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Thread: Dovetails.

  1. #16
    Kudos, Greg. Handcut dovetails is like learning to play an instrument. There's no way around sheer practice. More than any skill, I'm in awe of handcut dt's; it's the one technique that's dependent on the operator - not the quality of the tool.

    In fact, (and I say this not bkz I can do it - but bkz I've seen it) the more expert people get, the less relevant the marking technique or saw type is.

    Keep going!!!

  2. #17
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    I'll try to snap a few photos on what I'm talking about with the combo sq. I'm currently taking a workshop at the North Bennett St School and we are curently going over dovetails so the info is fresh in my mind. They like the pins 1st so its the pins.
    Don

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    I'll try to snap a few photos on what I'm talking about with the combo sq. I'm currently taking a workshop at the North Bennett St School and we are curently going over dovetails so the info is fresh in my mind. They like the pins 1st so its the pins.
    that's a legendary school. how's the class going, don?

  4. #19
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    The class is great. Its 10 Saturdays (8 hrs) all hand tools. We learned sharpening, using chisels and the plane, mortise and tenon and through and 1/2 blind dove tails. I finally learned how to sharpen correctly. We basically spent 12 hours sharpening on an oil stone. I'm lucky I live close by and have wanted to take the class for a while.

    DSCN1633.jpgDSCN1634.jpg

    Here are a few photos for squaring the pins. The ruler goes against the pin and the sq sits on top of the pins and is pushed against the ruler. You can then check to see if there are any gaps and pare accordingly. To check the shoulder, put the sq back together and place the sq against the face of the board so the ruler goes across the shoulder. Go back and forth to check for square. If you cut a good line with the marking gage you can use that as a reference.

    Like I said once the pins are set you match the tails to them and pare the tails to fit. Don't touch the pins again.

    Hope this helps.
    Don

  5. #20
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    are you dovetailing maple or cherry?

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    Here are a few photos for squaring the pins. The ruler goes against the pin and the sq sits on top of the pins and is pushed against the ruler. You can then check to see if there are any gaps and pare accordingly. To check the shoulder, put the sq back together and place the sq against the face of the board so the ruler goes across the shoulder. Go back and forth to check for square. If you cut a good line with the marking gage you can use that as a reference.
    After four separate classes, attempting to get a handle on getting the pins right, I saw Phil Lowe do this. He just tossed it off as an obvious check - and that was worth the price of classroom fees right there.
    This is so simple because the flat ruler magnifies any alignment errors in the pins. It works for half-blind DTs, too.

    Is Andy Glenn teaching your course? He's genuine, and capable to bring skills across.

    *****

    To the OP - I think these are good enough to glue up, and with a little burnishing - they might be rendered invisible.
    William Ng has a technique for miter joints that are "challenged" which may just work for you, too.

    FYI - I leave drawer fronts a little wider than the opening, so I can plane them to fit.
    This step also allows you to get a smooth junction between the front and the side of you drawer.

    Kudos to taking this on, I feel this is the hardest part of furniture building, and frequently overlooked. It's the only moving part, so it needs to be solid.
    It's also the part you'll likely handle on a daily basis. That's a triple-threat right there; strong, functional and pretty. I can only manage two at a time...

    Hickory - really? What's that stuff like to cut with a handsaw?

    jim
    wpt, ma

  7. #22
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    You hit the nail right on the head Jim. Its these little things like marking the reference face and side that make all the difference and you need someone to show you.

    Unfortunatly since its a weekend class we don't get the full time instructors but get recent graduates looking to pick up some money.

    Frank, thats maple. These are boards we used in the class and I just cut off the previous pins and tails.
    Don

  8. #23
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    maple?!? ugggggggggh that's hard stuff!

  9. #24
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    I have been following Mike Henderson's tutorial on the web which is saying to cut the tails first and then mark the pins and chop out the waste. No clue if I am have terminology correct here because i know I am getting confused. The pins are on the half-blind piece of wood?

    Should I be going the other way and cutting the pins first and then making the tails fit?

    Jim yes the hickory is pretty tough and it has not been easy on the chopping or the cutting. I have a lee valley 20tpi dovetail saw which seems to work pretty good. I think i just need to practice with it some more. The pull stroke works great but then i go to push and it almost seems like the saw needs to be broken in because it is very difficult to cut on the forward motion.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cuetara View Post
    The pins are on the half-blind piece of wood?
    Yep. I keep it straight by remembering that the Pins are Parallel with the direction that the joint fits together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cuetara View Post
    Should I be going the other way and cutting the pins first and then making the tails fit?
    Neither way is right or wrong. The important thing is to pick one and practice it.

    Mike

  11. #26
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    All kinds of respect for NBS, but why on earth are you all using oil stones?

    Chirs

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    We basically spent 12 hours sharpening on an oil stone.

  12. #27
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    We use oil stones because of cost. This is a beginner course and you need to buy 300 bucks worth of tools if you have none so asking someone to invest in a set of stones on top of the 300 is a bit much.

    We have a few people in the class who have never done woodworking. I will say the oil stone did work well.
    Don

  13. #28
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    did you consider the scary sharp method?

  14. #29
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    All things considered, oilstones are pretty good for beginners because they are something that can stick with them for quite a while without a great deal of initial investment.

    Scary sharp is cheap to start, but I can't count the number of threads where beginners have had problems because of dubbing over edges from paper not being glued down or getting things out of flat and taking 6 hours to fix it our constantly cutting the paper with the blade and I could go on and on. It's an imperfect method that works ok in a pinch.

    I believe there's much undeserved hype about water stones. Sure, they cut faster, but really it only matters on initial setup. With the amount of flattening (and with some, presoaking) you have to do, I don't believe they really save you any time in the long run. Plus, the cost can be quite high for the beginner.

    If you aren't using one with the oilstones already, I would add a strop to the regiment with some honing compound.

  15. #30
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    Be sure to use a marking knife and not a pencil.

    Practice sawing to the marking knife line and the gaps will shrink to invisibility.

    David Charlesworth's video on dove tailing is very helpful and his techniques will improve your dove tails no matter your skill level IMO.

    Water Stones rule...hoot!

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