LumberJocks

hand cut dovetails

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by bayspt posted 10-08-2008 06:54 AM 1530 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 5042 days


10-08-2008 06:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand cut dovetails

I have started a trip down “the slippery slope” and hand cutting dovetails. My question is when you are done, do you plane, sand, scrape out your scribe lines from layout or just leave them in? I have been leaving them but I think they kind of look bad. but as deep as they can be I hate to take off that much surface material. Lets here what y’all have to say.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"


11 replies so far

View Eric's profile

Eric

875 posts in 5121 days


#1 posted 10-08-2008 07:05 AM

I know some people like to leave them in. I don’t. So far I’ve been using a mechanical pencil instead of a knife, and then I’ll scribe only on the waste portions of the line. My dovetails aren’t perfect, but I’d like to think they’re at least pretty good!

-- Eric at https://adventuresinwoodworking.wordpress.com/

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 5042 days


#2 posted 10-08-2008 07:13 AM

Eric, Do you mark the bottoms (chisel lines) with the pencil? I use a pin marking gauge for this line and a mechanical pencil for all the rest. I have seen your projects, simply amazing. I guess if I lay out the pins or tails before making the bottom mark I could try to just mark in the waste. I will have to give it a try.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Keith Cruickshank's profile

Keith Cruickshank

41 posts in 4982 days


#3 posted 10-08-2008 11:55 AM

Jimmy: My vote would be for you to decide what works for your project. I’ve seen top quality work where the maker leaves the gauge lines on the piece. It is a witness to the handwork that created the piece. On the other hand, I’ve also seen approaches where those lines are planed or sanded away. So I’d like to say, do what works for you and your project.

BTW, Eric – It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. Hope your move went well.

-- Keith Cruickshank, www.woodtreks.com - on-demand woodworking videos

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 5106 days


#4 posted 10-08-2008 12:15 PM

well it really depends on you. some leave them because they really show that it was hand cut. some don’t like it. its just what you like best.

View Abiqua's profile

Abiqua

16 posts in 4876 days


#5 posted 10-08-2008 01:56 PM

I just took a hand cut dovetail class at my local Woodcraft store. The instructor—a well known Popular Woodworking magazine author—said to do what you think looks best for your project. BTW, I hope you are doing better than I am on hand cutting. Each practice piece gets a little better but it will take 20 more before I will be able to show anyone.

-- Have you hugged your tools today?

View RLMillard's profile

RLMillard

1 post in 4859 days


#6 posted 10-08-2008 02:58 PM

Jimmy, I use a very sharp cutting gauge to scribe a faint base line, only deepening it where the waste will be removed, so I typically leave the line, as I think it is a nice accent. The only time I don’t do this is on curly maple, because the line has a tendency to absorb the dye and comes out too pronounced ( I imagine any light colored wood, would do the same).
Rob Millard

www.americanfederalperiod.com

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 5042 days


#7 posted 10-08-2008 03:28 PM

Thanks all. I guess really it depends on the project. I didn’t mind them so bad in red oak, but in this poplar they don’t look nice to me. I am going to have to try my cutting type gage next time, it should at least leave a nicer looking line.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Loren's profile

Loren

11371 posts in 4986 days


#8 posted 10-08-2008 04:51 PM

I usually make them so the long grain is proud of the end grain – then
plane it down so they are flush. This often eliminates the scribe lines
but sometimes you can see a “shadow” of the line there.

The scribed line, if done deep enough, will hold a chisel. This is
an advantage because it lets you pare the gaps down with
less fuss. Don’t start by chopping “on the line” though – start
1/16” ahead of it – if you don’t you’ll wreck the line and
not be able to use it when you pare the joint.

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 5042 days


#9 posted 10-08-2008 06:09 PM

I make the scribe deep enough to hold the chisel, but I leave the endgrain proud of the face. Never thought of doing it the other way but that would be nice with eaiser planeing with no blow out. I have not been pareing unless there is a problem but I may try the other way once to see if it will make a little tighter joint on the 1/2 pins since this is where I seem to have issues.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Loren's profile

Loren

11371 posts in 4986 days


#10 posted 10-08-2008 07:50 PM

Yeah, Scribe around the edge of the board on the half-pin so you
have the scribe on all 3 sides. I use a Japaneses marking gauge so
it cuts more than it scratches.

I cut the pin then saw out the waste at the shoulder. Then I pare
from all 3 sides so it’s like a little pyramid in there, then pare the
bump down and finally “plane” with the chisel to just-split the scribe
line.

View Joey's profile

Joey

276 posts in 5153 days


#11 posted 10-08-2008 10:49 PM

Go get the current copy of fine woodworking. They took a different approach in the article on explaining not just the mechanics of cutting the pins and tails but also body position and the position of the piece in relation to your body.. small steps that most articles don’t cover.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms http://woodnwaresms.com

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com