I’ve tried dovetails before with the one back saw I had before – a $5 Stanley cross-cut saw. Results were less than stellar, way less, even disgustingly horrible, so I gave up trying until I got some proper tools. I got a Veritas dovetail saw and some dovetail markers for Christmas (per my specific request). I bought a vise and finally got it installed last week. So, I was ready. I had seen Christopher Schwarz’s article on doing a dovetail a day and I decided to give it a try since it sounded like good practice.
I have scrap pine 1×4’s so that is what I’m starting out with. I’ve heard Rob Cosman make a comment that pine is good to practice on (he was talking about a table in this case) because you learn to be very careful since it is so soft. Same goes for cutting dovetails in pine, I would say. It dents so stinking easily, it’s ridiculous.
Here is day 1:
I put 3/19/14 instead of 4/19/14. I learned that if you mark out your tails intending to remove the pins, cut on the wrong side of the line, proceed to chop the tails out instead of the pins, then everything ends up backwards. I thought it looked funny when I got done, then I realized what had happened. I had even marked X’s on the pins to remove them, but for some reason I removed the tails instead. Lesson learned.
After day 1 results, it was almost impossible not to improve. Again, I erroneously wrote March 20 instead of April 20.
Day 4 was a move backwards. I learned on day 4 not to rush and to make sure I mark which pieces I want to remove. I had cut the tails first, then got distracted when I started the pins and had to go entertain the kids for a little while. Upon resuming I decided that I didn’t need to mark the waste and would just remember which side to cut on. Well, that didn’t work. It seems I forgot completely what I was doing and just be-bopped along cutting on the wrong side. That’s why you see the big kerfs around the tails.
So far the best results. The sawing just seemed to go so much better today.
I’m cutting them the way Paul Sellers teaches in his Dovetail Caddy video series. I learned how to chop mortises from him, so I figured I would learn dovetails from him as well. I think he is a good teacher.
One thing I’ll mention is that I used a 1/4” chisel for all of these because it is the only one I have that is currently sharp. I’m transitioning from using the scary sharp method to using diamond stones. I’m missing too many of the different grits you need for scary sharp and I don’t feel like buying any more. Plus, I don’t really like the scary sharp method anyway.
At this point my goal is to update every 5 days, although I will be forced to take a few days off being that summer is coming up and vacation is in the plans at some point.
Thanks for reading.