Hand cutting dovetails - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-20-2013, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hand cutting dovetails

Hey guys, I'm trying to quit smoking so I needed something to focus on. So the past three nights I spent some time trying to cut dovetails by hand. First and second attempt are kind of embarrassing to show to you guys lol! But I am pleased to say that I am making progress. Third attempt is much better. I found it very relaxing sitting at my bench with just the sound of a hand saw and a chisel. I'm realizing that it's not as hard as I thought it was going to be I just have to take my time and I'm sure I'll keep getting better. I watched the 6 minute dovetail video. Mine are more like 60 minute dovetails.

pit bulls rock!
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-20-2013, 10:17 PM
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Yep...progressively better.
Keep practicing.
What are you using for tools?
Pay attention to your layout marks.

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-20-2013, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I have a dovetail saw I bough from rockler but I seem to get better results with my little Marples flush cut pull saw from home depot. I have a cheap set of dewalt chisels right now that don't seem to hold an edge very well but it all seems to work ok for now, and you are right about paying close attention to layout lines. I cut a chunk of oak with an 8 degree bevel on either side and a lip on it to help layout and that really helped

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post #4 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 12:10 AM
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I'd say you are a quick study. Those last dovetails are really starting to look good. If you haven't looked at it yet, about a year ago Billy De put together a dovetail tutorial thread here. It's got lots of great information and tips.

"Good Behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity" -- Henry S. Haskins
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post #5 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 12:28 AM
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Dude, you rock! (I'll bet your earliest efforts were so frustrating that it made you crave the smokes!)

Your progress is awesome, and it seems you've almost mastered the joint. Maybe you can still benefit from learning some technique from Paul Sellers, a Welch master woodworker. He recommends using a fixture like your oak one. He also recommends laying out with a pencil, then tracing the lines with a knife. Doing so avoids the tear-outs like you show in one of the joints. I believe he might have one or two other things you might benefit from. Check out this video:

Cheers!
-Lep-
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 04:34 AM
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Sweet

Nice job
As for speed , repeat and repeat
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, it is really fun to try something that you have never done and suck at it and then research it and and keep trying till it starts to work out. Still got a ways to go. I think in the next couple days I'll try to actually do it on four different parts and put them all together lol!

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post #8 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun
Dude, you rock! (I'll bet your earliest efforts were so frustrating that it made you crave the smokes!)

Your progress is awesome, and it seems you've almost mastered the joint. Maybe you can still benefit from learning some technique from Paul Sellers, a Welch master woodworker. He recommends using a fixture like your oak one. He also recommends laying out with a pencil, then tracing the lines with a knife. Doing so avoids the tear-outs like you show in one of the joints. I believe he might have one or two other things you might benefit from. Check out this video:
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dPb_5KFEYk

Cheers!
-Lep-
Thanks for the link, I'll watch it after work today. I was already thinking I should use a knife in my lay out process

pit bulls rock!
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun
Dude, you rock! (I'll bet your earliest efforts were so frustrating that it made you crave the smokes!)

Your progress is awesome, and it seems you've almost mastered the joint. Maybe you can still benefit from learning some technique from Paul Sellers, a Welch master woodworker. He recommends using a fixture like your oak one. He also recommends laying out with a pencil, then tracing the lines with a knife. Doing so avoids the tear-outs like you show in one of the joints. I believe he might have one or two other things you might benefit from. Check out this video:
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dPb_5KFEYk

Cheers!
-Lep-
Thanks for the link, I'll watch it after work today. I was already thinking I should use a knife in my lay out process

pit bulls rock!
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun
Dude, you rock! (I'll bet your earliest efforts were so frustrating that it made you crave the smokes!)

Your progress is awesome, and it seems you've almost mastered the joint. Maybe you can still benefit from learning some technique from Paul Sellers, a Welch master woodworker. He recommends using a fixture like your oak one. He also recommends laying out with a pencil, then tracing the lines with a knife. Doing so avoids the tear-outs like you show in one of the joints. I believe he might have one or two other things you might benefit from. Check out this video:
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dPb_5KFEYk

Cheers!
-Lep-
Thanks for the link, didn't watch any of his videos yet. I'll check it out after work. I was already thinking I should use a knife in my layout I'll try that tonight too.

pit bulls rock!
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post #11 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Wow don't know what happened, tried to send a reply and phone was being weird. Retyped and sent again now it sent that one and doubled another one lol

pit bulls rock!
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcleve4911 View Post
Yep...progressively better.
Keep practicing.
What are you using for tools?
Pay attention to your layout marks.
Not only pay attention to layout marks, but try to be consistent with your marks. Have a mental rule as to whether or not you cut on, to left or to right of mark.

George
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 11:56 AM
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Practice makes perfect as they say...keep working on them!
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post #14 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 11:57 AM
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Oh one other thing...I am a "tails first" guy and like to cut my tails on my Bandsaw and they follow up the pins with my handsaw.
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post #15 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun View Post
Dude, you rock! (I'll bet your earliest efforts were so frustrating that it made you crave the smokes!)

Your progress is awesome, and it seems you've almost mastered the joint. Maybe you can still benefit from learning some technique from Paul Sellers, a Welch master woodworker. He recommends using a fixture like your oak one. He also recommends laying out with a pencil, then tracing the lines with a knife. Doing so avoids the tear-outs like you show in one of the joints. I believe he might have one or two other things you might benefit from. Check out this video:
Make a DOVETAIL TEMPLATE with Paul Sellers - YouTube

Cheers!
-Lep-
He is a pretty amazing guy!
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post #16 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Ok guys. Just finished another attempt and I'm pretty pleased. I stopped at my local rockler this afternoon and picked up a better Japanese saw and a cheap marking knife. I also whipped up a quick jig to help me out. I was clamping the stock to my bench with a squared up chunk of 2x4 to use as a fence/chisel guide. I found that to be pretty akward lining the edge of the guide on my scribe line and then holding it there and getting clamps tight, then I have to do it again when I flip the stock and it better be right on or the joint would suffer. So while I was working today a design came to mind. It worked great.all I have to do is hold the opposing part flush with the part I'm chopping and slide the fence over to it and tighten. Only thing I might add is some sticky sand paper to the base to keep the part from sliding, this wasn't a real problem but it did move just a bit cutting throughout a bit of wild grain/small knot area in the walnut piece.I did watch a couple of Paul sellers videos, man he moves quick.

pit bulls rock!
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post #17 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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If I hadn't went a bit deep wit the saw on two spots I'd be really happy with it. Very tight joint that fit together with just a few light tapeworm a mallet. Thanks for all the advise and encouragement guys.

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post #18 of 30 Old 02-21-2013, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Lol, auto correct says some funny stuff sometimes. I wonder how it gets tape worm mallet from tap from a mallet

pit bulls rock!
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-22-2013, 05:32 AM
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Fine looking joint you're getting there! I've tried dovetails a few times but it ended in frustration & some chunks of firewood..
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post #20 of 30 Old 02-22-2013, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'm having fun learning and seeing results each time I do it

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