More panel gluing! Got a blank made for one of two upper shelves. Also completed the blank for the bottom shelf and the top of the cabinet. These are important as they set the width. The top will be dovetailed (half blind) to the two sides. The bottom rides in two dados. I’ll cut the bottom to final size after the dovetails are done and fitted.
I’m by no means an expert at hand cutting dovetails. Or machine cutting them for that matter. I can do both and I have on occasion done nice looking ones. But in this case, the dove tails are going to be hidden joinery so they can be “carcass grade” work. This is good because I’m not terribly good with hand cut 1/2 blind so we’ll just call this more practice.
Go find Tommy MacDonald’s videos here or over at http://www.mlwwoodworking.com/index.html to see some good examples and instruction.
Oh, and why am I hand cutting them when I could use a router? Well, the sides are 78” long so that makes it very hard to do at a router table or in a bench jig. And using a block mounted jig is just a tough since I’d be up on a step ladder to do the cutting. Hand cut it is then.
Normally I cut pins first but that is with through dove tails. Here I’m going to cut tails first in the top board then then cut the half blind pins in the sides. Again, I’m not worried if this looks a little crude. It will be completely hidden in the finished cupboard. Ever see some of the hack job looking carcass dovetails in 18th century furniture? Wow, I’ve seen a few that look like they used trained beavers with one busted tooth to do the job.
1) Mark all the boards. Mark the tail depth at 1/2”. Also mark this on the ends of the sides.
2) I’m cutting these pretty coarse so I think 4 tails per side is enough. Easy way to split things is to pivot a ruler until a number evenly divisible by 4 lines up with the opposite edge, 12” in this case. Now make tic marks every 3”. Ta-da, 4 evenly spaced tails.
3) Transfer these marks up to the end of the board. I’m going to make the pins 1/2” wide at their narrowest. Mark what looks like a good angle for the pins. I like this angle, just picked it from thin air! Probably around 1:10. I transfer the marks around to both sides of the tail board. Just because I need all the help I can get.
4) Start cutting away the waste material. Not critical at this stage if I work inside, outside or on the line. Later when cutting on the pin boards, it will be important to work on the waste side only.
(Ignore the blue tape on my index finger. It is holding on a bandage. I was cleaning dried glue from my recycled plane blade glue-popper and slipped!!!)
5) Cut in from the side to waste out the 1/2 pin space.
6) Cut out most of the pin waste with a coping saw. If I had a band saw, I’d probably use that instead.
Next is to chisel and clean all the tails. After that I can transfer the marks to the sides and cut the pins. Yes, I realize if I had done this pins first I could have taken a few shortcuts like using a router and dovetail bit to waste out some of the material and the transfer of marks might be a little easier going from pin to tail instead of tail to pin. But this shouldn’t be too bad for transferring the marks and I can still use a straight bit on the router to waste out part of the material on the pin boards.
I went with the tails first option in this case as an experiment, because as I said before, I’m used to cutting pins first. This will be fun I tell ya! Fun!
-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.