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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
When I started this thread I made a point of saying I was not setting my self up as an expert,or for that matter a dove tail king.

In this post I will show you 2 mistakes I made, on one pin when cutting the chip out I cut it out of the wrong side of the line.
On the same pin on the other side when cutting the chip out I just caught the pin and nicked it

Lack of concentration just no other words for it,Thats when I wanted To Launch this piece a cross the shop.
I thought what to do, cut another piece but some how I thought that's just cheating and mistakes are a part of the job as well.

I then thought if this was a 2" slab of teak that I was cutting in a coaming for a companion way on a boat there is no way I would be throwing it away but just get on and make it work.

So I just got on with it,in the first pic I`v cut out the pins and you can see the 2 chip out of the pin.
I didn`t show the cutting out or the chopping and parring of the joint it`s just a repeat of what was done earlier.

The second pic shows the glue up .

If you can remember when i started to mark out the job I set the gauge slightly bigger then the thickness of the wood this means that the tails and pins are proud of the wood and must be pared away.
When parring like this I like to use the corner of the chisel and sweep it into the wood,I don't par all of the wood away I leave a small piece on the outside edge and come at it from the side sweeping back across the wood.

So then clean up and finished job.
 

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So I just finished 2 days (12 hour days at that) in a handcut dovetail class with Rob Cosman (don't mean to be a name dropper, but this guy is freaking amazing at cutting dovetails). Several important things I learned.

1. The saw is the most important tool when it comes to hand cut dovetails.
2. A sharp marking gauge is almost as important as #1
3. A saw with less set (.002 versus .003 per side) makes a huge difference.
4. Sharp tools are a must.
5. Tails first - they serve as a template for your pins and they don't have to be cut absolutely perfect for that reason.
6. Practice. They're not as easy as they look.
7. When sawing your tails or pins, make sure your piece is low in the vise and perpendicular. Makes cutting perpendicular a lot easier.

I'm sure I'll think of a few more things later and I'll post some pics of the ones I cut in the class once I get back into the shop with the camera.
 

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As promised here are pics of my first ever handcut dovetails. The through DT in the middle is I think my best one. Would have had another half blind to show, but as I was close to finishing the chiseling on the last pin, I slipped and blew the back right out.

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Room Flooring

Wood Hardwood Flooring Wood stain Wood flooring


A few other pearls from the class.

Buy it once and buy it right.
Outside 1/2 pins are the most important for the overall appearance of the joint.
When freehand chiseling (wood not on the bench) expose only as much blade as you're willing to stick into yourself.
Relax! Lighten your grip!
At the end of the day, leave no evidence you were at your bench (don't cut or chisel into it).

Hope this helps other newbies.
 

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Billy and steve thanks for all input here. I love doing dovetails and it is nice to learn new methods. Thanks.:thumbsup:
 
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So I just finished 2 days (12 hour days at that) in a handcut dovetail class with Rob Cosman (don't mean to be a name dropper, but this guy is freaking amazing at cutting dovetails). Several important things I learned.

1. The saw is the most important tool when it comes to hand cut dovetails.
2. A sharp marking gauge is almost as important as #1
3. A saw with less set (.002 versus .003 per side) makes a huge difference.
4. Sharp tools are a must.
5. Tails first - they serve as a template for your pins and they don't have to be cut absolutely perfect for that reason.
6. Practice. They're not as easy as they look.
7. When sawing your tails or pins, make sure your piece is low in the vise and perpendicular. Makes cutting perpendicular a lot easier.

I'm sure I'll think of a few more things later and I'll post some pics of the ones I cut in the class once I get back into the shop with the camera.
I was just watching some of his videos on youtube yesterday. I'm inspired! I think sharpening chisels will be my downfall, I suck at sharpening my kitchen knives...
 

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Awesome tutorial! This came at just the right time! I've been wanting to start practicing dovetails but haven't ever found as good of a guide as this. Now I don't have an excuse lol. Your dovetails look great by the way!
 

