Methods to Trim Proud Dovetails

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Forum topic by BigMig posted 05-15-2012 04:56 PM 2414 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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337 posts in 1703 days

05-15-2012 04:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dovetail trim tip

I’m interested in options for trimming the ever-so-slightly-proud dovetails in a glued up box. Router with bearing…chisels…others? And lessons learned from your attempts that didn’t go perfectly?


-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

11 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3571 posts in 1577 days

#1 posted 05-15-2012 05:06 PM

depends on how proud they sit.

Table saw, band saw, belt sander, ROS, block plane, firmer chisel, old block of wood with a piece of sand paper glued to it, router, router plane….. the list goes on and on.

My favorite way is to use a roundtuit.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Mosquito's profile


6636 posts in 1382 days

#2 posted 05-15-2012 05:09 PM

Dallas, that was great! Roundtuit… I might have to make me one of those :-D

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4021 posts in 3050 days

#3 posted 05-15-2012 05:46 PM

Not a roundtuit. It is a blockplanetuit. I have one. You can buy mine for $5,060.37 shipped.
( I’m just so danged funny. I’ll go have another beer.)


View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2834 days

#4 posted 05-15-2012 11:31 PM

Mike, I like using a block plane. Sander works ok too. Router may give you some tear out.

View bhog's profile


2230 posts in 1780 days

#5 posted 05-15-2012 11:39 PM

I have had the best results with a #4 stanley.I have had issues when using chisels,probably lack of control on my part or in a hurry.A super sharp chisel can dig if your not careful.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 2725 days

#6 posted 05-15-2012 11:42 PM

A sharp chisel with a sideways slicing cut or a sharp plane.

Sanders are likely to round over a edge and a router would just be asking for trouble

View bent's profile


311 posts in 2759 days

#7 posted 05-15-2012 11:46 PM

i like to use the ball peen hammer trick to close any gaps, then trim flush with low angle block plane.

View paratrooper34's profile


788 posts in 2042 days

#8 posted 05-15-2012 11:52 PM

Bent, never heard of the ball peen hammer trick for wood dovetails. Can you elaborate? Sounds interesting.

-- Mike

View ducky911's profile


235 posts in 1879 days

#9 posted 05-16-2012 12:02 AM

Mine are just alittle proud so i sand. I did try a scraper but got tear out.

View bent's profile


311 posts in 2759 days

#10 posted 05-16-2012 12:36 AM

paratrooper34 – you hit the endgrain of the pins close to the gaps. the rounded hammer head causes the wood to compress and spread out a little bit, thus filling in the gap. it works if the pins are proud and you trim them up afterwards, if they’re already flush, you’ll create a divot.

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2738 days

#11 posted 05-16-2012 01:02 AM

I usually leave the long grain proud and trim it flush with
a plane. End grain is tricky to trim, but if I were routing
a lot of dovetails and leaving end grain proud I would belt
sand or disc sand them. It’s a matter of what standard
of craftsmanship you are working to.


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