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All Replies on Am I the only one who finds this annoying.... ?

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View Benvolio's profile

Am I the only one who finds this annoying.... ?

by Benvolio
posted 400 days ago


36 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2446 posts in 952 days


#1 posted 400 days ago

It doesn’t bother me. I definitely don’t get emotional about it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112000 posts in 2178 days


#2 posted 400 days ago

Leaving scibe lines for dove tails has almost been a standard for at least 200 years. If doesn’t bother me ether.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View TheWoodenOyster's profile (online now)

TheWoodenOyster

614 posts in 536 days


#3 posted 400 days ago

I have heard that the score line is like a signature to show everyone that the dovetail was hand cut. I guess when people see that, they are supposed to recognize that the joint was hand cut. Of course, the only people who know that are furniture designers and woodworkers, so the score line most likely means nothing to 99% of the population.

For the record, I also think it looks bad. It’s like masking off trim while you are painting and then leaving the tape there forever. Or leaving pencil marks on your work. I’m with you, I think it looks bad and I don’t really understand why people leave it there.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6674 posts in 1284 days


#4 posted 400 days ago

Ah yes, the scoring mark. Look at a Thomas Sheraton drawer side, you will see the same marks. Unless one intends to leave a drawer open (ouch, my knee cap!) it remains inside the case. Old masters did not care about the inside unless it was going to show, they did not even sand the case’s backs. It was one less thing to do before the client paid for the item, and got it out of the shop. The old “Time = Cash” thing. Don’t worry about it.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Benvolio's profile

Benvolio

132 posts in 532 days


#5 posted 400 days ago

Surely, this looks better?

More like an organic piece of art – like the wood YEARNS to be that shape. Like the joint was always meant to be… adding the score line would be like ruining the mystique of the artisan revealing seeing the man behind the curtain.

Perhaps as woodwoorkers we’re guilty of seeing pieces in terms of projects that bespeak the craftsman, rather than in terms of works of art that bespeak the wood??

-- Ben, England.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1255 days


#6 posted 400 days ago

Depends on the piece. On a tool chest a nice deep score line is going to aid construction. On a chest of carefuly crafted drawers, the line just looks off. You can of course be more gentle with your scribe and just give the barest hint of a line, you can rub that over with chalk to make it more visible to the eye (your chisels will find it just fine. This will be erased when you fit the drawer.

If it bothers you, fix it.

The dovetail in my picture is a tool-chest, which will get painted anyway…so why bother making the line not show?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9594 posts in 1219 days


#7 posted 400 days ago

It’s your struggle, so it’s not unreasonable. I make such marks, and if they smooth away during fitting, fine. If not, also fine. I kinda like a hint of them showing vs. dragging heavy-handed canyons for marks that can’t be removed. To me, that shows a finer touch.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15421 posts in 1468 days


#8 posted 400 days ago

I would say that if it’s going to be on something like a box where it will be exposed then the mark should not be there. If it’s on a drawer where the dovetails are hidden then it’s up to the craftsman to decide. My mother collected and sold antiques and most of them had the mark.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

620 posts in 774 days


#9 posted 399 days ago

+1 a1jim marking guages for dovetails have been mainstream since dovetails came into being.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1389 posts in 962 days


#10 posted 399 days ago

Aside from the purpose it serves, it’s a high fashion woodworking affectation that shouts, “Look at my fine hand work,” instead of an artifact of production furniture manufacture when all dovetails were hand cut.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

506 posts in 505 days


#11 posted 399 days ago

Although I understand tradition, craftsmanship, etc, they have always secretly bothered me in my work as well. It’s hard for me to admit that even to myself, but I think they do bother me slightly. I got over it because pictures like that in FWW convinced me that they were supposed to be there. Chalk up another brainwashed dovertailer. I tend to leave them there, but I do cut shallower with the gauge than I used to in order to leave a fainter line (happened without me even thinking about it). Thanks for bringing me one more thing to agonize over! :)

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7253 posts in 2249 days


#12 posted 399 days ago

I prefer to cut the pins and tails a little shy and plane the
long grain down to flush. This approach often obliterates
the gauge lines.

I don’t do it because the lines bother me though.

On drawers, leaving the lines is common. On exterior
fine case joints I think it better if they are planed off.