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My first dovetails ever! I used some scrap ply I had laying around. It made it easier to chisel out the pieces, but I ended up ripping a piece off when I realized the fit was too tight lol. And I don't have a marking gauge yet, it's in the mail. But overall I am proud of them! Thanks again for your directions! I didnt take as much time on them either as I should have, so my lines weren't exactly square or perfectly 1:8
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Dwillem26 thanks for this post perfectly 8:1 does not matter perfectly square does and that you have tried hand cut for the first time makes this whole thread for me worth while.
 

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Sorry if I missed the answer, but I also had a question mentioned earlier in the thread.

How do you determine the number of dovetails in the joint? Is it purely aesthetic? Or is there a relation to the number of dovetails and strength of the joint? I've seen a number of the projects posted here where there's a big difference in size with respect to the pins and tails. I've also seen several where they are the same relative size.


Thanks for the thread, it was very informative :).


Tyson
 

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Tyson, the number is mostly about aesthetics. If you make them too small you do run the risk of the joint getting weaker. Too uniform and they look machine made, which you don't want if you're going to the trouble of cutting them by hand. In the class I was in it was recommended to go with a 1:6 ration on all handcut dovetails (some say this is for soft wood and 1:7 or 1:8 is for hardwoods) as this will be much more obvious as to what the joint really is. Hope this helps.
 
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Here's one other tip I picked up last weekend. When transferring tail marks to pin boards, you can use your plane as a bridge to support the tail piece. Set your tail board in your vise level with the plane.
Shoulder plane Tool Backsaw Plane Rebate plane


Now place the tail board on top, line it up and apply firm pressure down with one hand while marking the pins with the other. If you have a skew block plane or a shoulder plane, just a couple light passes on the inside of your tail board (before you cut your tails) right to your marking gauge line will give you a slight shoulder to register against the pin board.
Table Wood Furniture Tool
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Tyson I tried to answer this question in post number 36.I think sawdust`s and my answer complement each other because they are saying the same thing.
I think any one doing dove tails for the fist time should not really bog them self´s down with sticking to ratio`s.
Some of the old cabinet makers would mark the bass line and then go straight to cutting the tails free hand but they could do it in there sleep.
Sometimes on old pieces if you remove the drawer you can see a noticeable difference in the quality of the joints at the back compared to those at the front.

The thought on this is the Journeymen cut the front while the Apprentices cut the back.
I think that they thought nobody would remove a drawer to inspect the back.

I meant to mention in the first part of the thread but then forgot it,how interesting I found it when" Heath " in his thread "Coping saw or chop" in the Joinery section of the forum started to use a file to clean the joint up.

The old cabinet makers used a very similar tool called a cabinet makers float but used it more on joints like a tenon to get nice tight fits and neat transitions from tenon to shoulder.

Sawdust hope to see more pics and hear more about your weekend nice one man.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Time to start the second part to the thread .

Half blind dove tails.

The pieces that I`m using for this are both 1" thick, the tails are out of a piece of Beech block board and the pins will be out of a piece of Maranti.

I don`t really like Maranti its a stringy wood but will add a bit of contrast in the joint.
Both pieces Have witness marks, face side and face edge.

I set the gauge to the length of the tails mark it on the end gain and both sides of the Maranti, then all the way round on the Beech

The cutting out of the tails is a repeat of the same operation in the first part of the thread so I think we can skip it hear.

Clamping the two parts together transfer the marks of the tails on to the end grain of the Maranti .

Remove the tails and Freshen the marks with a knife just tapping it with a hammer.
 

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Good job on the thread Billy De. Good decision to roll with the mistake as it's realistic.

It's a little different but still the same as my method... one of the great aspects of wood working!

ps, sawdust, looks like you had a great time and learned a lot :thumbsup:

~tom "Ignorance is not a lack of intelligence - it's a lack of know-how"
 
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