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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
You are on the right track. PRACTICE! I watched everybody I could find. No two have the same method. The best advice I can give is get to know your tools. Find the method that is right for you. Go slow. Robby is a great teacher but he does it for a living. The best lesson I learned from him is body posture. I still want to try the double bevel dovetail. But have not yet learned to lay it out correctly. When you have a problem change one thing and try again. Leave a little and chisel a little.

I'm weird, I cut tails first and use a dozuki.
imho
you will be making half blind tails on drawers in no time.
 

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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
Try what John Reed Fox does. Set your tail board where the cut is perpendicular to the floor.
 

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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
I started with a marpels flush cut saw. It taught me a lot of things. I used it to even dovetail red oak. It still has all the teeth and isn't bent. The dosuki is unforgiving with its tracking. Try starting it with a small bevel with your chisel. Push straight down on your keep side and cut the bevel on a 45 on the waste side. The parallel cut on the keep side will act as a fence and help the tracking start properly. If the saw tracts incorrectly, because of the 45 bevel you will error on the waste side. The you can pair it later with the chisel. I like to also start it, cut the face a little, cut the top and then the back. If all of that is right the saw wants to naturally remove the meat in the middle. It will follow the path of least resistance.
I hope I am not imposing. The dovetail joint to me is one of my favorite joints. There is also something in the math of the 6 in 1. It is near he golden ratio. imho
 

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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
Very nice indeed. One more tip. Keep them tight. But there is always a but, On your dry fit if they are tight when you make up all four ends, be very careful on the dis-assembly. I have had major malfunctions taking them apart before the glue up. I also have made some calls that are cut out to go over the pins and just push on the pins. I love the is just a little uneven [on the lay out] that gives them a hand cut look.
my wife said "very nice that's a huge improvement"!
 

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10,033 Posts
Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
They look tight enough to hold water. Dude they look great. Really good. So what is the next skill for you to place in your woodworkers toolbox of knowledge? Here is one double beveled blind mitered. JK;)
John A plus job!
 

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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
John to me the layout of the end of the tail on the pin board. Was the hardest to get tight. But thats what glue and sawdust is for;) I also played with sawing past my layout lines on the pin board and it was easier on waste removal. And makes it look old school. I was joking about above joint. I dont think I have ever seen one. Think of the layout a double bevel full blind tail. There is no way I could lay it out much less cut it.
 

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Shop renovation #?? who knows lost count

Ok, as some of you know or gathered from my electrical questions, I have been upgrading my shop once again. When we had our new deck built this summer, I had the electrician run a 40amp sub panel to my shop. You can read about it here. When all was said and done I ran a dedicated 20amp circuit to the DC and 2 independent 20 amp GFCI circuits (about 10 pair of duplex outlets) around the shop. I debated about how high to mount them. I know 48" is fairly standard, however, i do not have an 8" ceiling so i wanted to leave space to hang stuff on the walls without worrying about covering the outlets. I settled on 42" to the top of the box. this gave me just over 48" from the floor joists to the top of the outlet. it also made hanging the top row of dry wall easier. if I had to do it again I would probably have mounted them 42" to center of the box. As it is, the bottom of the box is @ 38" which is plenty high, even if I put a 36" work surface there. After the dry wall went up i wanted to have a way of easily configuring shop walls so I am in the process of hanging three rows of french cleat around the entire shop. I have each row spaced @14"

also notice the "built-in" nook for the jointer. i really didn't want to lose the extra 4" since it is a pretty tight walk way as is :) All i have left are a few more strips of french cleat and rehang the DC plumbing, hopefully I'll time to make xmas presents….this is taking longer than i had hoped. You can see its previous state in my workshop pics

Wood Interior design Floor Flooring Gas


Cabinetry Wood Home appliance Office supplies Kitchen


Wood Interior design Table Workbench Machine


Wood Building Floor Flooring Engineering


Wood Food Interior design Kitchen Kitchen appliance


Thanks for looking
Wow I like the french cleats. Its looking very clean, needs sawdust, planer shavings and empty coffee cups. All kidding aside, John coming along well. The nook is cool to.
 

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Go Big or Go Home?

Two years after purchasing my last big tool (Rikon 10-325), I saved enough for my latest purchase, the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press. I've started putting aside $25 a month + any gift cards etc. to save for major tool purchases and it has worked really well and makes it easier to justify to SWMBO.

Since I'm relatively young and plan on doing this woodworking thing a while, I've decided to adopt the philosophy of trying to buy quality tools that will last a long time and leave me with few regrets. I debated about purchasing this tool for a long time since there are many options that are cheaper, however I really didn't want to be sitting around in a couple years regretting that I had compromised on some features. In particular, I wanted a large work surface, wide speed range, and large quill stroke. From all the positive reviews and looking at it along side the Powermatic and several other models at the Woodsmith store, I am sure I won't be disappointed. I'll post a review when I get it set up. In the mean time I'll be tracking it's progress across the country :)
Great John I can't wait to see it. Good things come to those who wait. A piece at a time.
Now for me if the tools are to precise it will show the human error in my design.
 

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Shop Tour

A quick tour of my shop

A great tour John. I enjoyed it. You were in depth but short a sweet.You are building a very nice set of tools. I do love wrapping the whole shop in french cleat. I am jealous of your square footage. Compared to mine you got a ponderosa. Great video I enjoyed it. Tag this on your shop on your home page.
 

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....Moving on....

Well I finally got my shop setup somewhat like I wanted…..now it is time to move. SWMBO and I built a new house and start moving in this weekend. Like my current shop, the new one will be in the basement. I will have windows and a walk out access that will make it feel less like a dungeon. The downside (or upside, depending on how you look at it) is that it is a completely clean slate, no framed walls, now outlets, no nothing. I look at my current shop as a test run for my next (hopefully final) shop. I learned a lot about what I like and do not like so I should be in good shape and excited to get to work.

I will be blogging about the progress over the course of the year. The space is approximately 20' x 30'
Hello stranger.
I cant wait.
Bring on the pictures.
 
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