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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been hereing a lot about router jigs an cutting dovetails on this blog. Well router cut dovtails are fine for someone who is doing mass production but for someone who is true to the craft should know how to cut dovetails by hand and use there skill as much as possible and nesscery. To cut dovetails by hand adds value to your work an now a days everyone wants to use machines an jigs not to say that jigs do not have there place in wood working becouse they do as machinces do as well. What is wroung with useing hand tools a long side machine tools somethings done with machince and some with hand tools. Chiesails are a handy tool them selfs you can do rumorus things with a good set of chieasls. I am still learning and i am always trying to improve and to be honest i need to work on my hand cut dovetails they are ok but need a little work around the edges. If anyone has an appinon feel free to post it.
 

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I agree that every cabinetmaker/ joiner should know how to hand cut dovetails. I do it from time to time too. But I sell my work in a competitive market. For example; my current project...a custom kitchen. Not only do I have all of your expected standard drawers and drawer banks, but also every standard shelf has been upgraded to a roll out shallow drawer. I have over 80 drawers to make in this kitchen, and perfection is expected. Now what would changing the order to hand cut tails do to the time and the cost of the project? As we've all experienced, to some customers, money and time is no object. I'm never the lowest bid, I'm usually in the middle or upper range. Even though I'm not into the lowest price game, I still have to be somewhat competitive. But I sell the job on my product, and my service. Every hour that is logged for a project carries not only a wage, but an overhead cost. I'd be happy to get paid to spend the time to build pieces with all of my hand tools, but 99% of the jobs THAT I COME ACROSS...it just isn't there.

Where does it stop? Why not cut all of your sheet stock with a hand saw. Why not use a brace instead of a drill? I still practice the old ways of our trade, but I got' bacon to bring home brother...lol
 

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I guess we could still drop our lumber with a buck saw and

break out the boards with a pit saw setup. Then after they have aged for a few weeks we could work them down to size with an adze and broad axe. Then after we pinned everything together with dowels and leather strap hinges we could deliver it in our buckboard wagon.

In my mind, the craftsman that fails to allow the consumer and the practitioner to benefit from progress and innovation represented by modern tooling will be building for himself, his relatives and the roadside flea market.

My opinion. I said it and I meant it.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
about hand cut dovetails

Hello edp an thank you for the response. You are misunderstanding me I am not saying that we should not use power tools and jigs they have there place in wood working . But i think a good craftsman should know how to do these things. An i want to know do you know how to use your hand tools and hand planes. you know edp it dose not take to long to hand plane a board to make it smooth insyead of spending an hour sanding through different grit so talk about progress i know for a fact it is faster to hand plane a board an then just use fine sand paper to finsh smoothing the wood. Made if you came down to earth you might figure it out an realize that these tools still have a use. As far as flea markets go i guess i will have to watch for your junk at one sometime . Now i said it and i mean it edp . I do not want trouble on this blog but if you are going to insalut people then be ready for it to come back at you because i will return it ok edp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
dovtails

Hello bull heart and thank you. I understand where you are coming from you have a business to run and put food on the table an i respect that . I am getting into business my self partime. I am a were i might have to buy a doveltail jig but for now i plane on cutting them by hand as work increases i probley get a jig. And only do it when i have to. Craftsman that are true to the craft know these skills but use them only when they have to an to make money you use power tools for mass production perpose. thank you.
 

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johnep
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Analogy here with chidrens use of calculators. When I was teaching maths, the kids would say that the answer must be right 'because the calculator says so'. I discovered that the basic mental arithmetic skills were sadly lacking.

Same with tools/jigs etc. You must learn the basics to understand how the tool can aid you. Because I have no artistic skills my dovetails look awful. If I had to cut a few, then I would borow/buy a jig so at least they looked respectable. Ai least my pocket holes are better than using a batten or metal brackets to join wood.

However, I can take a great deal of pleasure from seeing the handiwork of you craftsmen on this forum.
johnep
 

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woodbox, this is an age old argument on woodworking boards and usually goes south. I know from experience. I don't see how edp did anything but voice his opinion.

Both handcut and jig cut have their place. Who can say which one is right for someone else. To each his own eh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you texas timbers . I agree edp was just giving his opion and i do not want a big argument but to me it seemed like he was say that my work is no good or i am stuck in the dark ages and i get fired up if i think that is what is happen i grewup in the city and learned not to take any crap from anyone. I take wood working seriousley and it took me a while to learn how to cut doveltails by hand and i am still trying to improve they are considerably better but need a little work. And as for machine cut over hand both are fine but i think the hnd cut looks better when done right but takes longer . Thank again.
 

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johnep
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Yeah very true but for philistines and lack of artistic ability like me. Its either a jig or no dovetails. 60 years since I last struggled with a set in woodwork class at school.

