Woodworking Talk banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all I think I'm ready to brave hand cutting dovetails. My theory is if I practice long enough I can get really fast at it. I chisel my mortises for hinges now and can do it faster than setting up a jig and getting out the router. I'm very anti router and when I get my shaper, this weekend!!, I hope to use it very little.
What I'd like to know is what kind/brand of saw should I buy and are my cheapo Buck and Stanley contractor chisels good enough to work until I get around to buying good ones. Or should I not even wait and just buy a good set, if so what brand?
Thanks, Jodie
 

·
Forgotten but not gone
Joined
·
5,674 Posts
You don't expensive chisels to used just sharp ones. You can get a cheap chisel virtually as sharp as an expensive one it just won't the edge as long.
You can listem to me blab all day long about how I cut thgem, and you can read endless articles. But the thing that willmake you able to execute them qucikly and accurately is cutting them frequently.
 

·
Forgotten but not gone
Joined
·
5,674 Posts
I'm not much into a brand name per se. I prefer to cut small joinery with a dozuki - a type of japanese pull saw. www.japanwoodworker.com sells them I believe they are one of our sponsors.
high quality european/western style push saws are also used successfully by many a master woodworkers so you really need to try both styles and determine for yourself.
As I say, cutting doveltails by hand, there really is no shortcut. Not that you are looking for a shortcut I am sure you aren't.
Some are a faster study than others but I doubt anyone just picks up a saw and consistently executes great looking dovetails without alot of cutting and wringing of hands at first so don't get discouraged if you feel like ytou'll never be able to make good looking joints.
take your time and you will be suprised how fast you will see improvement.
If I get time I will do a photo illustration . . . . If I get time is the key phrase there . . . . :glare:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I've been hand cutting dovetails for close to 35 years now I'm still not fast. I'm getting good at them I might even say that I make fewer mistakes then I used too. It does not matter the price of the tool, I still have my first Buck that I got from a yard sell for $0.25 it looked like it was used to open paint cans. I started out using a crosscut saw because that is what Grandpa had in the shop.

Yes, I've spent a few more $$ on tools over the years but use what you have and scrap wood. When you can start putting the parts together then smile and make yourself something to collect dust.
 

·
Forgotten but not gone
Joined
·
5,674 Posts
Dovetail,

You know how it feels then.......you have decided to tackle a cedar chest with just your handsaw, a depth guage, a sharp pencil, and your belief you can cut 48 joints without screwing one up bad enough in the end to ruin the whole thing.
You have done pretty well on the first 3 corners over the last 2 evenings working off and on, taking breaks when you get tired and working on something else.
One night, you are cutting the tails for the last corner on the front side;. You are on #47 or #48, you can't screw up or the whole wretched mess is going into the burn pile because the pieces are matched. It's 100 degrees in the shop at 9pm and the sweat is rolling off your face like a stoker in the Titanic engine room . . . . . . :laughing:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
TexasTimbers,

More then one project end it's life in the fire pit. I will say that I always have learned something for the nest project (like never give a absolute date, piece of cake, can do easy-no problem.) Cutting dovetails is not like fishing people WILL see our mistakes, at least when your fishing you can blame the weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Dovetail Saws

What brand of saw do you use?
It saddens me to admit this but it is not possible to buy a new English made dovetail saw. Thomas Finn of Sheffield and Tyzacks also of that once great steel city used to produce fine saws but allas no more. I recently bought, on the recomendation of David Charlesworth, a Lei-Neilsen dovetail saw. This woud appear to be one of the only saws available with rip set teeth. Most other saws seem to be set cross cur which is not correct for dovetails and by the way it is brilliant
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
One or two tenon saws, a nice brass backed Tyzack tennon saw, but they don't hold a candle to Tom Lei-Neilsens saws. Check out www.oldtoolstore.co.uk This company is owned by Ray Illes, he is worth contacting regarding old english tools
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I took a lesson once from a German cabinet maker that did amazing dovetails by hand. He just marked them, sawed them with an English back saw and they fit together perfectly every time. There was no adjusting with a chisel at all. He used a chisel just to remove the last of the waste from the dovetails. This man had been doing it for 50 years. It is an impressive skill. I know I can't do it without my Leigh jig.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I took a lesson once from a German cabinet maker that did amazing dovetails by hand. He just marked them, sawed them with an English back saw and they fit together perfectly every time. There was no adjusting with a chisel at all. He used a chisel just to remove the last of the waste from the bottoms of the dovetails. This man had been doing it for 50 years. It is an impressive skill and one that I didn't master with the lesson. People like me need our Leigh jigs. Good luck. I hope you can learn to do it well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
dovetails by hand


Hi Jodie,
I’m new to this forum. I am in the process of putting together a series of articles on making the through dovetail using hand methods. At present I am during this on the www’sketchucation.com web site used by people with Google SketchUp software.

On that site, search under ‘jewellery box’ and you will find my postings.

This is of a box made in English oak with three small drawers that has 80 dovetails.

I have included two drawings of the dovetail templates that I use, and today I posted a profile of one of the blades that I use.

If you like what you see, I will convert the stuff that I have written into a pdf document and post it onto this site.

Because I may not be able to download it due to file limits on this site I may have to email you privately.

This should help you along.

With regards to what saw to use. I purchased a Roberts & Lee years ago with rip teeth. It arrived blunt. I would recommend that you learn to sharpen you cheap saw first.

Cheers

Alan

:thumbsup:





 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Texas
Thanks for that. I made one for my daugher, similar style but I painted the handles and feet with acrylic 'azure blue' paint.

Drawers sides in English walnut from and old piece of furniture.

That one I liked to.

At some stage I want to make one of these in contrasting timbers. Maybe burr for the sides and quilted maple for top bottom and drawer fronts. I'm getting exciting just thinking out it. That'll be for the grandson.

cheers
:thumbsup:

Alan
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top