For that matter, the dovetail is a rather busy, workmanlike
joint. If you want refinement in your case joinery,
investigate doweling.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View MrDan's profile

MrDan

199 posts in 1889 days


#13 posted 399 days ago

I’m with MrFid. I think I got “talked into” accepting them by seeing them everywhere in highly respected magazines and books. I don’t like them, but over time I’ve come to accept the scribe lines.

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2378 posts in 2128 days


#14 posted 399 days ago

Some people even put the lines back if they get planed away during clean-up. To each his own.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1178 days


#15 posted 399 days ago

I think it’s an eyesore and would never leave the line like that, just to “prove a craftsman has been there”.
Would you have your car freshly painted and then have fingerprints added just to “prove a craftsman has been there”?

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

941 posts in 2408 days


#16 posted 399 days ago

The scribe line ‘left behind’ is just a professionals way of signing the dovetails as ‘hand done.’ Doesn’t bother me but, it’s not necessary. It’s like saying, “see…i can do it too!” Not necessary.

-- Max the "night janitor" at www.hardwoodclocks.com

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3559 posts in 2335 days


#17 posted 399 days ago

As for post #5, in my opinion nothing is more unsightly than edge grain burnt by overzealous sanding… yeah now, that’s the hallmark of craftsmanship!!

Give me scribe lines any day…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View RibsBrisket4me's profile

RibsBrisket4me

1376 posts in 1106 days


#18 posted 399 days ago

poopie kat, I was thinking the same thing about that burnt endgrain…YUCK!

-- http://www.PictureTrail.com/gid6255915

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2378 posts in 2128 days


#19 posted 399 days ago

If you just cannot get enough of this never-ending battle on LJs, search for “scribe line”. Here is an oldie but a goodie:
http://lumberjocks.com/PurpLev/blog/16980

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View Benvolio's profile

Benvolio

132 posts in 532 days


#20 posted 399 days ago

well we seem to be a fairly evenly dispersed bunch between the offended, the defender, and those who have better things to worry about!

It’s been interesting to hear other opinions, but I still feel that for a craftsman to leave scribe lines on as testiment to the hand hewn joint is a type of narcisissim.

I guess my take on design and building is that the journey should be a selfless one; the craftsman devoting his time and craft so that the piece he’s making should stand indipendant in itself. By leaving on the adages of production like scoring lines, there lies a pang of the craftsman claiming part of the glory of the piece for himself.
Fair enough, the craftsman should claim the piece for his own; but the piece shouldn’t claim the craftsman.

(that being said, I wouldn’t trust my opinion too far on matters of aesthetic as I rather liked the burned endgrain in the picture above!!)

-- Ben, England.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1255 days


#21 posted 399 days ago

I should have added three expressions that I have taken to love.

“A craftsman should be invisible.” Ryan Cazair, whilst he was beating quality control into my poor little brain on the production floor of a jewelery shop.

“Leave fingerprints” a paraphrase of James Krenov while talking about the slight marks left behind by a maker of cabinetry. He hated baselines to show FYI.

“Leave fingerprints, not smudges” where I fall between the two.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6674 posts in 1284 days


#22 posted 399 days ago

A “knife line” does look better than the ones i have seen with Sharpie marks…

Marking guage cutter nice and sharp? Should leave just a barely seen line.

Someone who burn a dovetail joint with a sander, has no idea how to use a handplane to smooth out the joint.

Doesn’t bother me one itty bit if there is a line like that. Shows someone took the time to mark things out, before they made the joint.

IF one planes the joint smooth, does that also mean that any layout marks will be gone?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile (online now)

CessnaPilotBarry

877 posts in 711 days


#23 posted 399 days ago

If you don’t like them, make them light and smooth plane your drawer sides after the glue dries.

It’s YOUR work…

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1524 posts in 1076 days


#24 posted 399 days ago

The marking line might be considered as part of the design to give the dovetail “separation” from the rest of the drawer wall. OTOH, the pic on the OP seems strange to me, almost as if it was made with a jig and then the scribe mark was added, specially since the drawer does not seem to to be complete, the bottom part has a half dovetail missing. Whoever made that drawer made some strange choices IMO.

