Lonnie Bird's School #2: Glueing up & practice dovetails

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Blog entry by kenn posted 04-23-2015 01:08 AM 1456 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Day 1 - Handworks Essentials Class Part 2 of Lonnie Bird's School series Part 3: Making & Fitting a Drawer »

Day two started with the walk up this path to the shop. After I said how pretty it was, I thought I should prove it with the pictures.

Here’s the view from the screened in porch that connects Lonnie’s home and the shop, and our lunch spot.

Alright, enough of the tour, get back to work! My next task was to clean up the legs, apron show surfaces and rails with a hand plane. A low angle plane with a 50 degree blade was the recommended tool. Although I brought my Lie-Nielsen which I’ve owned for several years, Lonnie advocates the Veritas. He was right. The Veritas is larger, heavier, easier to place the blade after sharpening and easy to adjust. I’m going to replace my L-N once I get home.

I did dry fit and here are the sides laid out ready for glue.

Glue ‘em up and clamped ‘em is next, right?

If you glue the sides together, you’ve got to glue the front rails and back apron next. Confession time, I failed to level one apron with the leg resulting in a slight (1/16” or so) gap at the top of the apron. If you see it, you are looking way too closely at my pictures.

About the time of this next picture is when I discovered my error. As you can see it is too late. It should be well hidden by the table top anyway. Here’s my table glued up at the end of Day Two.

I spent the rest of that practicing my sawing. I struggled cutting the right side angle of the tails. By the end of the day, I was frustrated with myself. The schedule calls for Day Three to be spent practicing cutting dovetails. I decided the night before do a few warm up cuts and then have Lonnie examine what I needed to change. He saw no faults in my sawing technique (whew, that would have hurt the ego), but suggested I needed to see better and closer. He loaned me a pair of “cheater” glasses (cheap reading glasses) that had high, close magnification. I wish I had somebody take a picture of me with my face 3” from the work piece. Suffice it to say that it worked. Here’s my sample through dovetail practice joint.

Next up was preparing the pin sockets for a practice half blind dovetail. We had already made a pin socket for the top rail so a little bit of instruction and we were of and running. Here’s mine.

I’m sure you know, next is cut the tails to fit those pins. Again, here’s mine!

I have found Lonnie to be very encouraging. He tells us we can do the exact work that he is teaching, it just takes some practice. I think having a day dedicated to practice speaks to the value. Spending a day cutting to one side if a knifed line with the critique of a master craftsman has vastly improved my skills. I’m looking forward to my progress once I get home and can practice on my schedule, I do better work when I’m rested.

Here’s a spice chest that Lonnie teaches students to build. Beautiful, huh?

That’s from me for tonight, I’ve got to get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow, I dovetail my drawer. Thanks for following along.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

2 comments so far

View WhattheChuck's profile


378 posts in 4199 days

#1 posted 04-23-2015 01:26 AM

Looking great, Kenn!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View lew's profile


12957 posts in 4394 days

#2 posted 04-23-2015 11:04 AM

Looks like you are having way too much fun, Kenn!

Nice dovetails!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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