Armed with this,
I decided to try and see if I had what it took to do some hand joinery. My ultimate goal is to build a set of natural wood guitar head and speaker cabs for my own custom built amp, which also happens to be my first guitar amp electronics project. I was concerned that I was getting a little too interested in gathering nice, expensive tools rather than working on skills, so I set out there to make due with what I had.
I’m still a newb, so I actually have no idea what kind of wood this is, but I’m sure it’s been sitting around for quite a while and had time to “mature”, so to speak. Is there such a species as Scrap?
First order of business was to cut some practice blocks out of this wood with a table saw. Cheating, I know, I know! But I have to start with something that’s straight right?
So here we have it, 2 pieces of mystery wood (pine?). Let the journey begin!I have to preface this by saying that my previous woodworking experience was about 15 years ago in my middle school industrial tech class. We had band saws, belt sanders, drill presses, and all sorts of handy dandy devices. Unfortunately, I have no such tools, nor do I remember anything about what I learned in that class. So today, instead of well-oiled machines, I have from my random tool collection:
- cheap hacksaw
- rusty Craftsmen chisel
- marking nail
- elementary school ruler
- safety goggles
- ghetto bench vise, obviously not for woodworking
Here’s a closeup of how finely tuned my tools are today.
Notice the set(side to side offset of the blade?) of the hacksaw and the rust on the chisel? What you probably can’t see is that the chisel has some chips on the cutting edge…oh well, a good woodworker never blames his tools, right?
First order of business is to start cutting the tails. Using my trusty marking nail and hacksaw, which I reversed to a pull stroke, I came up with some mediocre to decent results.
Not bad! This almost looks like the video. Hooray! I can do this afterall!. Well, aside from the fact that the back cuts are not the same depth, but I digress.
Next up, chisel the waste. Simple right? All I have to do is tap this on the line on both sides and it should pop right out!
Holy crap, I’m doing it! I can taste victory now. Wait, what’s that little crack starting to form? Uh oh…
Welllp, looks like we’re doing 2, not 3, dovetails today. I continue to chisel, I’m pouring a lot of hard work into this…dangit, another crack.
At this point, I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel. These tools suck! I don’t consider myself a good woodworker yet, so I can blame my tools if I want to :P
Unlike any sane, dejected person, I decide to cut another piece from the scrap board and start over. This time though, I’ve ditched the flat head screwdri…chisel and just hacked my way through the waste.
Ok, at least the wood didn’t split this time. That’s a positive. Now for the tails.
Victory! Kinda. This particular hacksaw was probably not meant for precision joinery, and the blade kept twisting and curving along the wood instead of going vertical. Probably a combination of bad technique and bad choice of tools, but whatever, I’m so close!
Let’s see, a few more “refinements” with the hacksaw, and I’m ready to give it a test fit. Here we go.
It may not be pretty, but it resembles a dove tail, and it holds on to itself.
So there you have it, my first woodworking and dovetail experience. Even though it looks like poo poo, I’m still proud of myself for trying, and now I can only wonder how much I can improve on this before I decide to go on with my guitar amp project.
You think I should get some better tools?