Step-back Cupboard Build #4: Chop-chop time

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Blog entry by rwyoung posted 06-11-2009 06:01 AM 1125 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: More gluing and starting on some dovetails Part 4 of Step-back Cupboard Build series Part 5: Plane, joint, glue, clamp and repeat. »

Time to chop the pins for the dovetails. The key for me is making lots of marks on my pieces so I don’t screw up (much). The top is 1/2” narrower than the sides to allow for the back boards to be nailed to the edge of the top. And since the top’s tails are hand cut, they have all the variations that go along with hand cut dovetails (especially mine). So important to mark the front edge and left and right edges.

Now get creative with the clamping so the top board will stay balanced while I mark between the tails for the pins.

Next I will make more pencil marks on my workpiece to show the areas to be cut away. I just don’t want any accidents later!!!

To move things along I’m going to waste out most of the material with a router and a spiral bit. I could use a dove tail bit and get some of the stuff down in the “V” removed too but it really doesn’t take that much work to chisel it out.

I’ve double stick taped a board across my workpiece to act as a stop for the router base so I can’t cut too far along the board. And I’m using the depth stop turret on the router to help me make two passes in the cutting. There is a 1/2” of material to remove and I don’t want to snap the bit. :(

After routing out most of the waste I can begin the cleanup with chisels. I think the photo’s only show a 1/4” chisel but I was using a 1/2”, 3/8” and 1/4” to do the work. After each area was cleaned out I re-honed the chisel on some 1500 paper. Someday I’ll invest in stones or a Worksharp or Tormek but for now I’m on the cheap and using sandpaper.

And now for a test fit (this photo shows the test fit of the left side, all the other photos were of the right side during chopping, etc.).

Just a tad more tuning up to do and this joint will close up tight and glue clean. Tomorrow I’ll dry-fit both sides to the top and take a measurement so I know how long to make the bottom board and the middle work surface boards. These get dados in the sides.

The dado cutting will have to wait until I pick up a shorter pattern bit, I don’t have a short 1/2” bit to cut the dados. I don’t want to use a 3/4” bit. By using a 1/2” and setting up parallel edges for it to ride against I can make a just-right-fitting dado for the shelf board.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

3 comments so far

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3496 days

#1 posted 06-11-2009 03:40 PM

Thanks Tommy!

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#2 posted 06-11-2009 04:13 PM

good progress

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3496 days

#3 posted 06-11-2009 06:49 PM

Slight re-think on the dados. It occurred to me I should allow for a little bit of radial expansion in the two fixed shelves so cutting the dados with a 3/4” bit and having the shelves maybe a few hundredths thinner than 3/4” would be OK. Since the grain orientation will be the same in the joint, the depth of the side and shelf will move together for the most part. The only thing that could cause a problem is a too-tight dado. If the shelf expanded radially, it could blow out the edge of the dado in the side pieces.

If on the other hand one was to use plywood for the shelves, then cutting an exact fit would be OK.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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