However, you have inspired me to try to mark out a set today and see what happens,=. I do have a nice new set of chisels. Trouble is, most wood we work with here in UK is particle board. No good for dovetails, but I do have some pine batten I could try.

I suspect that somewhere on the net is a prog for producing a drawing to use as pattern for various widths of wood.
johnep
 

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I've never cut a dovetail in my life [well,maybe one]...hand, router jig or otherwise.
Not too many dovetails in guitars.:shifty:
 

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flatiron
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dovetails

most acoustic guitars ,Mandolins. basses have a dovetail in the neck
joint. most electric don't. I cut my dovetails by hand , less dust and noise. I don't do any large cabinetry jobs, just one peice at a time.
I quess I'm more of purist. Some time I have to fix mistakes, but can
be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello johnep do not worry about cuting dovetails by hand it is easyer than you think. It just takes practice as for pine that is ok but not always the best wood. I recently cut some out of dark walnut an they came out ok but that might be to nice of wood for you to use if you have very little exsperiance for now stick to pine to practice then if possible move on. If you need advice then i might be able to help and i am shore some of the other guys on here will as well. Thank you again an let me know what is up.
 

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most acoustic guitars ,Mandolins. basses have a dovetail in the neck
joint. most electric don't. I cut my dovetails by hand , less dust and noise. I don't do any large cabinetry jobs, just one peice at a time.
I quess I'm more of purist. Some time I have to fix mistakes, but can
be done.
Yeah acoustics do...that's why I said "not too many".:shifty: Ain't none on electrics. That's all I build.
 

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I use an OmniJig and really like it but do find I have to do some hand trimming from time to time...or my friend who works with me does...but then my friend cuts dovetails by hand....whereas I would not use dovetails absent the jig....quite an art....mastery takes a lot of time...
 

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A Big hello from a new member

Ref Hand cut or router jig,

I use a router jig all the time ,I can dovetail a box as quick as I can Mitre a Box, and the results are perfect everytime, i have my own joinery / carpentry bussiness and to dovetail a piece of work just adds that extra bit . The jigs are getting better and better all the time and there is no limit to the different type of dovetails you can make . Saying that , the jig I use was the cheapest on the market at about £30 or so
 

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I'm knew to this forum, and I hope you don't mind me chiming in.
I have spent a small fortune on hand tools, with the hope of learning to cut dovetails. I know and understand the the principles of a couple of different methods. I'm not making excuses, but my old and very arthritic hands just don't get the job done. Granted there is nothing more beautiful than hand cut dt's but for me it's pc 4210 for half blinds, and a keller for through dt's I'm jealous of you guys that do them with out jigs, but it's just to frustrating
 

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Firewood: I have wandering tendenitis so completely empathize with your artheritis...but even so...I can do dovetails quicker and save my temper...fiddling with final fitting is bad enough...did I mention I am a type A personality with a hair trigger temper...LOL...often the smoke really flies when I am woodworking and it ain't from the sawblade...
 

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flatiron
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dovetails

I think that if i spend the time to make a nice piece of furnitue, some thing that represents my work, I would cut my dovetails by hand. they are a thing of beauty and add soo much to the piece.
If im building a comercial piece such as vanitys or kitchen cabenits or whatever thats not a fine piece of furnitue then I would use a jig if i owned one. thats the way i feel about it.
 

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I think that if i spend the time to make a nice piece of furnitue, some thing that represents my work, I would cut my dovetails by hand. they are a thing of beauty and add soo much to the piece.
If im building a comercial piece such as vanitys or kitchen cabenits or whatever thats not a fine piece of furnitue then I would use a jig if i owned one. thats the way i feel about it.

That seams a very sensible approach
 

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Whew, HOT TOPIC!

Boy, you sure stirred up some emotions with this one! I think you're original post just came across as thinking we're all a bunch of lazy yahoos because we use jigs. I know you didn't mean it that way.

When I was a teenager, I learned the craft with hand tools. That was all I had. I believe that if you learn that way, you'll benefit greatly in the use of power tools, because after all, power tools are just a more expedient way to do the same things hand tools did. As has been said, power tools are a necessity to make a living at this. If you have to crank out a set of kitchen cabinets with drawers in a couple of months, there's no way you can do all of the work by hand. Thus, my Porter Cable Omnijig is permanently set up for dovetailing drawers. However, if I'm doing a high end piece of furniture, I sometimes cut the dovetails by hand. Sometimes I have cabinets with off angles and the drawers won't have 90 degree corners. These HAVE to be cut by hand. I also mortise and tenon all of my face frames, and these I do mostly by hand.
While you may be able to hand plane a board faster than you can on a machine, what about 100 board feet of rough stock, in oak or maple? Not likely. Those guys in the old days were better men than I am.
 
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