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

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1527 days


#25 posted 399 days ago

I don’t like to see them, I don’t leave pencil marks on my work either, and it seems like the same kind of thing.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 981 days


#26 posted 399 days ago

Woodworking is not immune from fads, this is just another one. In 5 or 8 years it will be something else.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#27 posted 399 days ago

+1 a1jim I don’t worry about the side of drawers that are closed 99.99% of the time ;-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View RRBOU's profile (online now)

RRBOU

60 posts in 893 days


#28 posted 398 days ago

Each to their own. When I first started I left them as this was the way I was taught. Almost every one that saw them questioned them or commented that there was a bad scratch in the draw sides. I got tired of trying to justify them to the recipient of the project. I personally think they are terrible looking and now never leave them.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

View vipond33's profile

vipond33

1405 posts in 1099 days


#29 posted 398 days ago

Glue a nice piece of veneer over the whole drawer side and all is well. Only you will know that there are dovetails underneath, together with a giveaway scribe line, and that’s the way it should be. But I know, I know, and I do sympathize, it’s really hard to be a narcissist when only you know it’s there.
Then it will be just like a bad accident scene, safely resolved by the authorities “Nothing to see here Ma’am, keep moving please”.

“the craftsman should claim the piece for his own; but the piece shouldn’t claim the craftsman”. Nicely put Benvolio.
Eventually the maker will be dead and the piece will truly have to stand on its own, with no troubling questions.
gene

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

240 posts in 1724 days


#30 posted 396 days ago

You can leave the scribe lines when the joint is not exposed, so leaving them on the side of a drawer is acceptable. I believe you should not leave layout marks on a finished piece such as dovetailed casework. I believe the quality of your work will speak for itself. You don’t need layout marks to prove you did it by hand.

When I build a dovetailed box, I scribe nice and heavy on the INSIDE of the box. I really like having a scribe line to work from, so I will sometimes scribe the outside VERY LIGHTLY knowing those marks will be planed out in the final product.

Another way of doing the layout on an exposed joint is to use a regular old wood pencil. Stick a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to the edge of your bench and use it to put a very sharp, flat (chisel like) point on the pencil. The point should be so sharp and delicate that you need to re-sharpen it for each layout line.

-- Tony - http://ravensedgetoolworks.com

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

416 posts in 1684 days


#31 posted 396 days ago

It’s an eyesore in my opinion, and means nothing in regard to “hand cut” anymore.

Ive seen several instances where the dovetails where machined, assembled, then scribed after the fact.

To each their own though.

The craftsman should claim the piece for his own; but the piece shouldn’t claim the craftsman

Excellent quote Ben…

-- "The trouble with people idiot-proofing things, is the resulting evolution of the idiot."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14604 posts in 2277 days


#32 posted 396 days ago

machined, assembled, then scribed after the fact should be a capital crime!!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2829 posts in 849 days


#33 posted 396 days ago

This comment is pretty deep, but I recently had an argument with someone about this very topic and did a bit of research.

A long time ago, journeymen did a lot of the joinery – especially on secondary pieces like drawer boxes. The whole “leave the scribe lines” method was simply a way of showing off to your boss. If your scribe lines are visible, it means your joints fit so well you didn’t even need to plane them down. More often than not, they did not make it to the final piece as the master craftsman would clean them up. They also left them on their tool caddy’s as your tool caddy was like a resume.

I hate it and would never leave them

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View tirebob's profile

tirebob

123 posts in 1455 days


#34 posted 395 days ago

I don’t care if the lines are visible or not as far as the look of the piece, but I do love leaving them purely for sadistic reasons as it drives some guys mental! You never hear the guys that like them complain that someone else hasn’t left the lines, but you always hear the guys who hate them b!t@h out those of us who leave them. I find it funny…

No different then my knowing my wife has to have everything dead square and even on her desk, so the game is to move one thing slightly and see how long it takes her to lose her mind! lol! Eventually it got her to the point she just straightens out whatever I moved and says nothing, so now I don’t do it anymore… You guys who get worked up over lines could learn a thing or two from her. If it’s your work, do whatever you want. If it is someone else work, get over it…

View RonInOhio's profile

RonInOhio

720 posts in 1465 days


#35 posted 395 days ago

Maybe I’m a little unqualified to comment in this thread, but doesn’t the line mark differentiate
between a hand cut dovetail, and a dovetail cut by jig and machine ? In theory anyway ?

Never heard anyone else complain about the line mark.

Never gave it much thought.

View BLarge's profile

BLarge

115 posts in 1063 days


#36 posted 395 days ago

Its weird, when I see a joint without the marking line, it looks strange to me….

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