Dovetails #2: Better but now perfect

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Blog entry by Big Ben posted 04-09-2011 09:10 PM 1679 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Learning to cut Dovetails Part 2 of Dovetails series no next part

For two months I made at least one dovetail a day, it has been real learning experience. I have been gotten better at cutting to the line. Next week I will start doing dovetails a day for half blinds

11 comments so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3505 days

#1 posted 04-09-2011 10:38 PM

Those are some nice looking dovetails. It’s amazing what a little practice will do.

You are about at the limit of perfection that you can get with wood as soft as that pine. Getting them any tighter is just putting them together only once with glue. No first fitting.

Just out of curiosity, how long does it take you to do them now?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3668 days

#2 posted 04-09-2011 10:58 PM

I have to agree with David, those are real good. Have you tried using Poplar? Still cheap wood but easier than that soft Pine. I admire your work AND your determination. I’ve only done through DTs. Me too on “How long did it take you”.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4561 days

#3 posted 04-10-2011 01:04 AM

I agree…..soft pine is pretty unforgiving. Poplar, cherry or some other hard wood would probably do better. Still I admire your ambition…..practice makes perfect.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1910 posts in 4179 days

#4 posted 04-10-2011 02:37 AM

Nice dovetails!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18671 posts in 4183 days

#5 posted 04-10-2011 06:20 AM

Lookiin good from here!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3514 days

#6 posted 04-10-2011 02:47 PM

You’re all over it bigben … looks to me like you can start incorporating them into your projects. Way to be persistent.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View airamb's profile


38 posts in 3119 days

#7 posted 04-10-2011 02:52 PM

Good work! Stay with the hand cut dovetails. One suggestion, make sure that your chisels are razor sharp it makes a huge difference especially with soft woods. I found Tage Frid books the best on all types of joinery. No fluff, a true master. Frank Klausz is another master at the hand cut dovetail incredibly fast.

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3347 days

#8 posted 04-11-2011 03:00 AM

Ben I agree get some popular and you won’t fight it as much. But still a major improvement. Great job and improvement.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3681 days

#9 posted 04-11-2011 03:57 AM

I’m pretty impressed with anybody that does hand-cut DTs, and … you did them well.

Also, you said: ”Next week I will start doing dovetails a day for half blinds”

On behalf of half-blind people everywhere … I’m honored :-p

-- -- Neil

View Big Ben's profile

Big Ben

87 posts in 3398 days

#10 posted 04-18-2011 09:16 PM

David is takes me about 20 minutes to cut a set up pins and tails.

David and everyone else, Thanks for the poplar suggestion,definately going to give that a try.

chrisstef, I actually just put them in my last project, they are hidden so no defects could be seen.

From Dovetails

From Dovetails

From Dovetails

Really big gaps in this

From Dovetails

Nbeen, I try not to discrimmate.

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3347 days

#11 posted 04-18-2011 09:24 PM

Looking great. The one at the bottom if its structural, it need not to be pretty. That will hold just fine. And if you are a little worried just cut some thin wedges and go to town. One day I will show you how to stretch a board;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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