LumberJocks

Handcut Dovetail Problems

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Kevin posted 710 days ago 1581 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


710 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: dovetail hand tools joint

This is like the 4th or 5th dovetail I’ve done by hand so far. Can anyone give me some pointers on to get the pins / tails flush? My chisels are fairly sharp, but I need them sharper I am betting for one.

In the first picture the red outline is where I had decided to cut a little deeper to see if they would sit flush, but as you can tell I forgot to do the center one.

Thanks

-- Williamsburg, KY


25 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1596 days


#1 posted 710 days ago

I would say that you are trying to cut too close to the line for beginning. Also check that you are not angling the base of the cuts. Some people use a guide block to run the chisel against to keep the cuts vertical.

What kind of marking tool are you using to lay them out? I like to use a cutting gauge. It does two things. It marks the baseline but it also defines the first cut. Some people prefer pencil. If you use pencil, cut on the line.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4746 posts in 1175 days


#2 posted 710 days ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ8fSSKn0Ls

Keep at it Kevin, practice makes perfect, the video should help ya, good luck
now.

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#3 posted 710 days ago

I don’t have a cutting gauge yet so it’s a pencil.
On the first photo before I cut away some more of the wood those were sitting farily good, only thing is that the pins were not sitting flush with the tails, they were still recessed a litt.e

When you are talking about cutting too close to the line, are you talking about the pings ( i am cutting tails first right now) or chopping the waste out with the chisel? Since i’m using a pencil should I be cuttin on the line?

thanks,

kevin

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#4 posted 710 days ago

Thanks waho6o9,

I’ve watched that video along with a few others many times, lol :) Here is one i’ve also watched a few times over and over also. He’s got some pretty good videos on there of other stuff too.

http://woodtreks.com/how-to-hand-cut-precision-dovetails-%E2%80%94-part-one-the-pins/75/

Yeah, should have seen my first attempt at dovetail. I was using scrap oak and didn’t have sharp chisels at all, lol.

Thanks,

kevin

-- Williamsburg, KY

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4746 posts in 1175 days


#5 posted 710 days ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYW1JQmDa6I

Kari makes some awesome dovetails and furniture as well. I like the woodtrek’s video on dovetails and
watched it many times.
I cut close to the line and then use chisels to make the final fit.
Sharp chisels rock. Water stones make them wicked sharp quick.

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#6 posted 710 days ago

Nice video there. That gave me a few ideas that I will also try tomorrow.
Thanks David and waho6o9!

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7231 posts in 2246 days


#7 posted 710 days ago

I cut them out with a fret saw and then pare to the line, making
a shallow pyramid in the bottom of the joint and resting the
chisel point in the gauged line. The just shave the pyramid
off flush with a few more paring cuts.

A pencil line alone is no good. If you don’t have a marking gauge,
pencil your line then cut over it with a knife and ruler.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#8 posted 710 days ago

Hey Loren,

I do plan on getting a marking gauge and from what I’ve seen a fret saw looks a lot easier than a coping saw. I also need to get me some sharpening stones also.

Thanks,

Kevin

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Tootles's profile

Tootles

681 posts in 1100 days


#9 posted 710 days ago

Remember that cutting deeper as you tried makes the joint loose because of the angle of the joint.

I think, as others have said before, that you essentially have a marking problem.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View 12strings's profile

12strings

372 posts in 982 days


#10 posted 710 days ago

For me as I was (and still am) starting out, I marked my baseline about 1/16, or even 1/8 inch too deep on both pieces of wood, that way, I’m ABSOLUTELY SURE to have the tails and pins stick out proud once the joint is together…and then I just plane away the excess. That, and just make sure on your first piece you cut that the baseline is dead flat all the way across. use some kind of straight-edge to check it.

Here is an example from my tool chest, which was the first real dovetail endeavor for me…

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#11 posted 709 days ago

Well after my next hand cut dovetails they did come out better. I am going to have to find a better way to hold my board down while I chisel away though, keeps moving backwards on me. I’ve got a piece of oak on top of the board I’m chiseling with two f clamps, but it just keeps sliding backwards on me.

It also seems if I don’t go as slow cutting my cuts come out smoother, is that normal?

Thanks again for the advice.

-- Williamsburg, KY

View JeremyPringle's profile

JeremyPringle

281 posts in 1072 days


#12 posted 709 days ago

Just my thoughts,
The youtube video is a guy that knows what hes doing and is very fast and good at it, but I dont think he takes the time to explain everything in enough detail for a beginner. The woodtrek video I found the guy uses methods that (to me) are very time consuming and unnecessary, making the process too complex. I did a pictoral blog a while ago for half blinds, but everything is almost the same for through DT’s.
http://www.lumberjocks.com/JeremyPringle/blog/29576

One thing that I do for through DT’s, on all the flats that have been chiseled out. Once I have chopped all the waste out between the pins and tails, I set them back in the vice, and I use a pairing motion and create a hollow (very slight), that way you have two high points, the front and back lines. As long as you dont chop past your lines, everything should fit really tight.

Incidently, I do the opposite of 12 strings. I cut them so the tails are as flush as possible, but I cut the pins about 64th shallow, so they dont stick out at all. That way, I dont have anything in the way when I clamp it during glue up. then it only takes a couple passes with the plane to flush it up.

As for sawing, I am not sure what you mean. The slower you go the rougher the cut is? Makes sense. When you think about it, once you have a kerf established you cant stear the saw anyways, as the saw plate will follow the kerf. How are you holding the saw?

Hope that helps.

View ducky911's profile

ducky911

201 posts in 1387 days


#13 posted 709 days ago

check out my chest project on my site it has pics of some home made blocks that are a big help also you can see how many test runs that i did

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7231 posts in 2246 days


#14 posted 709 days ago

I try to make the long grain a little proud. Short grain is too tricky
to pare off flush, especially in softer woods, imo.

The way to get nice dovetails every time is pick a way of doing
it that works with your mental process (makes sense to you)
and for which you can tune your tools. Then work on doing
it the same way every time and your muscle memory takes
care of the aspect of dovetailing that seems so fussy when
you are learning.

There are some good comments on hand dovetailing in Krenov’s
books. He used dovetails in a lot of his pieces and the appearance
was always flawless from what I’ve seen.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

445 posts in 1803 days


#15 posted 709 days ago

Here is the saw that I currently use. Tell me what you think about it. I know it’s not the best, but all I could afford right now. You don’t realize how much things are until you are unemployed, lol.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_88300-414-BS240P_0__?Ntt=vaughan+8-1%2F2%22+pull+saw+with+extra-fine+blade&productId=1103277&rpp=16

Lots of good comments from you guys. I believe that i’ve almost found my pattern Loren. Up till tonight I was trying different things, I guess to see which I liked the best and was the best fit for me.

Just got through reading your blog Jeremy. Nice blog with lots of pics :)

Nice looking chest there ducky!

12strings, mine is almost up to par with yours with all the help so far :) with the exception of my tails not being perfectly straight which is bugging the heck out of me.

-- Williamsburg, KY

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase