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I have begun my hand cut dovetail journey

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Forum topic by bonesbr549 posted 05-26-2015 02:26 AM 981 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2533 days


05-26-2015 02:26 AM

well this weekend started to learn to hand cut dovetails. It will take some time but not a bad start up until now all had been cut by jig. I thought the pins would be the big challenge but I did those just fine. The depth of the pins could have been a tad more. I got a bit of blowout on backside but that was a crack in the wood I missed in my scrap piece

I used David barons saw guide that worked as advertised with my dozuki saw chisels were Lienielsen.

I only cut myself once with those suckers so it was a successful day.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.


14 replies so far

View jsuede's profile

jsuede

69 posts in 690 days


#1 posted 05-26-2015 03:41 AM

That looks like a great start.

I don’t have any photos of the first (and only) handcut dovetails I did, but I remember them looking more like a joint a beaver might use to block a stream.

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Andre

1023 posts in 1272 days


#2 posted 05-26-2015 03:58 AM

Practice, Practise, Practise and learn some tricks to hide the mistakes! I am trying to Dovetail some 1 3/4” cedar planks, want to talk about a challenge? I always find the Pins easy, if the tails are off you are in big trouble!!!!!!!
Do you cut the Tails or Pins first?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2533 days


#3 posted 05-26-2015 12:49 PM

I did the tails first just because I thought it would be a good exercise to get to know the saw. I may try pins first next time

Big learning was importance of light. I had problems seeing line made with title mark. Filled it in with pencil but still not the best. I finally got a flexible led light I have and that solved the issue

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View SuperCubber's profile

SuperCubber

871 posts in 1750 days


#4 posted 05-26-2015 02:44 PM

That looks like an awesome first try. I hope mine are that good when I finally decide to try!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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PatrickH

51 posts in 1353 days


#5 posted 05-26-2015 02:51 PM

Excellent work for your first set. My guess is that your gap is due to waste in the corners of your pins. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to remove and hard to see.

-- http://bloodsweatsawdust.com

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 947 days


#6 posted 05-26-2015 02:58 PM

Your off to a good start.
Wise choice in using quality tools.

I’m a big fan of putting a shallow rabbet on the inside of the tails it really helps marking for pins.
Hides any little gaps, too ;-)

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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HornedWoodwork

222 posts in 680 days


#7 posted 05-26-2015 03:03 PM

For the gap in picture two there are two steps that are sure fire ways to eliminate that, first, work the shoulder of the tails a little, giving them a slight chamfer, second work the cheek on the pin side, start inside of the shoulder a little and pair away a small amount of waste stopping before you reach the opposite shoulder. This eases the cheek, and softens the corners to make for a nice tight fit. IMHO the best handcut joints are the ones that slightly exagerate the mating parts in favor of a tighter fit. You can deal with the blowout but stuffing a shaving in there, not that I know anything about that. ;-)

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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Andre

1023 posts in 1272 days


#8 posted 05-27-2015 11:00 PM

I always do tails first, way I learned and just makes sense. Having some real fun with the thick Cedar, Maple is so much easier!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1843 days


#9 posted 05-29-2015 06:10 PM


I did the tails first just because I thought it would be a good exercise to get to know the saw. I may try pins first next time

Big learning was importance of light. I had problems seeing line made with title mark. Filled it in with pencil but still not the best. I finally got a flexible led light I have and that solved the issue

- bonesbr549

Using a pencil to “highlight” the knife line tends to be counter productive and can harm the knife line. Keep the knife line clean and use better lighting as you found out.

I would agree with PatrickH, the gap is classic of crud in the corners or maybe, but not as likely, a small hump in the middle. Did you check the pin board with a square to see if there was a hump?

I like my pins and tails to set just a thin one short of their socket, much easier to plane long grain down to the short grain than the other way around.

ken

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2533 days


#10 posted 05-29-2015 11:08 PM

Thanks for thefeedback. More light is a must I re examined the joint more closely and definitely a corner issue. I notice they could have been crisper. I’m devoting tomorrow to another try.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View BubbaIBA's profile

BubbaIBA

383 posts in 1843 days


#11 posted 05-30-2015 07:54 AM

David Baron’s guide is a quick way to acceptable dovetails but, there is that damn but again, its use doesn’t do much to help you develop the visual and saw skills needed to make furniture with hand tools. What it can do is take some of the variables away so you can see what a good pin or tail socket looks like. Once it has helped you with those skills, lose the jig and work on your saw skills. A box a day for a month, if you try to improve each one, will set you for life with the saw skills to make almost any joint. BTW, chisel and plane skills are important but saw skill is the key to hand tool work.

ken

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2533 days


#12 posted 05-30-2015 12:41 PM

I appreciate the feedback. Like all skills I’ve developed its been through repetition and perseverance. I do intend to work on the saw by freehand a point in the future but the chisel will come first and basics. I will learn to crawl first and stand next.

I can’t wait till the day I can slam one out in 3 minutes and be done. However I’m still at the pins vs tails first decision.

I will get there cheers.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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helluvawreck

23189 posts in 2333 days


#13 posted 05-30-2015 12:47 PM

These are nice for your first dovetails and practice and determination will make them nearly perfect for all practical purposes.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- 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

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2533 days


#14 posted 06-01-2015 05:56 PM

Well, I did three more this weekend and lets just say, they were not worth (IMO) photographing The last one was close, but I’ve regressed not progressed.

At the end of the week-end I did a review of them and made the following observations.

1) First on doing pins first, was a disaster. I don’t know why but felt totally wrong.

2) The second & third ones were tails first and was better, but nothing to write home about.

3) I think my chopping area is not the best. I added a lamp to direct more light but it’s still not optimal. I plan on working on that. situation

4) After the light is improved, I’m going to add a better surface where I can clamp down my piece and work on it. I’m currently just holding it with the ball of my palm and hold the chisel and hammer with my mallet. I glued up a couple boards Sunday, and will be attaching that to my Moxon Vise and have dog holes so I can clamp down my piece to cut on it. May not make a hill of beans diff, but got to try something.

My new routine is to cut a small Dovetail as I go into the shop. I’m also going to cut my test stock down to 5/8” from 3/4” to see if that helps as well.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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