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A little more on the mitered dovetails

When I left off I had completed the first of four for this box.

I thought I would share a little more on the process of the mitered dovetails and update the progress on this project.

Something I have learned about dovetails in general is to clearly mark the waste sections to be cut away. It only takes a few seconds and really makes the difference when clearing the waste. I can't tell you how many times I have cut on the wrong side of the line. Marking them clearly is the answer.

Additional tips for successful dovetails.

A sharp true saw is a must.
Sharp chisels with a really flat back are an absolute must. Take the time to strop often and don't resist going back to the stone for a touch up.

Be aware of the hardness and grain properties of your wood. Poplar tools really easily compared to this plum which is very hard, brittle, and wears the tools much faster.

Wood Hand tool Wood stain Hardwood Tool


On the mitered dovetails DON'T cut all the way through like a standard dovetail cut on the waste side of the line at a 45 degree angle.

Table Wood Wood stain Floor Flooring


With the cuts complete you can resume excavating and paring the joints as described in the previous blog entry.

With all four dovetails cut I found I had to re-size the top and bottom panels. Nothing a few minutes on a shoot board could not handle.

The reddish curlies are from the plum top panel, the lighter curlies are from the poplar bottom. You can see the top panel in this photo.
Wood Table Hardwood Flooring Wood stain


Another tip. Leave any precise router table setups in place until you know the project is complete or you no longer need it. I had to re route the grooves on the trimmed side of the top and had to reshape the raised bottom panel. I used the very same router setup to cut the rebate on the bottom panel. Having the setup in place saved me a ton of time.

Now all of the joints are cut, and I'm dry fitting.

Sides, Back Top and Bottom are complete. I need to finish dry fitting the front (It's still a little too tight)

Wood Gas Hardwood Thickness planer Machine tool


Wood Hardwood Plank Gas Composite material


I need to patch these joints as they aren't as precise as I would have liked. Each one gets better though.

Once that is done, I can do the initial finishing (Finish the inside pieces BEFORE glue up!) and then proceed to glue up.
The box is looking great Terry.
Can you explain the functional reason for mitered dovetails?
 

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Dry fit and glue up

In the last segment I explained a bit more about the process for creating the Mitered Dovetails.

Using that process I continued to refine the fit by repeated dry fittings.

A couple of words on dry fitting and dovetails.

The more you fit those joints, the looser they become. I had heard this before. The reality is the more you fuss with it the worse things get. Eventually you need to gain enough confidence in your skills (both in the initial cutting and clearing of the joints and what you will do if the joint is not what you expect)

I don't have any pictures of the joints during the fitting process mostly because with each fitting the sloppier the joints got, the frustration increased, and thinking about taking photos was not on my mind.

Eventually I decided enough was enough and any further working of these joints short of starting over was just wasting time. Starting over is not an option for 2 reasons. 1. The wedding is less than three weeks away and I still need to turn 2 pens and write a speech. 2. I don't have enough of this plum wood to make a box this size.

I'm trying a new to me glue and going with the Liquid Hide Glue from Titebond. I used this on the prototype that kept breaking apart and it held great. Much better than the regular yellow glue I typically use.

Liquid Automotive tire Fluid Bottle Drink


I was very pleased with the longer open time as it gave me time to apply glue to all facets of each pin/tail combination on all corners and still have time for clamping which is important when the joints start getting sloppy.

Wood Floor Hardwood Flooring Machine


We'll see how it comes out when I get home tonight. BTW doing a glue up before you leave for a while is a great way to make sure you leave it alone for several hours.

Automotive design Motor vehicle Office equipment Engineering Wood


After the glue dries I'll have to see how the joints turn out and what I'll do with any gaps. Anyone ever use the sawdust and glue trick with liquid hide glue?
Fine sanding dust in hot hide glue (called mastic) has been used to fill the kerfs and small gaps in marquetry for a couple of hundred years. I can attest that it works well as a filler but not for it's strength in bridging gaps. I can say that it dries very hard.
 

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Dry fit and glue up

In the last segment I explained a bit more about the process for creating the Mitered Dovetails.

Using that process I continued to refine the fit by repeated dry fittings.

A couple of words on dry fitting and dovetails.

