Blind Dovetails? #3: Day #4

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Blog entry by bandit571 posted 10-29-2020 03:37 AM 653 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: day 2...a little better Part 3 of Blind Dovetails? series Part 4: Make it into a box? »

About the same as the last two days…I skipped Day #3, because I was too tired to go to the shop….even with hand tools, sometimes brain farts will happen….better to show up all rested up….with the brain fully engaged…

had the lay out line wrong…moved it forward and try again…
Sawing….careful, otherwise you’ll saw too far….better just to barely nick things, then come in with the “Kerf Knife”

You can see a couple spots where I sawed just a hair too much. The “Kerf Knife” is nothing more than a stiff bladed putty knife….do NOT sharpen anything on the blade….as it will become wedge-like, and split the wood. Mine is a Red Devil No. 4101, wood handled….be sure to rotate as you go, so one edge doesn’t mushroom out.

I seem to be getting better at chopping these out….much nicer than using a corded Router with a dovetail bit..

Once the tails are chopped out, I can try a dry fit….mallet assisted, at that…

gap is getting tighter…figures, as this is the last corner..

And this is what they should look like, if done right….

Then a dry fit of all 4 sides…

Couple clamps to pull things tight….

And that will do it. “Plan” right now is to go ahead and make this into a lidded box. Means grooves need ploughed, panels cut to size, then split off the Lid.

I’ll keep this going for that…don’t have any Campaign Furniture style brasses…we’ll see what we can do…

Stay tuned..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

4 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

10251 posts in 2035 days

#1 posted 10-29-2020 01:45 PM

Looking good, Bandit. Is there a variation where instead of rabbets meeting at the edge, you miter the last bits?

I’ve been sawing the mitered dovetails used in the Jefferson Bookcases that the Schwarz wrote about, and after three months, I’m satisfied with my dovetails more often than not. I’ve still got a bunch to build, but I’ve got 50 or so drawers to build for a storage cabinet (probably with half-blind dovetails) and my mind is already starting to chew on ideas for that.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MrWolfe's profile


1827 posts in 1576 days

#2 posted 10-29-2020 02:54 PM

Thanks for the blog Bandit.
Good that you saw the bad layout lines before you cut them.
Cool to see a process like this.

View bandit571's profile


31849 posts in 4136 days

#3 posted 10-31-2020 03:48 PM

Long time ago…I did try the “Secret Mitered Dovetail” joint…

Didn’t go too well…may try again, someday…

Might have been easier to start without the groove being done first…

Basically, you start with a 1/4” wide rebate, about 1/2” deep, but…

Each half of the joint needs one…so there is enough the saw a miter…

Fun part is the mitered edges…usually done with a SHARP chisel…

yep…next time, that groove will get milled AFTER the tails and pins are done….again, these sort of joints seem to like the pins being done first….easier to do layouts for the tails..

I also tried finger jointed mitered corners…for one box…

Outside view…then, when you “open” the joint..

Twas a ROYAL PITA to do…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

10251 posts in 2035 days

#4 posted 10-31-2020 05:53 PM

Yeah, the secret mitered dovetail joint looks like a huge pain. I’ll settle for the dovetails with miters just on the last bit, as I’m doing with my Jefferson Bookcases. They’re easy enough to cut quickly, and I’ve got the rhythm down for them. When coupled with rabbeted-in backs on the cases, they’re pretty sturdy and as long as I cut the miters straight, they help align any loose dovetails so I’ve got a better chance of getting square corners.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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