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Why I cut tails first. Score Tails-6 Pins-1 Either-2

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Forum topic by Dave posted 03-11-2011 07:02 AM 1983 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dave

11168 posts in 1492 days


03-11-2011 07:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

pro’s
1. Lay out and look of the piece. The tails are usually wider.
2. It is usually preferable to work so that you face the workpiece surface that will be visible on the finished job. You can therefore mark the tail outlines on the outside face.
3. When I transfer to the pin board. I am marking on the end grain. That is also the side you see when the joint is together.
4. You can cut multiple tailboards at he same time.
con’s
your answer here

anyone for either way?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com


35 replies so far

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rance

4132 posts in 1812 days


#1 posted 03-11-2011 07:28 AM

Hey, I’m on your side. :) I hadn’t thought about #3. I’ll add that to my list. Thanks. I’m thinking the end grain affects the knife less.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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EnglishDave

11 posts in 1286 days


#2 posted 03-11-2011 07:46 AM

I was taught to always mark tails, cut them then mark pins from tails, I have not cut that many dovetails over the years but this way round has always worked for me but that’s it really isn’t it? If it works for you do it whichever way…

-- http://dave-perks.artistwebsites.com/index.html

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Dave

11168 posts in 1492 days


#3 posted 03-11-2011 07:50 AM

thanks guys
tails 2 pins 0
Rance you made me laugh today. thanks twice. [hint, toolbox bathroom]

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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rance

4132 posts in 1812 days


#4 posted 03-11-2011 08:16 AM

Glad to be of service Dave. :) I’m in charge of humor around here. Self appointed. Take care.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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stefang

13017 posts in 1986 days


#5 posted 03-11-2011 03:06 PM

Oh, oh, here comes dissent Dave. I used to be a tails first man, but now I’m a pin head. I don’t believe there is a ‘right’ way. It all comes down to personal preference and each person has their own reasons for their favorite way. Here are the reasons why pins first is better for me.

1. I like to leave the marking lines to guide my cutting. When marking with the pins that line will remain on the tails. For me this helps me make more accurate saw cuts (I need all the help I can get).

2. I leave very little space between the tails at the board end, from 1/8” to 1/16”, and I find it much easier to get my knife or pencil in through the pins than I do on the tails while marking out.

I agree that pins first is a lot slower when doing multiples, but I always get a great result with pins first. When I do multiples I usually use my scrollsaw, (which tilts to both sides when I cut the pins).

I think the important thing here is that we are both happy with the way we do it, and maybe for different reasons, but we both get good results. Diversity is good and gives us something to argue about, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1345 days


#6 posted 03-11-2011 03:09 PM

I’m a tail guy all the way. The reason: I’ve never cut pins first! Therefore, I have no right to comment other than to say: Tails first! and steal your justification :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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helluvawreck

15772 posts in 1518 days


#7 posted 03-11-2011 03:38 PM

The main reason that I like to do the tails first is that for me it is soooo much easier to position the two pieces for the marking process. For me it is harder and more awkward to hold the pin board vertically to mark the mating board that to hold the tail board horizontally. I simply put the pin board in the vise vertically with the end level with the bench top. I lay the tail board on the surface of the bench and line up everything with my fingers and mark with a marking knife or scribe. It’s so easy to do it this way and keep something from slipping.

-- 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

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1345 days


#8 posted 03-11-2011 03:42 PM

Wreck, this is precisely the reason I’ve always done it this way. One piece in the vise & the other propped on a plane. I’ve got fancy marking knives but I find a sharp tipped exacto knife to work best for me. The pin board always seemed unstable, teetering over the tail board.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Dave

11168 posts in 1492 days


#9 posted 03-11-2011 05:00 PM

Mike, Al and Wreck I’m learning. I always use a pencil first for layout. I cant see. Then I use a knife and still draw a line over the cut and split the line when I cut. #5. With pins first you have to stand the board up to layout the tails.
Tails-4 Pins-1

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1345 days


#10 posted 03-11-2011 05:09 PM

SD, I’ve tried using a pencil, even a fine mechanical one, but I always mis-saw. I can’t see either & I have to have a deep line, a thin-kerf saw, and a bright light! I’ve never tried splitting the mark before. By your doves above, whatever you’re doing is working.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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helluvawreck

15772 posts in 1518 days


#11 posted 03-11-2011 06:56 PM

Bertha, my knife is not real fancy. I have one that I made from template steel that I heat treated myself but it’s just plain jane. The other is just a small simple carving knife. This is a good topic. Thanks for posting.

-- 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

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Loren

7544 posts in 2299 days


#12 posted 03-11-2011 08:34 PM

When tails are cut first the pins can be marked by registering a chisel
against the inside faces and giving it a tap with a hammer. I clamp
the tail board with the end flush with the bench, align the cut tails
over it and mark with the chisel.

I find it easier to rip straight down. The slight angle of the tails is
harder to get on the line for me. With my method I don’t have
to worry about cutting exactly the right angle. When cutting tails my angles vary a bit, so I cut them first and transfer the variance
to the pin board.

The bowsaw is “self-jigging” for cutting dovetails because you can
rotate the blade to whatever angle you want then focus on keeping
the frame exactly aligned with gravity. Then the angle of the blade
determines the direction of the cut. I make the tail cuts going one
way then flip the board and go the other way.

In cutting the pins the bowsaw frame is held at an angle. This is
not hard easier because the wrist and forearm do the correct
angle quite naturally. Angling the saw also allows for long rips
and resawing with it.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1345 days


#13 posted 03-11-2011 08:51 PM

You know, Loren, I’ve never had the guts to mark my pins using a chisel but I’ve thought about it on a few occasions. I’ve also never used a bowsaw to cut dovetails. ‘don’t even own one, as sad as that is. Oh well, add it to the list of projects!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Dave

11168 posts in 1492 days


#14 posted 03-11-2011 09:32 PM

Al I use a 0.5 and layout the tails. I cut with a dozuki. I will still wander a bit. My dozuki once it starts on a line it stays there. I always pair or use a large rasp to square the saw marks.

Lets say your cutting a 1 in 6. Even if I was off a bit, as long as it is square the eye can’t tell. Mark your pins. And Loren I do like the thought of using a chisel. I have been using a knife and there is human error (Dave). I will drag my pencil lightly over the knife mark. It will leave a light line in the kerf of the knife mark. And then I cut on the waste side. It works out for me.
I have not used a bow saw on the doves. What is the tpi and how wide of a blade?
Oh
Tails-4 Pins-1 Either-1

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1345 days


#15 posted 03-11-2011 09:49 PM

Dave, that’s really clever using backer boards at your strike line. That’s a helpful idea & serves several purposes. I’ve always wanted a bowsaw. There’s something just “right” about a bowsaw cutting a dovetail.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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