Dovetail Practice Session #1

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Blog entry by helluvawreck posted 09-08-2010 08:58 PM 1453 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last week I received my Veritas dovetail saw and planned on having a dovetail practice session this past Labor Day weekend. Saturday, after straightening out my shop, I got out all of the tools that I would need and laid them on the work table near the front vise. I always have plenty of maple at the plant so I had brought home several pieces of soft maple that had been surfaced 4 sides to 3/4 in. x 5-1/2 in.

I planned on making 4 practice corners and to take a break after completing each one. This way I could think about how each step went and analyze every step to see what were my major errors so that I could improve my skill as much as possible before going on to the next corner.

Before this practice session it had been close to a year since I had hand cut any dovetail joints since I have mostly been involved with remodeling our home during this past year. After I completed these 4 practice corners I would then make some sort of dovetailed box for a simple project.

The following pictures should be self explanatory and you will see that my dovetails are not perfect. This is what I want to correct and I think that after a few more practice sessions such as this I will get to the point where my dovetails are satisfactory and efficiently cut.

I believe that it was a rewarding experience and has improved my skill at cutting dovetail joints. I would encourage any of you that would like to improve their skill to do the same sort of practice exercise. I will have several more such sessions in the coming weeks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

9 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#1 posted 09-08-2010 09:07 PM

looks good!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3195 days

#2 posted 09-08-2010 09:44 PM

Those look really nice so far. Nothing another practice session couldn’t take care :) I’ll be doing some practice sessions too for the half blind dovetails on my drawer fronts over the next few weeks. I have a Japanese pull saw for dovetails though so I have to get used to that pull stroke.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#3 posted 09-08-2010 09:52 PM

Great Job! Looks like the saw is working pretty good!

Like Eric, I have been using the Japanese style pull saws for dove tails. For me they provide more control.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View dub560's profile


615 posts in 2913 days

#4 posted 09-09-2010 01:19 AM

that’s better than what i could come up with and that’s a fact you know. i chop my dovetails on a jig with a router

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 2938 days

#5 posted 09-09-2010 02:14 AM

Nothin wrong with that nuthin at all…..................................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3720 days

#6 posted 09-09-2010 06:21 AM

You’re getting there and practice is the only way to get better. One of my tricks was to make dovetailed birdhouses. I got tired of just pracrticing and needed some new birdhouses…there are still hanging in the trees at least 5 years later. Keep it up.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 3004 days

#7 posted 09-09-2010 07:03 AM

How ironic. I did the same thing. I cleaned my shop only over the holiday since I came down with the stomach flu (I couldn’t take it any more lying on the couch) and decided to pull out my dovetail handsaw and practice a bit. It took me a while to get the hang of it. Rewarding, isn’t it? Love the attention to detail. Keep splitting the lines and post the progressions.

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3115 days

#8 posted 09-09-2010 09:34 PM

Dang ! you :-) , you realy force me down
in to the basement in the near future not just to practish , but allso to clean with the big broom :-(

ceep up the good work

View helluvawreck's profile


31096 posts in 2867 days

#9 posted 09-10-2010 02:21 PM

Thanks for all the kind posts. I really do appreciate it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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