Learning to Cut Dovetails by hand

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Scottwpaul02 posted 02-13-2010 12:40 AM 1257 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Hey all,

First of all I wanted to thank all of you guys and gals that have commented and given me hints or inspiration on my projects. I have loved woodworking my entire life, but only recently have I started to pursue it more diligently. My first goal was to learn how to cut dovetails by hand. I know it is a random goal, but I figured that the tools involved to get started…and the skill required would give me a good foundation or starting block to other things.

So my first stop was to the local Woodcraft store. There is only one woodworking store in my neck of the woods and I did not realize how expensive everything was. I bought a middle of the line chisel set by Irwin, a japenese style dovetail saw, a marking gauge, and some glue.

Needless to say the chisels I bought were less quality than I thought they would be, especially considering the price, I found that I needed a GOOD set of chisels, a few hand planes, and to fix the kerf pull of my dovetail saw ( it was pulling significantly to the right as I cut into the wood). The projects on my page show a few of my projects, but shown here is a my current set of Witherby chisels that I reclaimed out of ebay
Restored Witherby chisels
...and my 17th try at cutting dovetails. I fixed the kerf issue by running a fine diamond honing stone over the side that pulled (I am not sure this is standard or if it will affect my cutting long term or not). All of my trials have been with red oak which has been a complete pain in the arse…I am thinking of running out and picking up some softer wood (maybe poplar) to continue practicing. Anyway, I will keep you all posted! Here is my latest version.
Dovetails at an angle
Pin view
Tail view
My ultimate goal is to be able to make well-made boxes and chests with hand cut joinery. If anyone has any experiences or hints, books to read, or videos to watch, please let me know! Thanks for looking.

1 comment so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#1 posted 02-13-2010 02:22 AM

I would suggest watching a video by Frank Klausz

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics