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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys, I have been wanting to explore joinery options to increase my woodworking skills so I was in the shop today and decided to try some dove tails. They worked but were sloppy. I guess not bad for no chisel and first try. Maybe 1/32in gap. Now, I have a dovetail saw but it sucks...BAD. I takes a lot of pressure to cut and takes a long time even in pine. So now what tools should I look for? I know I need stuff to sharpen my chisels but, what saw should I look for? I dont have a lot of money so cheap=good. I looked online and saw I needed to make a marking gauge.
 

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Village Idiot
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You don't really 'need' to make a marking gauge, it just makes the process easier. Hecht, I've seen people make dovetails with a hacksaw and a cheap chisel. As far as tools, id say a decent chisel, which it sounds like you already have, and a good saw. I'm personally pretty fond of Japanese saws, so I'd look for a dozuki
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You don't really 'need' to make a marking gauge, it just makes the process easier. Hecht, I've seen people make dovetails with a hacksaw and a cheap chisel. As far as tools, id say a decent chisel, which it sounds like you already have, and a good saw. I'm personally pretty fond of Japanese saws, so I'd look for a dozuki
Hmm. Ok, may try again and see if it gets better.
 

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mark acurately

For me it is important to mark the dovetail layout as carefully as possible. Some use a marking knife but a prefer a draftsman's mechanical pencil with a #4 hard lead sharpened to a fine point. I have also made some simple little dovetail marking patterns, kind of like a mini "T' square but with a 10 degree angle or so. Less of an angle for harder woods.

On thru jionts, I mark and cut the tails first then use that to mark the pins. I label the two parts of each joint and make sure to put it together with the proper corresponding pieces. With hardwood, I try to split the pencil mark and on softwoods I try to leave the pecil mark.

The hardest part to get accurate for me is the bottom of the tails and pins where I cut it with a coping saw. It's kind of a floppy little blade but I use sharp ones and put a lot of tension on it. I typically rough out the tails on the band saw and clear out most of the material in my blind pins with a drill press and a small fortsner bit and then there is not so much to remove with the chisles.

good lighting, acurate layout, keeping track of the matching joint halves and practice make for quality joinery.

Bret
 

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hand vs power tools

I have and use a PC dovetail jig, but not the Omnijig. It makes fine joints for production work. For certain pieces I prefer the look of a hand cut joint even if I use power tools to expedite the completion of the project.

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Eww, power tools :p

In all seriousness though, that is a lot of coin to drop on something. I could see the usefulness in a production shop, and even in a well equipped home shop, but holy crap that's a lot of coin.
Yea, money is tight for me. $600 is way out of my budget. im having trouble saving for a $300 jointer. :laughing:
 

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Using hand tools to make any kind of joinery is fun for me.

Using a dovetail jig and a router is work, drudgery, noisy and dusty.

Bret
The router and dovetail jig can produce some excellent results fairly quickly. If I want a tighter or looser joint all I have to do is raise or lower the bit. You will not find any nails, putty or wood filler in any of my boxes. :no:



The added noise and dust are useful with dog training and must be considered an added 'bonus'. :yes:

 

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Eww, power tools :p

In all seriousness though, that is a lot of coin to drop on something. I could see the usefulness in a production shop, and even in a well equipped home shop, but holy crap that's a lot of coin.
Could get a smaller jig and PC router for less than 300.00 dollars easily. PC jigs usually come with the bits as well. Could go with different brand names and be up and running for less than that... Or buy used tools and spend even less than that... :yes:

I am currently doing a group of @26 or so boxes. I spent less than a day cutting all the dovetails for all the different parts. To do that many cuts by hand would take a good bit longer and not fit nearly as well even if you were a Jedi woodworker of the highest order.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Could get a smaller jig and PC router for less than 300.00 dollars easily. PC jigs usually come with the bits as well. Could go with different brand names and be up and running for less than that... Or buy used tools and spend even less than that... :yes:

I am currently doing a group of @26 or so boxes. I spent less than a day cutting all the dovetails for all the different parts. To do that many cuts by hand would take a good bit longer and not fit nearly as well even if you were a Jedi woodworker of the highest order.
Yea but I dont do that many joints. Im still in school and just building things to make money and save for in the future. If I ever do this for a living, I would invest a nice tool like that for rapid work.
Just depends on what you are trying to do or how much you have to do. With an oddball situation like this one in the photo, I didn't have much choice but to do it by hand.

Bret
Thats a very nice piece. :thumbsup: wish I could build like that. I think im just gonna stick to doing it by hand for now. Im gonna make some marking gauges and knives to help with the layout and practice some more.
 

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Better/good tools can make it easier (and keeping them sharp)....but technique is everything. Marking out accurately. Sawing straight and true consistently. Fine paring technique.

Ill tell you what tools I am working with when I do hand cut dovetails.

I have a set of Narex chisels which i use for all my fine work and give me excellent results in pine and oak.
A Veritas dovetail saw, which along with my Veritas carcass saws and tenon saw, are the pride of my workshop and wouldnt be without them.
I also use a Veritas marking gauge which as been a revalation since switching from the previously standard sliding wooden "pin style" gauges.
 

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Just depends on what you are trying to do or how much you have to do. With an oddball situation like this one in the photo, I didn't have much choice but to do it by hand.

Bret

The work in THAT picture was baddass, to the bone, Jedi woodworker stuff of the highest order. :yes:

You sir, have special powers and should continue to use them as often as possible. :smile:
 

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Could get a smaller jig and PC router for less than 300.00 dollars easily. PC jigs usually come with the bits as well. Could go with different brand names and be up and running for less than that... Or buy used tools and spend even less than that... :yes:

I am currently doing a group of @26 or so boxes. I spent less than a day cutting all the dovetails for all the different parts. To do that many cuts by hand would take a good bit longer and not fit nearly as well even if you were a Jedi woodworker of the highest order.
I wouldnt even think about arguing the usefulness in a production shop, or in a situation where one would need to cut several hundred dovetails. Situation like that, i could see that omnijig more than paying for itself. Im more thinking in the weekend warrior mentality, where one goes out to the shop after work and makes a jewelry box or a dresser occasionally, and only really needs to cut four or five.

Dont get me wrong, if you handed me $600 (or $300 for the little brother) to go out and get an onmijig i would in a heartbeat, i just question the practicality of spending that much on a few joints. That, and im not sure how i feel about dovetails in the first place...
 

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That, and im not sure how i feel about dovetails in the first place...

I dovetailed some plywood drawer boxes just to see what would happen and how hard it would be to do with plywood...

You got to literally beat the hell out of it to get anything to bust loose if you glue the joints and tearout of the plywood veneer is minimal with a good blade (meaning - joints look good).

Very strong joint... :smile:
 

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SouthernWoodworking said:
hey guys, I have been wanting to explore joinery options to increase my woodworking skills so I was in the shop today and decided to try some dove tails. They worked but were sloppy. I guess not bad for no chisel and first try. Maybe 1/32in gap. Now, I have a dovetail saw but it sucks...BAD. I takes a lot of pressure to cut and takes a long time even in pine. So now what tools should I look for? I know I need stuff to sharpen my chisels but, what saw should I look for? I dont have a lot of money so cheap=good. I looked online and saw I needed to make a marking gauge.
Making and using a marking gauge would be a great place to start in your quest to hand cut dovetails.

Al
 
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