Dog Bowl #5: Fixing loose dovetails

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Blog entry by kenn posted 03-30-2008 08:18 PM 2186 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Pins done, glued up Part 5 of Dog Bowl series no next part

Well I had a few dovetails that I wasn’t happy with. I took my dozuki saw and carefully opened the ones I thought looked loose to a consistent thickness. The idea is to get a kerf that you can then shim with similiar wood.


I cut those shim strips on the table saw with a zero clearance insert from cut offs from the sides. It was still a little thick so I sanded it a bit and then used a chisel to break off short shim stock. Then I slide a small piece with a bit of glue on it into the side of the kerf. Filling the kerf is a two step process so I was only trying to get the side of the dovetails to look good.


Next I trimmed those shims flush with a block plane and chisel. Now I’m ready to fill the top of the kerf. I carefully measure how wide the shim needs to be, trim one corner so it can sit properly in the kerf, a little glue and slip it into place. Just finger pressure is all it needs. After the glue dried, I trimmed these by placing a chisel blade down low and breaking off the shim so there was only a little bit that needs to be trimmed with the plane.


A little planing and sanding and this baby is about done. Here’s a quick wipe down with mineral spirits to check it out before putting some Danish oil and wipe-on poly on. Jersey will be eating dinner out of here in couple of days.


-- Every cloud has a silver lining

6 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3954 days

#1 posted 03-30-2008 08:21 PM

One of the signs of a good woodworker fixing booboo’s.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3840 days

#2 posted 03-30-2008 08:35 PM

Coming along nicely. Great save.

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3685 days

#3 posted 03-30-2008 08:44 PM

Thanks guys, I thought after looking around a bit, maybe it’d be good to show that dovetails can be done. You just need a little patience and willingness to stick with it. Of course once I started this blog, I had to show the good and the bad and the ugly. A couple of coats of finish and this one is done.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Grumpy's profile


23841 posts in 3816 days

#4 posted 03-31-2008 12:23 AM

Nothing like a good coverup Kenn. We could call this one ‘woodgate’. Nicely done.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3787 days

#5 posted 03-31-2008 02:31 AM


Thanks for showing how to repair dovetails. I hope to put that info into use, if I can ever learn to cut them. But “fixing” them is the mark of craftmanship.

thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3688 days

#6 posted 03-31-2008 02:33 AM

I have burnt many mistakes in the fire place over the years that could have saved. Thanks for the tip!

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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