Hand Tool Cabinet - Start To Finish #3: Dovetail practice

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Blog entry by Holbs posted 05-26-2015 02:44 AM 1700 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Rehabbing Craftsman Block Plane for future dovetail work Part 3 of Hand Tool Cabinet - Start To Finish series Part 4: Dovetail practice 2 »

For this hand tool cabinet project, I know dovetails will be included. Having only done 1 dovetail my entire life (2 years ago, just for giggles), there is a strong need for practice and learning and experience. I have dimension’d some premiere alder down to 3/4”. Also, I have in my tool arsenal what I think is a complete set for dovetail work (moxon vise is future project for sure!): marking gauge, dovetail marker, block plane, 3/8” and 1/2” chisels, dovetail saw, mallet, divider, scribing knife, mechanical 0.4mm pencil.

My first attempt was half assed:

My second attempt, used a backer board to assist with straight cut lines. Also, for me… it’s easier to follow vertical lines if I cut the dovetail saw at a 45 degree angle. I am not yet concerned about blow out from chisel work, nor using the block plane to flatten things. For time being, cutting with the saw to minimize gaps is my practice priority. I am using my chisels to work out the waste instead of using a coping saw. It’s slower but does leave a nice wall foundation.

And to note: this Lervand wood working bench is horrible on my 6’1” frame :) Better than no workbench, but will be looking at a split top roubo in the near future, for sure.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

2 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2814 days

#1 posted 05-26-2015 01:46 PM

So far so good. And I hear you about the bench being too short. I’m 6’2” and have raised my bench twice. It’s SO much better than before, I may even add another block under it yet!

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View Holbs's profile


2354 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 05-26-2015 01:59 PM

I was thinking of starting a roubo split instead of hand tool cabinet… but I am committed to learning dovetails (will be trying to practice as often as possible for the next month), sanding, finishing, etc. A true “starter” project. The roubo would be more…robustly involved. Plus, would rather learn mistakes on a tool cabinet instead of a life long bench.
BTW.. these dovetails. Not using a saw guide. Though it is a consideration after a time. I have both a veritas dovetail saw to use at first, and then the gozuki japanese dovetail saw to use. Will figure out which I find best for me.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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