Hand Tools Odyssey #7: S4S the Hard Way..First Dovetails and my new favorite tool is ...

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Blog entry by gizmodyne posted 01-06-2010 06:19 AM 7111 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: 100% Handtools Box and Tool Gloat Two Part 7 of Hand Tools Odyssey series no next part

When we left off on the last blog, we were scrub planing to rough thickness. I was a little ahead of Kristin on the project without any pictures, so many of these are pics of her working the steps. We each made a box. I have more pics of her working and my finished box. S4S the Hard Way

Flatten one side. We roughed it out with the scrub plane and finished with our No. 7. The longer plane really makes a difference in getting the stock flat.

Then we used a marking gauge to scribe the thickness around the edges. I really like the blade style gauges which slice like a knife.

Plane to the lines.

Once two faces are parallel we jointed one edge, and then scribed the final width. (missing pics of this step.

Then we rough ripped the board staying clear of the line.

Again. Using the jointer plane to hit the width.

We did a pretty poor job on documenting with pics due to the fact that we fighting to shoot the edges square. Hand tools are rough!

We used a basic bevel gauge to mark the dovetails.

Here is a tail board ready for work.

Then we cut….

and cut….

and cut.

There was also a lot of chiseling, but we didn’t film it.

Here is a pic of my first successful set of dovetails.

Now to be fair I cut three sets of awful looking practice tails, but these are pretty nice. Not bragging, but I am proud of the little guys.

And here is my box with the four sides joined together.

Panel Time
One requirement of the project was to glue up the bottom panel. So I had to rip it apart and then glue it back together.

Then I used my new favorite tool. The router plane. I spent a few hours sharpening a quarter inch bit and then started grooving the panels.

There is more to it than this, but to suffice to say: it is fun; smooth rolling cuts.

I used my shoulder plane to rabbet the panel edges.

Here is the box bottom fit into the grooves.

Some thoughts
I have finally learned to S4S a board by hand, to joint two boards for and edge glue up by hand, and most important to me, to dovetail.

Next time: I mortise the sides and make a handle for the tote.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

3 comments so far

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3719 days

#1 posted 01-06-2010 06:30 AM

I love those router planes, ever since I saw Tommy MacDonald using one on his bombe chest. Congrats on the nice looking dovetails. I’ve tried one set since getting my new chisels, and they didn’t come out great, but I haven’t had a chance to try and adjust them to fit right yet… to dang cold in my garage right now to be out there for long.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3550 days

#2 posted 01-06-2010 07:05 AM

Wonderful blog post. I am very new to all of this, and I have to ask, what is S4S? You used it twice and I don’t know what it means.

-- Brian Meeks,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4306 days

#3 posted 01-06-2010 04:17 PM

Giz, it looks like you and Kristin are really getting into your hand tool routine. I think it is great to see these talents developed. And, yes, you should be proud of the dovetails. They look pretty good to me. Let’s just say I have cut more than three practice sets and am not ready to post any photos yet. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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