The more you fit those joints, the looser they become. I had heard this before. The reality is the more you fuss with it the worse things get. Eventually you need to gain enough confidence in your skills (both in the initial cutting and clearing of the joints and what you will do if the joint is not what you expect)

I don't have any pictures of the joints during the fitting process mostly because with each fitting the sloppier the joints got, the frustration increased, and thinking about taking photos was not on my mind.

Eventually I decided enough was enough and any further working of these joints short of starting over was just wasting time. Starting over is not an option for 2 reasons. 1. The wedding is less than three weeks away and I still need to turn 2 pens and write a speech. 2. I don't have enough of this plum wood to make a box this size.

I'm trying a new to me glue and going with the Liquid Hide Glue from Titebond. I used this on the prototype that kept breaking apart and it held great. Much better than the regular yellow glue I typically use.

Liquid Automotive tire Fluid Bottle Drink


I was very pleased with the longer open time as it gave me time to apply glue to all facets of each pin/tail combination on all corners and still have time for clamping which is important when the joints start getting sloppy.

Wood Floor Hardwood Flooring Machine


We'll see how it comes out when I get home tonight. BTW doing a glue up before you leave for a while is a great way to make sure you leave it alone for several hours.

Automotive design Motor vehicle Office equipment Engineering Wood


After the glue dries I'll have to see how the joints turn out and what I'll do with any gaps. Anyone ever use the sawdust and glue trick with liquid hide glue?
Looking good Terry. Clean up the glue residue with cold water and a scotchbrite type scouring pad. Wipe it dry and look for shiny spots. Make sure you get them all. It's easy to clean up but you still have to get it off.
 

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Clean up and First Look at what finish will be.

Previously I completed the glue up.

After the glue cured, I removed the clamps and got started cleaning everything up.

I trimmed off the excess material on the pins using my 60 1/2 LA Block Plane which worked great.
Plane Wood Gas Automotive exterior Bumper


I did notice a small crack in the top panel (Which I already knew about before the glue up. And with the pins cleared off, gaps from poor fitting began to show. I experimented with a couple of adhesives and saw dust as gap fillers. I tried the hide glue with saw dust and felt the result would be too dark. So I went with Sawdust and CA Glue to fill the gaps.

First fill the crack on the top panel. I'm using straight CA for this. Starting with this as it will take a couple of applications to fill completely and it needs time to cure in between applications.
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Lets look at what we have to work with so far.

Front Panel Gaps on the dove tails and some tear out from the plane.
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right Panel (Looking pretty good)
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Back Panel Even larger gaps a knot and some tear out.
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Left panel some small gaps around a previous repair where I accidentally cut all the way through instead of mitering around the pins. Visible lower left.
Wood Workbench Wood stain Gas Hardwood


Bottom Panel
Wood Rectangle Creative arts Art Hardwood


Top Panel
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Gas Composite material


The next day I sanded the CA from the crack on the top.
Wood Wood stain Rectangle Material property Hardwood


And then applied a second coat of CA to the crack
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Now for those Gaps around the Dovetails on the back panel
Wood Beige Hardwood Tints and shades Plywood


Helpful hint: Make sure to trap and save some of the saw dust or sanding dust from the same wood you're working with. I just took it off my miter saw after cutting the panels and put it in a dixie cup.
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I smashed and tamped sawdust into the crack using my finger and small stick.
Automotive tire Wood Yellow Finger Crankset


Then applied some CA Glue
Wood Wood stain Gas Hardwood Plank


Did this to all of the cracks and gaps yu can see the first one on the bottom right is already starting to lighten up.
Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Gas


Let sit over night.

Before:
Wood Rectangle Wood stain Gas Hardwood


After: I Hit it with 120 sand paper to remove all of the proud material and excess CA.
Wood Gas Wood stain Hardwood Plywood


After all of the gaps are filled.
Wood Automotive design Workbench Automotive exterior Machine tool


Before I left for work this morning, I hit it with some dexawed shellac
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Gas Plywood


After initial drying and just before I left.
Front
Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Gas


Back
Wood Table Wood stain Gas Hardwood


Rear Oblique Left side of Box
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Engineering


Front Oblique Right side of box
Wood Wood stain Rectangle Varnish Hardwood


More finish to come. This is just a first coat and will mostly get sanded off. I was just impatient to get an idea of how the finish would look and how the filled gaps would look.

It's looking much better now than I was originally dreading.
Looking good Terry.
 

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