’t really have a preference. The little Zona backsaw makes a really fine kerf. $6 well spent. The pictures came out a bit fuzzy. I will have to work on that. My camera is only 15 or so years old and doesn’t have a macro. Sorry. I guess I will have to either take them from further away and crop them or get a better camera.
The little light lines next to the pencil marks are the kerfs. Pretty tiny. These saws have a really thin plate. I sawed out most of the waste with my new bowsaw that I built from a Grammercy kit. Then I trimmed up with chisels. The first time I cut out the tails, I didn’t bother to mark the waste. Oops. I cut out all the wrong pieces. Oh well. I flipped it around and marked out again. This time carefully marking the waste.
I didn’t bother to lay the tails out that carefully with a knife. I just went with a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil. I still need to improve my lighting and clear off my workbench.
The first time I put it together, I thought it was odd that the edges didn’t line up. Then it hit me. I had put the tails board in backwards. Flip it over and tap it together. Good to go. Overall, I am happy. I could trim it up a little cleaner and leave it a bit proud to leave something to trim flush. As it is, the joints are even and square.
My next project will be to put a depth stop on my plow plane. That or give my #45 one more chance to redeem itself. If I get things organized a bit this weekend, I might go pick up some lumber to make some tool trays that will become drawers in a tool cabinet. That will help a lot in getting things put out of the way so I can clean off my workbenches.
-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/