Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Near Boston, Massachusetts
These were the first ones I cut by hand that worked right, and I have a confession to make: I screwed up them up every time until I stopped pre-marking.
I do tails first, and I mark them only on the end grain and for the depth of cut. Then I have my lines straight across the end grain to line up the saw, and I cut the angles by eye. I still have the first joint I did that way: it's a piece of 1x4 with a single tail, and with no glue I haven't broken it apart yet. All the ones I pre-marked wound up off the line, and I spent ages trying to "fix" the angle when it didn't really matter. I now cut the tails as I said, pretty much by eye, and then mark the pins off the cut board.
I'm not saying this is the best way to do it, or the only way to do it, or anything like that, but I'm always amazed by people who can mark their dovetails, cut them, and come out near the line. Just doesn't work for me. (Yeah, I'm weird. I know.)