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Dovetails

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Project by DKV posted 815 days ago 1958 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Most of you will not consider this a project but I couldn’t find a section called “mission”. It’s been my mission to learn to handcut dovetails. After hundreds of attempts and many, many videos on Youtube I think I have the “rules” down. Here’s what I’ve found out. The rules are your rules. Example, always use the same pencil so you can automatically see where to cut on the inside of the line. Another example, when clearing the sockets place the end of your chisel in the scribe line and lightly tap a couple of times at 90 degrees and then hog out at 92 degrees. That way you’ll have a nice clean scribe line and wiggle room at the center of the socket. Anyway, I apologize if anyone thinks I should not have posted here. I’ve done a lot of projects that were far easier and quicker than my dovetail “mission”.
Don

-- 2014 will be a different year...at least for me it will.





12 comments so far

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 825 days


#1 posted 815 days ago

Look pretty clean. I’ve been told they get easier with time. Most of the videos take ten minutes so there’s your next challenge ;)

-- Wood is not velveeta

View FredIV's profile

FredIV

115 posts in 995 days


#2 posted 815 days ago

i work on hand cut dovetails whenever i get the chance. i’ve gotten it down to less than 5 minutes. my technique is getting better and still have lots of room for improvement.

View DKV's profile

DKV

3059 posts in 1109 days


#3 posted 815 days ago

Fred, cutting a dovetail is not like swimming or riding a bike, imo. If you do not cut them on a regular basis you get rusty. Anyway, practice, practice, practice…

-- 2014 will be a different year...at least for me it will.

View Martyroc's profile

Martyroc

2708 posts in 911 days


#4 posted 815 days ago

Nice job, I learned to cut dovetails by hand many many years ago,and you are correct, if enough time passes you lose your edge.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View eddie's profile

eddie

7054 posts in 1219 days


#5 posted 815 days ago

need to learn dove tails .i be happy with learning them with a router .but would like to know hand cut ones too those look good to me

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Allanwoodworks's profile

Allanwoodworks

111 posts in 1446 days


#6 posted 815 days ago

Very nice! I too have been on a mission to learn them myself. One question for you is on the use of plywood, Just curous if you got a clean cut with your saw? It looks super clean in the picture. Did you have any problems working with plywood?

-- Ty, Up in Washington

View DKV's profile

DKV

3059 posts in 1109 days


#7 posted 815 days ago

MVW, I only used plywood because I had so much scrap. Very good plywood from a hardwood store, not a big box store. It cuts and holds up better. I used a Shark saw (very thin, very sharp) and cut short of the scribe line with multiple kerfs. I then used my chisel to hog out the sockets using the 90 degree/92 degree method to maintain a very clean line for the socket bottom. I’m now ready to try walnut, maple, rosewood, etc. I have also found that if I was cutting dovetails frequently I would come up with some kind of jig to make the cutting and cleaning faster. I’ve tried dovetails on the tablesaw, bandsaw and router. I have more control over the process when I cut them by hand…just too slow. Anyway, good luck and keep me up to date on your progress. I’ll post more pics with better wood soon.
Don

-- 2014 will be a different year...at least for me it will.

View sawdustmaster's profile

sawdustmaster

70 posts in 1431 days


#8 posted 814 days ago

I started learning to cut dovetails by hand a few months ago. I wasn’t interested in spending tons of money on a fancy jig so I spent tons of money on fancy hand tools, it just seems more pure to cut them by hand. Anyway, practice makes all the difference. I just started using an actual marking gauge instead of a pencil and the scribe line itself has made a substantial difference in the accuracy of the cut. Is it really possible to get airtight dovetails or is that just what it looks like in all the magazines? I always seem to have some sort of tiny gap in there somewhere.

-- --Now we are surrounded sir. "Excellent private, now we can attack in any direction."

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1080 days


#9 posted 814 days ago

Is it really possible to get airtight dovetails or is that just what it looks like in all the magazines?

Yes it is possible, all you have to make sure is that you cut on the waste side of your scribe line. I think Schwarz has made a very good point, dovetails are not only a matter of sawing. You need the correct stance, so that you can build muscle memory and your arm moves as a straight pendulum all the time. Once you get this down dovetails become easy and air tight. As Franz Klaus one responded to a question of making dovetails, ” it is not the dovetail the problem it is that you cannot cut to a straight line. “

The neat thing is seeing the progress, with time your dovetails will look great and besides the satisfaction, there are a myriad of dovetail combinations that cannot be made with a jig.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

252 posts in 1218 days


#10 posted 814 days ago

Hey, DKV, I’m on a similar mission and your joints look much more advanced (better) than mine.

Way to go!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11639 posts in 2293 days


#11 posted 760 days ago

Certainly the cleanest cuts I’ve ever seen in plywood !
Speaking of ply , that looks like some very high quality plywood…I haven’t seen plys that uniform or solid in years.
Keep up the good work : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

4762 posts in 1447 days


#12 posted 714 days ago

Be proud. Dovetails are the mark of the true woodworker! Good discussion. The more mistakes the more we learn.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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